Reflux in babies

Reflux in babies

Reflux causes that stomach's contents will come back up into the esophagus, throat, and mouth. This can irritate the esophagus and cause the burning feeling in your chest or throat. Usually babies will spit up or gag in the middle of eating. Reflux is very common – about 10% of the Finns experience reflux daily.


What causes reflux?

Newborn baby’s body and especially their digestion is still in progress. When babies eat, the food won’t move fast through their digestive system. Also, the lower esophageal sphincter, which prevent backflow of food, has not developed yet. This will cause that food and stomach acid will come back up to the esophagus and throat causing the reflux symptoms. 


Symptoms of reflux

The symptoms of baby reflux are mostly related to eating. Baby’s age and individual differences affect what kind of symptoms the reflux causes. Children under 2 months may have the following symptoms:


Symptoms of reflux in newborns (under 6 weeks old)

  • Baby nibbles a little bit all day long
  • Baby spits up after eating
  • Baby will latch on but then pulls away and starts crying
  • Baby has breathing problems such as chronic cough or wheezing after/during feeding


When your baby grows the symptoms will also progress step by step. It depends the severity of the reflux but often when your baby grows the symptoms usually facilitate. However, new symptoms may occur.  Also when your baby starts eating solid foods and learns to walk, the symptoms may disappear.

Laying in prone position usually worsens the symptoms, because the stomach's contents will come back up into the esophagus causing the burning feeling and spitting up. Often parents start to suspect that their baby has reflux when noticing that.

Never ever pat your baby’s but or massage his/her tummy like you would do with gassy baby. That will cause that more stomach contents come back up into the esophagus and then your baby will start crying.

Usually babies who have reflux tend to twist their body and arch their back. They try to exhibit their pain by body movements.

Reflux is related to poor weight gain. Reflux may not cause any symptoms and not every baby will spit up or vomit after eating!


What can I do to minimize reflux?

Reflux can be treated with medications, but you can also help your baby to feel better on your own. Here are a few ways to relieve reflux without medication:

  • Starting solid foods earlier
  • Try positioning your baby in a semi-upright or sitting position when breastfeeding
  • Raise the head of the crib
  • Feeding should happen at regular times
  • Pacifiers! Often sucking pacifier will soothe your baby


The movement will help your baby to feel better both in reflux and baby colic. Some babies will nap better in a car seat than in a crib. Others may sleep better in a colic swing or on the Lullame self-rocking mattress.


More information on reflux here!


Does your baby have reflux? Share your experiences in the comments below!




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