If your baby is suffering from reflux, try not to worry you are not alone. Almost 1 in 5 babies will suffer from reflux in their first year. Reflux cannot really be ‘cured’ but the symptoms can be controlled. All babies are different and what works for one, may not work for another. When introducing solid foods for the first time, different foods can cause different reactions for every baby. So it is best not to avoid certain foods until your baby has tried them.
Here are some simple tips to help you get started:
Get the issue diagnosed – It is imperative that the reflux issue is correctly diagnosed and managed by a healthcare professional before introducing solids. Starting to wean when the reflux issue is not under control can make it worse.
Try to establish a good feeding and sleeping routine – As your baby may have had weeks or even months of being in discomfort this can cause some babies to develop a negative link to feeding. Establishing a daily routine for milk feeds, naps and mealtimes will help your baby to get settled into a routine and make the weaning process a little easier.
Keep note – Keeping a food diary is essential when weaning a baby with reflux. All babies react differently to foods and therefore there is no set list of foods to avoid. When offering a new food leave about 1-2 days before offering a new flavour. Report the date, any reaction that was seen and when the reaction occurred.
Take it slow – Start with smooth puree. Some babies with reflux can be sensitive to different textures so make sure to introduce new textures at a pace baby is comfortable with. It is best to take the introduction of different textures as slow as necessary so that your baby can get used to a thicker consistency. If your baby struggles with a new texture, simply move back one stage and wait for a couple more days and then try the thicker texture again.
Feeding position – It is best to feed your baby in an upright position. Look for a highchair that offers a lot of support so even a young baby is sitting as upright as possible. Allow your baby to stay in an upright position for around 20 minutes after meals to help it settle in the tummy.
Timing – Some parents choose to introduce their baby with reflux to solids a little earlier than other children; the reason being that gravity holds heavier food down more easily. However, it is best to start when your baby is showing signs of being ready to begin weaning. The ideal time is about 6 months of age and no earlier than 17 weeks. Before 17 weeks your baby’s digestive system is not mature enough for anything other than breastmilk or formula. Always consult your healthcare professional if you are unsure.
Frequency – It is still best to feed little and often to allow food to settle in your baby’s tummy.
Don’t rush – Allow plenty of time for feeding at each mealtime and never rush your baby to finish a meal.
Their usual milk feed is still a very important part of their diet up until 12 months
Don’t forget milk – Although your baby has reflux, their usual milk feed is still a very important part of their diet up until 12 months. Try not to reduce the milk intake too quickly. Space out your baby’s usual milk feeds and their solid meals so they are not filling up too much at once.
Although feeding a baby with reflux may seem a little daunting try not to worry. Once you have found foods that cause flare ups they can be avoided until your baby’s digestive system has matured. If you are concerned please do not hesitate to give our Careline a call and speak to a Nutritionist.
- Huang RC et al. The Cochrane Library. Issue 1. Wiley, 2009.