First Time Parents Guide: How To Manage Baby's Reflux
When your baby suffers from reflux, it can be a cause for distress and concern for you as an attentive new parent, as well as for your baby. Reflux in babies usually resolves on its own. Here are a few things you can do to help alleviate your baby’s discomfort, as well as signs that your baby’s reflux may warrant more serious attention.
Why does my baby suffer from reflux?
Infant reflux is what’s happening when your baby “spits up.” It occurs when food, once eaten, then moves back up from your baby’s stomach into the esophagus. In most healthy babies, reflux occurs multiple times a day and should be little cause for concern.
However, as a new parent, you are watching your baby, keenly aware of any discomfort, and naturally incentivized to comfort your baby in times of distress. When your baby has reflux, there are a few things you can do, mostly related to feeding and burping your baby.
My baby has reflux - what can I do?
When your baby has reflux, the best overall attitude to take is to let the natural process work itself out. In the meantime, you can provide some physical comfort and emotional reassurance to your child.
When feeding, hold your baby in an upright position. Then keep the little one upright for half an hour. After feeding, if your baby is sleepy, you can put your baby to sleep on his or her back. This will keep the food in your baby’s stomach, where it belongs, allowing the digestive process to happen easily and naturally.
You can try feeding your baby for shorter periods of time, so he or she doesn’t get more food than is needed. This will also put less pressure on your little one’s natural digestive-system processes.
Burp your baby, and bring your patience and attention to this process. Burping helps keep air from getting stuck in your baby’s stomach, and it’s a great opportunity for the two of you to bond and celebrate the natural flow - the arising and passing away - of all things.
How do I know if my baby’s reflux is something more serious?
In most cases, there’s no need to worry about your baby’s reflux. In rare cases, it may be a sign of a more serious condition that can be treated with medication and surgery.
If your baby continues to have significant issues with reflux following his or her first full year, consult a pediatric gastroenterologist, and be ready to provide a list and timeline of symptoms.
In the meantime, simply bring your natural empathy, patience, and attentiveness to a process that, while it may be stressful, is simply a normal part of adjusting to life in the world.
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