Babies & Reflux: Why it Happens and What to Do

Babies & Reflux: Why it Happens and What to Do

May 31, 2019

In the early days of parenthood, feeding a baby brings up so many questions. Are they getting enough? Are they eating too fast? Too slow? Too often? Not often enough? And then, after your baby has had a full meal of goodness, they spit up it all up (or at least it feels like everything). The spit up is on them, on you, on your sofa — but more importantly, it’s not in your baby’s belly. It’s a frustrating reality for many parents that their babies spit up their food once they’re done eating. The question is why do babies spit up their formula or breast milk?

Spitting up is actually quite common, occurring in about half of babies up until the age of three or four months. Known as gastroesophageal reflux or infant reflux, this condition is caused by the need for the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach to mature. Until this muscle matures — which usually happens around three to four months of age — spitting up may follow many feedings, especially if baby gets very full.

Your baby spitting up formula or breast milk may also be caused by them getting the hang of how to eat. Feeding is a learning curve, of course, and sometimes babies may swallow some air along with their milk. These air bubbles need to escape somehow, so they often come back up and may bring some milk along with them.

If your baby is breastfed, it’s also possible that they are being affected by something in their mother’s diet. You may want to consult with your doctor to learn more about whether this is a likely scenario, in which case, you can try eliminating certain types of food from mama’s diet.

Baby Reflux Remedies

So what can you do about your baby’s reflux issues? Try holding your baby in a more upright position while feeding him, rather than having him curled up in your arms. This will create a more direct route for the milk to go from mouth to tummy.

Keep feedings relatively calm, without a lot of distraction whenever possible. You’ll want to feed your baby before she gets too hungry so she’s not frantically gulping down her meal. This will minimize the air she swallows.

Be sure to burp your baby for at least 15 minutes after each feeding. If your baby takes a break in the middle of a feeding, you may want to take the opportunity to burp them for a couple of minutes before continuing.

Until the reflux subsides, always have a burp cloth on hand after feedings and a change of clothes available whenever you’re out of the house. Speaking of clothes, consider how tight clothing is on your baby’s tummy. Tight waistbands may cause more spit up than looser, more comfortably fitting clothing.

As long as your baby is growing and seems to be doing okay otherwise, there’s no need to worry about spitting up. Also note that it’s easy to overestimate how much your baby has actually spit up; it often seems to be more than it actually is, so your baby is likely still getting a good number of calories.

If your baby is formula-fed, you may be wondering what is the best formula for babies that spit up. You want to choose something that is gentle on tiny stomachs while still offering all the nutrients that growing babies need. HiPP’s Special Anti-Reflux Formula is ideal for just this purpose. This anti-reflux formula is made with natural locust bean gum, which is a natural food additive that has been found to reduce babies’ spit up by about 50%. HiPP’s formula is a short-term solution for spitting up. As a long-term option, we recommend the Lebenswert formula collection to help keep food in your baby’s tummy. The Lebenswert collection is gentle on babies’ stomachs and is made with only the highest quality ingredients.

Shop organic baby formula now!

Do you have experience with a baby who spits up? Feel free to share your thoughts — or tips for other parents — in the comments below!

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