Updated article : October, 2023.
A few things you can do to soothe baby reflux:
- Feed more frequently but less each time;
- Inclined positioning during feeding;
- Avoid overfeeding;
- Burp them more often;
- Handle them carefully to avoid shaking them;
- Lay down your baby on their right side for 1 hour after feeding while watching them, then, on the left side for at least another hour while watching them. This follows the form of the stomach and avoids liquids coming up after feeding;
- Position them with the torso raised rather than lay them down flat;
- Using a pacifier can help him swallow reflux;
- Use a baby carrier;
- Bouncing gently on a Pilates ball with baby in your arms can help soothe an uncomfortable baby;
- Avoid over-exciting them after feeding;
- Wait at least two hours after feeding before bathing them or lying them on their stomach to play;
- If they are covered in secretions, remove them before feeding;
- If you are breastfeeding and the ejection reflex is too strong, remove a bit of milk and/or give them just one breast at a time and/or position the baby straddling your leg facing the chest for feeding. They will be drinking in an anti-reflux position;
- If they are given formula, you may have to change it as it may be too difficult to digest (see partially hydrolyzed preparations), or use a thicker one;
- Acupuncture and osteopathy are alternative methods that can comfort them;
- Certain homeopathic or natural products can also reduce the discomfort caused by reflux. And also the probiotics of the Reuteri strain;
- As a last resort, the doctor can prescribe an antacid for newborns to comfort them or help their growth. However, the medication can alter the baby’s intestinal microbiota, which will impact their defence and immunity.
The recent 2022 update on the medical management of gastroesophageal reflux disease in healthy infants from the Canadian Paediatric Society adds the following
- for a breastfeeding mother, try the cow’s milk avoidance regimen for 2 to 4 weeks and encourage repositioning of the baby,
- for the non-breastfeeding mother, thickened milk can be tried and thicker purees can also be encouraged depending on the age of the baby and the persistence of the reflux over time,
- antacid treatment should not be systematic, because medication also has side effects for the baby, such as an increase in pulmonary and gastrointestinal infections,
- Pharmacological treatment of reflux should only be used for pathological reflux. For example: growth disorder in children or esophagitis with daily difficulties.
All these means can diminish the symptoms and comfort them a bit, but it takes time for the baby’s body to mature. In general, we see significant improvements in the situation after 4-5 months, but for some babies the discomfort will continue to between 6-12 months.