A fussy newborn can be so difficult to figure out. Add on that you have just given birth, both you and your partner no doubt have sleep deprivation, and now you are trying everything you can think of to settle the baby that you have waited 9 months to finally meet. There can be so many reasons for the cries, but I find often we resort to “Reflux” as the culprit. Sometimes that is right, and others maybe not. Is it a feeding issue or is it a sleep issue? Often the two go hand in hand, a feeding issue will no doubt lead to a sleep issue which circles back around to a feeding issue due to a baby being overtired! LOL…what a whirlwind. I remember being a new mom and I had a fussy baby, I was exhausted, he was exhausted and there seemed to be no end in sight. Then, we figured out a good latch and things started to change for the better. Less spit up, less pulling his legs up and crying, more SLEEPING!
What is Reflux?
The Mayo Clinic describes Infant reflux as, ”when food backs up (refluxes) from a baby’s stomach, causing the baby to spit up. Sometimes called gastroesophageal reflux (GER), the condition is rarely serious and becomes less common as a baby gets older”. Most babies will have some spit up. Some babies will spit up a lot, and you will soon become an expert at getting milk stains out of their clothes and wrestling babe into new outfits! A bib or burp cloth will be your new best friend. As long as your babe is still happy, gaining well, and feeding well there is no cause for concern. Because babies diet is liquid, and their lower esophageal sphincter (that keeps food in the stomach from coming up and into the esophagus) is often relaxed instead of closed, therefore babies will often have some food come up or “spit up”.
So When is it a Problem?
If your babe is having poor weight gain, appears in pain or irritable after feeding, or refuses to feed, these would all be reasons to go see your doctor. If he is having projectile vomiting, arching his back during or after feeds, or you notice a decrease in wet or dirty diapers, you should have your baby checked out by your health care provider. There are some medications that your doctor could prescribe at his or her discretion, to help your baby with reflux.
How can you help your baby at home?
Ensure a good Latch
If your baby isn’t latching well at the breast, then he is more than likely taking on more air than usual, and this can cause tummy issues. Perfecting that latch will help eliminate this as the problem and you will find baby is more settled after feeding.
Burping is a very important step as this will help babe to get rid of any extra air that could cause stomach upset. Burp your little one after the first breast, and then again when the feed is finished. Sitting baby on your lap and cradling his chin in your hand then alternately rubbing & patting his back is a great way to bring air up. Give this position a try for 30 seconds and then try a different position. Putting baby up on your shoulder, so that his tummy is higher on your shoulder and then patting and rubbing works as well. Check out a video here on how to burp your baby effectively.
Timing of Feeds & Sleep
Watching and learning your baby’s feeding cues is key, and keeping your baby awake for feeds can help so much. When you feed your baby to sleep, they often don’t have the effective burp session after the feeding, then laying babe down can often end up with baby waking 30 mins later to spit up. If you can make the transition to keeping baby awake for his feed, then burp, sit up for 20-30 mins, you will increase baby’s opportunity for sleep.
If you are bottle-feeding your little one, the Paced feeding method is recommended. This method allows babe to drink at a more controlled speed (not too slow, not too fast) and gives plenty of opportunity for burping. You also want to ensure that you have the proper nipple flow for your baby. Too small or too large can cause your babe to take in more air. This article covers paced bottle feeding & explains how to do it.
Infant Reflux can be tricky, and finding a remedy isn’t always straight forward. If you would like support with feeding or sleep with your newborn, please reach out to your local Mama Coach. We are here to help you through it so you can enjoy your precious little one. You Got This Mama!