Are you going through bibs and burp clothes like crazy? Well, so were we! My first baby spit up a ton! I felt like I was always changing him (and me!). I didn’t realize at the time how common reflux is in babies. Reflux is basically when the contents of baby’s stomach comes back up (and all over you, most likely!). It can be frustrating for both you and baby but the good news is that there are a few tips that help a whole lot. So, here’s a few things I learned the hard way about reducing spit-up in babies.
- First, especially if the feeding is coming from a bottle, assess how much baby takes in at each feed and consider feeding just a tad less. I know when you’re exhausted you really want to fill them up and hope they take a long snooze so you can too but realize this: if baby is just too full, all the extra is coming right back up and probably then some. Sometimes you’re better off feeding less but more often. I used to think “geez by the time I’m done feeding him, he’s going to spit it all up and then we have to start over!” If that’s going on, you may be over feeding just a tad. Try doing half an ounce- one ounce less and see what happens.
- Burp more often. Most babies need to be burped and I found that if I burped baby every ounce or two it helped a heap! Don’t wait until the end of a feeding to put them over your shoulder. Give baby a chance to make room as they go and keep their tummy comfortable. This will prevent excess gas as well.
- Make sure that you are avoiding putting too much pressure on their little tummies. Many babies are so sensitive that even a diaper or clothing that is too snug will put too much pressure and contribute to reflux. Watch out for positions that seem to make baby spit-up and try new ones. Positions where babies are too scrunched up or hunched over are usually going to contribute to spit up also. Make sure baby is supported and that his/her tummy has breathing room.
- Keep baby upright for at least 15 minutes immediately after a feeding. In the beginning when you only have a couple hours, tops, between feedings you might definitely need rest and probably have things you have to do between feedings (usually to prepare for the next feeding!). But, this is a really important step and it’s more than worth it if baby is spitting-up really frequently. Hold your baby over your shoulder or place them in something with an incline, like a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper after they eat. This gives baby’s food time to settle and reduces the chances of reflux. Make sure their head is above their belly and avoid laying them totally flat right away.
- Avoid play time immediately after a feeding. Yes, baby should be upright but this isn’t the time to dance around with him/her. Even just overstimulating them by making them giggle or kick around too much might contribute to spit up.
- Consult with your pediatrician before you take other measures such as thickening a feeding with cereal. Most pediatricians won’t recommend cereal for babies before 6 months unless reflux is so bad that baby is failing to thrive and gain weight appropriately. So, don’t jump the gun unless you check in first!
- If you are breast feeding, try to take note of what you are eating. You may find that certain foods that you ate don’t work for baby’s tummy. If need be, avoid foods cause gas such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, excessive lactose or anything super spicy. With one of my babies I had to be so careful about what I ate and with the next; no “special requests” at all. So, it just depends. Keep a food log if need be and see what works for you and baby.
- If your baby is formula fed and none of these tips are working, you may need to switch formulas. Both of my babies were combination breast/formula fed. One baby had a very sensitive stomach and the only formula that worked for him was Similac Sensitive. It also always seemed like both babies did a ton better with a warm bottle as opposed to room temp or cold. So, try that as well. Dr. Brown’s makes a Bottle Warmer that is super simple and easy to use and clean. Love it.
Between 6 -8 months most babies spit up will reduce naturally (thank goodness!) as their esophageal sphincter strengthens and their tummies expand. Hang in there mama’s! If you learn any tips of your own, please do share! If you liked this piece don’t forget to pin me.