It’s a good thing you received all those adorable homemade burp cloths at your baby shower because your bouncing boy seems to do nothing but spit up!
It’s no joke, babies seem to output just as much as they intake. They may cover you and poor unsuspecting visitors in ooey, gooey milk vomit for a number of reasons; most of the time, however, it’s harmless and unavoidable.
Infant acid reflux happens when your baby’s stomach contents are forced upwards into the esophagus and mouth—similar to symptoms you yourself may feel after a spicy pepperoni-and-onion pizza. It’s more common in younger infants and usually resolves on its own by 18 months, say experts at the Mayo Clinic.
When it’s Reflux
Your baby may have reflux if he cries or squirms while eating, has lots of vomiting, and chokes or coughs, especially while feeding. Baby may struggle to eat or even refuse because it’s just too uncomfortable—even painful. Some babies may even gag from the discomfort.
Sounds a bit terrifying, right? Not to worry! Reflux in babies is quite common, and after checking with your baby’s healthcare provider, there are many things you can do to get your little one through this stage. Baby may be given a prescription or OTC medication if lifestyle modifications don’t ease his upset tummy.
When Reflux is More Serious
Infant reflux can develop into the more serious gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which the reflux includes stomach acid that can damage the lining of baby’s esophagus. Talk to your baby’s provider if he:
- Is age 6 months+ when symptoms begin
- Isn’t gaining weight regularly
- Projects his stomach contents out of his mouth
- Vomits green or yellow fluids, or what looks like brownish coffee grounds
- Refuses to eat
- Has blood in his stool
- Struggles to breathe during or after eating
Prevent Reflux in Babies
Your baby’s healthcare provider will likely recommend you try these lifestyle changes to help baby battle the burn:
- Avoid spicy foods and “gassy” veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts) while you’re nursing.
- Hold baby more upright when nursing/bottle feeding breastmilk, and keep baby upright for at least 30 minutes after each meal.
- Avoid breastfeeding while laying down tummy-to-tummy if baby has reflux.
- Always burp your baby at regular intervals, even after a short feeding, and especially during those long nighttime feedings.