My son had the devil’s throat as a baby — also known as acid reflux. His was so bad that it would make him look like he was gasping for air. Doctors were confounded with its severity, especially because he was exclusively breastfed. For months we struggled, and it wasn’t until I learned how he needed to be held while he was breastfeeding, and after, that he started to improve. Certain breastfeeding positions for babies with reflux can make all the difference in their comfort.
But the thing about breastfeeding positions — especially breastfeeding positions for babies with reflux — is that they matter almost as much for the mom as they do the baby. If you can’t sustain that hold, you’re not going to do it. Many of these breastfeeding reflux positions are greatly eased with the help of a solid breastfeeding pillow. I know that they might seem like a frivolous purchase when you’re registering for your shower or strolling the beautiful lands of Target, but they’re a total lifesaver.
Thankfully, once you get comfortable, these breastfeeding positions for babies with reflux can really help you when you feel like you’re at your end, and trust me, I know what that’s like. Lactation consultants and feeding therapists have devised myriad solutions for these problems, and they’re more than willing to share. However, it’s important to get your baby seen by a pediatrician to determine if it is, in fact, reflux that is causing their discomfort and agitation before you do anything else.
Keeping baby’s head above their little body seems to be the universally accepted way of keeping reflux at bay, and that makes sense. Think of when you’ve had reflux (hello, third trimester!) — lying flat on your back after eating was torture, right? When you were slightly elevated, or sitting up, things were a lot more comfortable. The trick to feeding your baby with reflux is similar. Keep them upright, keep them burped, and hold them in that position for as long as necessary. And as ever, talk to your provider about your child’s discomfort.
Jocelyn Bermudez, IBCLC, host of The Snarky Boob Queens
Andrea Tran, RN, IBCLC