If you notice that your baby is bringing back up a little of his feed, don’t worry, this is known as posseting and is quite common in young babies. A little regurgitation or posseting is expected in babies, however if your baby is bringing back up a lot of his feed quite frequently this may indicate that your baby has reflux.
So what exactly is reflux?
Reflux occurs when your baby’s feed comes back up from his/her stomach into their throat and sometimes but not always, their mouth. This occurs because the muscle that prevents food from coming back up is not fully developed. This muscle continues to develop during the first year so your baby’s reflux should gradually improve as they grow and develop.
Babies can also suffer from ‘silent’ reflux. This means that that instead of your little one bring back up milk and spitting or vomiting it out, it is swallowed instead so doesn’t get noticed as easily.
While a little regurgitation is normal, it is a good idea to speak to your healthcare professional if your baby shows some of the following symptoms:
- The reflux regularly occurs more than 5 times a day
- Your baby is very distressed and often vomits and coughs after feeding
- Your baby does not show a steady weight gain
Is there anything I can do to prevent reflux?
If your baby’s reflux is mild, and he or she is still feeding well and isn’t too upset by it, then the following may help:
- offer smaller milk feeds, more frequently
- Wind frequently before, during and after feeds
- Keep your baby upright during feeds and after feeds for at least 30 minutes
- Don’t use clothing or nappies that are tight around the tummy
- Check the hole in the teat is not too large as this can cause your baby to gulp their feed too quickly
However, if you have tried this and your little one is still showing signs of reflux your GP or public health nurse may suggest a specialised anti-reflux formula, if you are bottlefeeding. These formulas are thicker in consistency and can prevent your baby from gulping too much air. These formulas also thicken further in the stomach helping milk to stay down in the tummy.
Because these formulas are thicker, you may need to use a single hole, fast flow teat on the bottle. They can also be made up a little differently to standard formula so just make sure to read the instructions on the pack carefully.
If you’ve got a question about reflux and you’d like to talk to someone about it, do contact our Careline at 1800 570 570 or always speak to your doctor, midwife or public health nurse if you are concerned.