There is no doubt that being the parent of a newborn can be rough; sleep deprivation and caring for a baby around the clock can take its toll. But if your newborn baby suffers from acid reflux, you may have additional challenges. In babies, acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid is pushed up into a baby's esophagus when a baby spits up or vomits; this can cause a painful burning sensation, which can result in a baby who cries excessively or has difficulty sleeping. If your baby has acid reflux, use the following tips.
Keep Baby Upright
After a feeding, it is a good idea to keep a baby who has reflux in an upright position. The forces of gravity can help keep the stomach contents down and prevent excessive spitting up or vomiting.
Have Small, Frequent Feedings
When a baby has reflux, it is typically recommended that you do small feedings on a more frequent basis. Small feedings make it easier for a baby to digest milk or formula faster, which can help prevent spitting up and the other uncomfortable symptoms associated with reflux.
Have Baby Sleep at an Incline
The pain and discomfort from reflux can make it very difficult for a bay to sleep well at night. You can help lessen the symptoms of reflux at night by having your baby sleep at an incline. Try purchasing a wedge-shaped pillow at a baby-supply store, and place the pillow under one side of the crib mattress; place your baby's head on the side of the crib that is propped up. Never place a pillow directly in the crib to prop up your baby's head, as this can be dangerous and can cause suffocation.
Get a Prescription
If your baby has severe reflux, he or she may need a prescription for a liquid antacid. Make an appointment with your child's pediatrician to discuss your baby's symptoms and to find out if a prescription is needed. A prescription antacid will not stop frequent spitting up or vomiting, but it can neutralize the stomach so your baby will not experience pain when these things happen.
Prescription liquid antacids can work very well for babies, but the dosage can be very dependent on weight. As your baby grows, you will need to speak with his or her pediatrician to adjust the daily dosage so your baby continues to have relief. Reflux typically goes away after a few months, so your baby should not have to take the prescription antacid for long.
For more information, consult your pediatrician or one at a healthcare organization such as Willow Oak Pediatrics.