Reflux occurs when your baby’s feed comes back up from his stomach into his throat and mouth.
As adults we are able to control this as we have a muscle called the sphincter muscle which traps food in our stomachs and prevents it from coming back up. The reason some babies bring back up their feed is because this muscle is not fully developed and so have no way of keeping down their feed. During the first year of life this sphincter muscle will gradually develop so the degree of reflux will decrease as your baby grows. Roughly half of young babies experience reflux but by 10 months this number drops to one in twenty babies.
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 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.
It is a good idea to speak to your healthcare professional if your baby shows 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
- They do not show a steady weight gain
Specialised products are available whether breastfeeding or bottlefeeding to help make it easier for babies to keep down feeds. Talk to your healthcare professional for advice.
Contact our team of expert feeding advisors if you think your baby has reflux and would like some more advice. Watch our video for some more tips from Midwife Sinead.