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Our Baby’s Reflux Survival Gear

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Genius Ways to Help Soothe Your Baby’s Acid Reflux, here are helpful tips on how to ease your baby’s discomfort…

Last Updated: 1/27/2020

Reflux, or GERD, can be very difficult for anyone, especially babies. When Jaxson was an infant, I tried my hardest to breastfeed him. I was successful with his brother so it was only natural that I wanted to do the same with him.

Unbeknownst to me, Jaxson had severe reflux / GERD and the inability to suck and swallow. We worked hard to get him to feed and had ended up having to quit exclusively breastfeeding by day two… and quit exclusively pumping by his third month.

Genius Ways to Help Soothe Your Baby's Acid Reflux
Jaxson hanging out on the boppy

He would take an hour to just consume 1 to 1.5 ounce of breastmilk and then he would end up throwing it all up.

It wasn’t your typical baby spit up; it was everything he just spent an hour to consume.

Honestly it was very stressful and upsetting. I was emotionally drained with trying to pump every few hours and trying to keep our baby thriving.

After endless hours of pumping and fortifying his breast milk, I decided to quit and switch to sensitive brand formula. And you know what? He just thrived. He started to gain weight and double his birth weight by his fourth month.

What is Infant Reflux / GERD?

Infant reflux, or GERD, occurs when the food starts to back up from the baby’s stomach, which causes the baby to throw up. There is also silent reflux and what that means is that you won’t have your usual reflux / GERD symptoms.

Most babies end up outgrowing reflux / GERD but there may be more to it if they continue to throw up and not gain weight. If you find that your baby isn’t thriving (like mine) then it is time to see your Pediatrician.

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What are the Symptoms of Reflux / GERD?

Symptoms of Reflux / GERD

  • Vomiting often
  • Cough
  • Refusing to eat
  • Crying during or after feeds
  • Arching back
  • Heartburn, or belly pain (WebMD)

Symptoms of “Silent” Reflux

  • Hoarseness
  • “Barking” or chronic cough
  • Asthma
  • Noisy breathing
  • Trouble feeding, inhaling food
  • Trouble gaining weight (WebMD)

How Do You Diagnosis Reflux / GERD?

Jaxson’s Pediatrician diagnosed him with reflux / GERD but we ended up having a procedure done to confirm our suspicions of Reflux / GERD and aspiration. There are other procedures that will help diagnosis reflux / GERD:

  • Upper endoscopy
  • Barium swallow study
  • Esophageal monitoring
  • Lab tests

Genius Ways to Help Soothe Your Baby’s Acid Reflux

There are a few different ways that you can help alleviate your baby’s infant reflux / GERD, from changing your own diet to switching out to infant formula:

Elimination Diet (if you’re breastfeeding):

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, your Pediatrician or lactation consultant will recommend that you try an elimination diet. Sometimes babies have an allergy to whatever you’re consuming, and in turn causes the reflux.

My husband’s cousin had to cut out pretty much everything in her diet that contained gluten because her baby had an intolerance to it. Other foods that could upset baby’s stomach: dairy, spicy, and caffeine (yes, say goodbye to your cup of jo).

Switch to Formula:

We tried fortifying my breast-milk to help give our little guy extra calories but it wasn’t working. I made the decision of switching to sensitive formula for personal reasons, and the switch helped him thrive. There was a huge chest freezer in the garage full of breast-milk that I had to donate; we couldn’t use it anymore.

But it benefited another family and that’s all that matters.

We were fortunate enough to be able to buy Target’s Sensitive formula for Jaxson. Other families however needed something more sensitive for their baby’s tummies:

  1. Alimentum
  2. Neocate
  3. Nutramigen

Keep Baby Upright After Feeds:

When our boys were little, we had the rock n sleeper from Fischer Price, but since then they have been recalled. However, there are still other ways to keep your baby elevated after feeds. You can hold your baby against your chest after burping, or place him or her in a bouncy seat.

We’ve also sat and enjoyed some cuddle time on the couch while he laid on my chest. Just find what works for you.

Burping in Between Feeds:

To help prevent big spit ups, or throw ups, we would stop half way through a feeding to burp our babies. They may get irritated with you but this will help with letting out the gas, they’ll thank you later for it.

Jaxson absolutely hated that I would pull his bottle away, we paced his feedings in the beginning because of his inability to suck and swallow. We did the same for burping – we wanted to try to keep whatever he ate down by burping out his gas.

Elevate Your Baby’s Crib During Sleep:

Another tip would be to try to keep your baby’s head inclined during nap or bed time. As I mentioned before we had used the rock n play sleeper with our boys who both experienced acid reflux / GERD. However, for safety reasons they were recalled.

There are other ways to incline your child’s head as well, by purchasing a wedge that is placed underneath your child’s crib mattress.

If your child goes to daycare you can have your doctor write a note stating why they need the incline. When Jaxson went to daycare (for a couple weeks before I quit) we had to get a note before they would accommodate us.

Talk to Your Child’s Doctor About Medicine:

Sometimes natural methods will not be the cure all for infant acid reflux. We were a little hesitant about putting him on medication because of the long term affects… BUT to ease our child’s pain from acid reflux / GERD we decided to go ahead with the medicine. We were prescribed zantac at first but it didn’t seem to do anything for Jaxson.

After a little trial and error, we have found something that works: prevacid!

Baby Products that Helped Us Along the Journey:

My Final Thoughts

Reflux, or GERD, is definitely difficult on both parties – emotionally and physically. From trying the right diet, to finding the right formula and bottle… it is very taxing. Once you find what works for your baby it will start to get better.

Hang in there.

Our son Jaxson still has some reflux but not as bad as when he was a baby. He’s currently taking prevacid as needed.

What do you do to help your baby’s reflux / GERD? What advice would you give to moms currently experiencing infant reflux?

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