We are proud to announce that Laura Barmby’s booklet, Breastfeeding Your Baby with Reflux, is now available for free. If reflux is causing serious problems for your baby, it may happen that your baby has to be hospitalized or may have to undergo testing at the hospital. If handled properly, the disruption to the breastfeeding relationship can be minimized. Inform the medical team of the importance of breastfeeding to you and your child. Try to stay with your baby the whole time he is hospitalized. Your presence is very important to him in this frightening, new environment. Even if you can’t nurse him, you can pump your milk, and it may be possible to give him this expressed milk in connection with various tests for GER. Pumping is also important to maintaining your milk supply.
Babies with acid reflux can exhibit a variety of symptoms during and after nursing. Spitting up is common in any infant, but a baby with acid reflux will produce a greater quantity. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse suggests that an infant with reflux will vomit, cough, become irritable, have poor eating habits and may have blood in his stools. As time passes, the baby may not grow at a normal rate from ejecting so much food; however, this is more commonly associated with GER. Wheezing, persistent pneumonia and other respiratory or breathing problems are sometimes the result of untreated GER as well.
Feedings every two to three hours while your infant is awake will often reduce the occurrence of gastric reflux. Overfeeding can increase abdominal pressure, which can lead to gastric reflux. If your baby does not want to nurse and getting him to eat is a battle, forget the pacifier. helpful hints All soothing for this baby should be at the breast. Any use of a pacifier means the baby is spending that much less time at the breast. The lack of time at the breast may also affect your milk supply. Hereditary factors can also increase the occurrence of acid reflux in babies.
With your pediatrician’s approval, adding a small amount of infant rice cereal to formula or breast milk may be an option to lessen spitting up. Thickening the food is thought to help stop stomach contents from sloshing up into the esophagus. This option has not been shown to decrease other reflux symptoms. It is very important to keep in touch with your baby’s doctor during severe cases of food refusal. If you and the doctor decide that the baby needs a supplement, try not to be discouraged. It is usually only a temporary measure until the baby is doing a little better. A supplement does not have to be formula given in a bottle! You make the best supplement in your breast milk. You can pump at the end of each feeding to obtain the rich hindmilk and use that as a supplement.