As much as 50 percent of all healthy babies have reflux at some stage. Reflux is less common in babies that are exclusively breastfed as breast milk is more hypoallergenic and is digested twice as fast as formula milk. But for mothers who bottle feed their baby, there are a few simple steps that will greatly ease, or stop altogether, reflux during feeding.
Tight clothing, especially round the tummy can make reflux worse, therefore make sure the clothing is loose and has elastic waists, if possible. Change diapers before feeding and not after, on a full tummy.
2. Feeding Position
Feed your baby in an upright position. Hold you baby upright for at least thirty minutes after feeds to help reduce reflux. This allows gravity to work at holding the food in their tummies. As well, after feeding, try to keep them as motionless as possible for at least thirty minutes after feeding.
3. Don’t Rush The Feed
Don’t rush. Slow down the feed. Pause a little and then resume feeding.
4. Don’t Overfeed.
Smaller more frequent feeds throughout the day can alleviate reflux. Also, avoid feeding your baby just before bedtime.
Stopping to burp your baby frequently (at least after every ounce) during feedings can help. Also, after the feed, don’t forget to burp, keep your baby in an upright position (Tip 2).
Try thickened milk feeds. The added weight of cereal in the formula milk helps to keep the food from splashing around in your baby’s tummy and helps keep it down.
7. Avoid Certain Foods
If your baby has a milk allergy or sensitivity then soy based or hypoallergenic will likely help the reflux improve. Certain foods make reflux worse. Avoid whole milk, chocolate milk, tomatoes, and citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and pineapple. Anything prepared with whole milk or high-fat such as cold cuts, sausage, bacon, fatty meat. Avoid all animal or vegetable oils, chocolate, carbonated beverages, chicken, beef, milk, or cream-based soups.
8. Changing Formula
Changing infant formula might help. If your baby has a milk allergy or sensitivity then soy based or hypoallergenic will likely help the reflux improve. As well, hypoallergenic formulas are pre-digested (either partially or completely) so they tend to move through the stomach faster than standard formulas. Moving food out of the stomach faster can be beneficial for two reasons. If the baby is a picky eater it may help them get hungry again faster. It also means the food isn’t sitting around in the stomach waiting to be refluxed. Only change formula after consulting your doctor.
9. Using a Pacifier After Feeding
Giving your baby a pacifier to suck on after feeding increases saliva production. Saliva is alkaline which can help neutralize some of the acid that may come up.
10. Sleeping after a feed
Discuss sleeping your baby on his tummy with your paediatrician. Although sleeping on the back is recommended in order to reduce the risk of SIDS babies with severe Gastro-esophageal reflux benefit from sleeping on their tummy. Only do this under doctor’s orders.
As stated above, most babies will experience reflux at some stage and most will overcome it all by themselves. By following the above 10 tips, you can help reduce reflux when feeding your baby infant formula. If the symptoms continue and are causing your baby discomfort then your first point of call should be to discuss the mater with your doctor.