Sometimes, after a baby has milk fed or even while they’re still feeding, they bring milk back up. ‘Bringing up’ small amounts of milk after a feed is called posseting, and is quite normal in young babies.
Reflux is the bringing up of or being ‘sick’ after or during a milk feed, and usually starts before your baby is 8 weeks old. Reflux can occur in both breast and formula fed babies.
Alongside bringing up milk or being sick, some other symptoms of reflux include:
- Coughs or gags while feeding
- Refuses milk feeds
- Is irritable during or after feeds, maybe crying excessively and arching their back
- Seems to have a sore tummy or throat
- Regularly vomits large amounts up to two hours after feeding
- Isn’t gaining weight
These may or may not be linked to reflex and could be caused by other things, such as an allergy, which will need to be checked out by a health professional.
Sometimes babies may have signs of reflux, but will not bring up milk or be sick. This is known as silent reflux.
Reflux can get better on its own by the time your baby is around one year old.
If your baby has reflux:
- Feed them in an upright position
- Burp/wind them regularly during feeding
- Give smaller volumes of milk feed , but more frequently
- Make sure your baby sleeps on their back
- Check you’re using the right sized teat if you’re bottle feeding so that the milk doesn’t come out too fast
- Try to keep your baby upright (for at least an hour) after feeding – this should help keep the milk down.
- Change formula milk without medical advice
- Change your diet if breastfeeding without medical advice
- Put your baby to sleep on their side
- Put pillows/pods in your baby’s cot to raise their head
When to see a GP
- If your baby does not seem to be growing or putting on weight
- If your baby’s sick/vomit is green or yellow, or if you see blood in it
- If symptoms are not improving after two weeks
- If reflux symptoms start after your baby is six months old
- If reflux persists after your child’s 1st birthday
Medical treatment for reflux
If your baby is formula-fed and suffering from reflux, you may be prescribed:
- a powder that’s mixed with formula to thicken it
- a pre-thickened formula milk
If the thickening powder does not help or your baby is breastfed, a GP or specialist might recommend medicines that stop your baby’s stomach producing as much acid.
If you would like any further advice or support regarding your babies reflux symptoms or feeding, contact your Health visitor
Additional tips to cope with reflux for new mums:
Don’t go anywhere without:
- A spare top for you
- A change of clothes for your baby. Vests and sleepsuits are a good choice as they’re easy to wash
- Muslin cloths/bibs.
- Asking for help from friends and family