Almost 20% of babies experience reflux. Reflux is when the contents of your baby’s stomach pushes back up the food pipe (oesophagus). Sometimes it can reach the mouth or even be regurgitated out of the mouth. It usually peaks at about 4 months but fortunately it tends to be resolved by the time your baby is a year old.
Reflux is caused by the muscle at the top of your baby’s stomach being too weak and this allows the contents of your baby’s stomach to travel back up the oesophagus.
It’s nothing to get worried about though, it just means that your baby’s digestive system is a little immature and is still only developing. If you are concerned that your baby has reflux you should contact your healthcare professional for advice.
Most babies will regurgitate their feed now and again but this doesn’t always mean that they have reflux. Reflux is more frequent and almost occurs with every feed.
Sometimes when the feed doesn’t actually come out of the mouth it can be quite hard to establish if your baby has reflux or not. Some of the classic signs of reflux include:
Your baby being very unsettled and irritable, particularly after their feed
Coughing during or after a feed
Regurgitating or vomiting
Poor sleeping habits
Arching the back and the neck
Weight loss or poor weight gain
Some simple things you could try to alleviate your baby’s reflux include:
Holding your baby in a more upright position when feeding
Keeping you baby upright for about 30mins after a feed
If bottle-feeding, make sure that the teat on the bottle isn’t too fast flowing as this may cause air gulping
Burping your baby during and after their feed
Making sure your baby’s clothes and nappy aren’t too tight
Whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, there are specialised products available to help so do speak to your healthcare professional for advice if you think your little one does have reflux.