There's nothing harder for parents than watching their baby struggle through pain for seemingly no reason. Silent reflux is one of those "invisible illnesses" that plagues many babies from a very young age. If your baby has been diagnosed, or you've noticed symptoms, you're probably wondering how to help your baby with silent reflux. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to comfort and ease their pain.
Silent reflux, also called laryngopharyngeal reflux, happens when a baby's sphincter, the muscle at the end of their oesophagus isn't developed enough to do its job of keeping food and acid where it belongs — in the stomach. According to Just Mommies, instead of vomiting or spitting up (a tell-tale symptom of regular reflux) a baby with silent reflux will experience heart burn-like symptoms and not actually spit up.
Most babies grow out of the illness as they get older, but when they're experiencing symptoms like crying, arching their back in pain, aversion to eating, and pain from lying on their back, it can seem like nothing you do will help. Luckily, there are a few simple ways that may help ease your baby's discomfort. And as always, check with your doctor before implementing any new strategies or therapies.
1. Feed Them In An Upright Position
Kids Spot recommended feeding your baby in an upright position, which helps prevent it from flowing back up. If you're breastfeeding, you may need to experiment with new nursing positions, but it will be worth the extra effort.
2. Keep Them Upright For At Least 30 Minutes After Eating
Some of the worst reflux symptoms are experienced 30 minutes after eating. Reflux Infants Support Association Inc.. suggested either keeping your baby upright by either holding them against you, or placing them in a bouncer, can help ease their symptoms.
3. Avoid Laying Them On Their Back Except To Sleep
Similarly, RISA recommended you avoid laying your baby on their back after feedings, and just in general, may ease their discomfort. Obviously, laying them on their back to sleep is important, but avoiding it when you can will help.
4. Change Diapers Before Feeding Instead Of After
Since you'll have to lay your baby down to change their diaper and clothes, try doing it before feedings, instead of immediately after, when their pain may be the greatest.
5. Experiment With Baby Massage
One study noted that babies who had been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease and were treated with massage therapy exhibited fewer symptoms, slept better, gained more weight, and had lower cortisol levels than those who went without massage.
6. Limit Your Intake Of Irritating Foods
If you're breastfeeding, it's worth it to minimize spicy foods and allergens in your diet that may be affecting your baby's stomach, according to RISA.
7. Feed In Smaller, More Frequent Portions
KidSpot noted that babies with reflux generally want to nurse or feed often, whether it's for hunger or comfort. Feeding your baby smaller portions more frequently is less likely to upset their stomach and digest well.