Helping your Baby with Acid Reflux Sleep

Helping your Baby with Acid Reflux Sleep

What are the signs of acid reflux, when to call your doctor if you suspect it, and as a parent, how can you help your baby sleep with acid reflux?  Affecting nearly 1 in 4 newborn babies, this ugly but common baby medical issue can be the major underlying problem causing multiple issues in your baby’s life.  Baby acid reflux can cause extreme fussiness, colic-like symptoms, and major sleep disruptions at naps, bedtime, and sleeping through the night.

But how do you help your baby sleep when they are experiencing acid reflux symptoms?  When will it go away?  And how do you even really know if you baby has reflux?

WHAT IS BABY ACID REFLUX?

“Infant reflux occurs 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. It's unusual for infant reflux to continue after age 18 months.  Rarely, infant reflux can be a sign of a medical problem, such as an allergy, a blockage in the digestive system or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).” Source: Mayo Clinic

Mild reflux occurs in healthy babies multiple times a day. A little bit of spit up is completely normal, however frequent vomiting, crying during or immediately following a feed, arching of the back, and overall discomfort and weight loss could be the signs of something more serious.  This causes the inability for baby to sleep through the night.

SILENT reflux is less obvious: No vomit is present, but constant choking, gagging, hiccuping, bad breath and overall fussiness is likely to prevent your baby from sleeping.  *Always ask your doctor if you suspect any form of reflux in your Infant.

HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR BABY SLEEP WITH ACID REFLUX?  AND WHEN DOES ACID REFLUX WITH BABY FINALLY STOP? 

There are some major reasons that babies with acid reflux aren’t able to sleep for a long nap or sleep through the night. Most commonly, this is discomfort due to pain in the esophagus, but those who lay flat for the majority of their day or are born prematurely are more often at risk. Here are the top ways to help your baby sleep while experiencing acid reflux:

Here are our sleeping solutions for babies with acid reflux:

  • Shorter, more frequent feeds throughout the day.

  • Hold baby upright for at least 30 minutes after a feed (yes, even in the night, you can do this!)

  • Burp your baby several times during each feed

  • Elevate baby’s crib mattress by placing books underneath the crib feet (works best if baby is swaddled completely)

  • Dress baby in onesies and footed pajamas, or other clothes that don’t squeeze at the midsection.

  • Ask your doctor for medicinal or natural remedies to soothe baby acid reflux symptoms

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR IF YOUR BABY’S ACID REFLUX DOES NOT IMPROVE AND IS GREATLY AFFECTING BABY’S SLEEP NEGATIVELY:

  • Continues to spit up or vomit profusely after 6 months of age

  • Projectile vomiting multiple times per day

  • Refuses to bottle or breastfeed

  • If you don’t think baby is gaining weight

  • Has blood in stool at bowel movements

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