First, we should really look at what the most common symptoms of baby reflux and GERD are. Common symptoms include:
Discomfort when lying on the back
Sleep disturbance with long periods of waking
Sleep – why exactly does baby reflux interfere with sleep?
Babies with GERD are in constant pain and discomfort. The stomach acid that comes up often after feedings can seriously irritate the lining of your baby’s throat, and cause a feeling of constant heartburn. What’s more, laying your baby flat on her back to sleep (which is the safest way for babies to sleep, in order to reduce the risk of SIDS) tends to make the symptoms of reflux and GERD even worse. So the best and safest sleep position for your baby is also one of the worst positions for her acid reflux!
Keeping a log of your baby’s feeding times, as well as periods of discomfort. This will help you cross-reference when the reflux happens and may allow you to make changes as you go in order no adapt feeds which are better scheduled on waking and not prior to sleeping.
Holding or sitting your baby slightly upright after feedings, for 20 or 30 minutes. You don’t want to hold your baby completely upright, but you want your baby to rest at a reclined angle such as 30 or 45 degrees until the formula or breastmilk she just drank is digested. If you lay her down flat right after a feeding, there’s a good chance that much of that meal will come right back up.
Keep the baby elevated, the elevation will help keep the acid at bay…
Comfort your baby often, but try to begin weaning away from sleep associations as your baby grows. It’s so natural to want to comfort a baby who’s in pain – and that’s what you should be doing! Especially in the first few months of your baby’s life, so do whatever you need to in order to help her feel calm and cared for. As soon as you see that the reflux is subsiding, you may want to TRY and eliminate any poor sleep habits.