Infant reflux seems to be affecting one out of every three babies these days. Most parents who have a baby with reflux are completely exhausted and at their wits end. There is very little information available online about how to comfort a baby who is suffering with the pain of reflux. I would like to share with you some concrete strategies that can make life easier and lessen the pain your baby is feeling.
繚 Modifying babies bed so that they are sleeping at a 35 to 40 degree angle. The simple way we do this is by placing a firm relatively plump pillow under the mattress of your baby bed. This is usually not quite enough of an angle so I also recommend purchasing the Tempurpedic side sleeping pillow and placing it under the crib sheet. The queen size pillow fits most cribs. This angle will sometimes cause baby to slide downwards so you will need to place a boppy pillow in a reverse u shape around their bottom to keep them from sliding. Putting baby to sleep at an incline like this will help keep them from refluxing so severely by using gravity to keep stomach contents down. Think about how uncomfortable it is for you to lay down flat with a full stomach. It is the same for your baby.
繚 Swaddling baby tightly for sleep. This is a wonderful calming tool for babies under five months of age. Babies have a startle reflex which causes them to flail their hands and wake themselves up frequently. If you do not know how to swaddle your baby, or it is difficult for you, try using the Miracle Blanket swaddle or the kidopotamous swaddleme blankets. To understand why this is such an effective tool for calming your baby watch the Happiest Baby On The Block DVD by Dr. Harvey Karp.
繚 A sound machine or baby white noise CD from iTunes. Your baby has an underdeveloped nervous system which is easily over stimulated. Baby was used to a very loud white noise while in the womb. This white noise helps baby to block out stimulation and calm down.
繚 The swing can be a reflux babies best friend. Be sure to purchase a cradle type swing such as the Fisher Price Little Lamb. The cradle type swing will prevent very young babies from having their heads thrown too far forward. It can be adjust to the more upright position when they are older. The motion of the swing on its highest speed will remind baby of being in the womb where there was constant movement. The combination of the movement and the white noise is incredibly powerful in calming a baby who is in pain. Save the swing for times when your baby is really suffering and unable to sleep in the bed. They can easily decide the swing is the only place they want to sleep. Try to use it as a tool when they are extremely fussy, not their everyday sleeping place.
Part I of this series covers your babies environment and the ways that you can create a womb cocoon for your crying baby. Part II of this series will address feeding your reflux baby. Strategies and tips for making feeding easier and managing the amount of refluxing your baby does after feeding.