Changing your breastfeeding positions can help with reflux more than you might think! In this article, we'll discuss the best breastfeeding positions for reflux, offer tips on managing acid reflux, and help you navigate this challenging situation.
How could breastfeeding lead to acid reflux
Acid reflux in babies is when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. It’s common for babies to spit up due to their immature digestive systems, but sometimes feeding positions can also help reduce reflux–the more you can reduce the amount of air your little one swallows during feeding, the better.
Best breastfeeding position for reflux
One of the best breastfeeding positions for a baby with acid reflux is a position where the infant's head is above the infant's stomach position.
Hold your baby against your chest, so their head is higher than their stomach. This helps keep the stomach contents from flowing back up to the esophagus, and may reduce discomfort. You can also try the football hold or a semi-reclined position.
Foods to avoid when breastfeeding a baby with acid reflux
What you eat can impact your baby's acid reflux. Some babies may be sensitive to certain foods, so consider avoiding spicy, acidic, or highly processed foods. The saying goes ‘you are what you eat’ and the same goes for pregnant and nursing moms whose bodies nourish babies–it’s always best to eat as healthy as you can, and it’s good to consider taking vitamins and supplements to cover as many nutritional bases as possible.
Avoid or Consumer in Moderation
|High-caffeine beverages (coffee, energy drinks)
|Limit caffeine intake, opt for decaffeinated options or herbal tea
|Avoid alcohol while breastfeeding
|Very spicy dishes
|Mildly seasoned or spiced foods
|Foods to which your baby may be allergic (e.g., peanuts, shellfish)
|If you suspect allergies, consult with a healthcare professional
|High-mercury fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish
|Limit consumption of high-mercury fish and opt for low-mercury options like salmon or trout
|Foods with artificial colors and preservatives
|Choose natural, minimally processed foods
When to speak to your doctor about reflux
If your baby's reflux is causing severe discomfort, weight loss, or breathing difficulties, it's time to talk to your pediatrician. They can provide guidance and look into any potential underlying factors that could be causing the reflux.
- Burp Frequently: Burp your baby during and after feeding to release any trapped air.
- Feed Smaller Amounts: Smaller, more frequent feedings can be easier on the stomach.
- Keep Baby Upright: After feeding, hold your baby upright for at least 20-30 minutes to allow digestion to begin.
- Gentle Rocking: Gentle rocking or movement can help keep the stomach contents down.
- Try Thicker Formula: If formula feeding, talk to your baby’s doctor about the need for a thickened formula. Enfamil A.R™ is specially formulated with added rice starch for a thicker consistency to reduce reflux and spit-up.
Remember, each baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the best approach for your little one's reflux. With patience and care, you'll find the best way to help your baby thrive.
Let’s ease reflux together
Reflux in babies is common, but it can bring up a lot of questions and concerns about what’s normal, when you should call your doctor, and how you can start seeing less of it. For more tips on easing reflux, check out Enfamil Family Beginnings®. You’ll also receive expert advice, useful tips, and exclusive offers that can help you navigate the joys and uncertainties of parenthood. There’s countless tips for easing reflux out there, we hope you find ours helpful!