Now that you know how to burp your baby the right way, here are a few things you should avoid at all costs when trying to ease reflux.
- Avoid putting pressure on your baby's tummy: If you place your child high on your chest, her tummy gets squished into your shoulder. This is a surefire way to cause the whole feeding to come up with the burp!
- Don't overfeed: Feeding your baby too much and too often can cause her to, quite literally, overflow. "Newborns sometimes take only two ounces or less," says Dr. LoFrumento, but as your baby continues to grow, she will require more food. Instead of following a rigid schedule for feeding, Dr. LoFrumento recommends you trust your instincts about what is the right amount of food your baby needs.
- Never hold your baby above your head: At least don't do this right after he or she has just eaten. "Gravity rules," reminds Dr. LoFrumento, and whatever is in your baby's tummy will want to come right out. It's best to keep your little one in an upright position and try not to jostle your baby around after feeding, since this can also cause spitting up.
Other Reflux Remedies
Burping is commonly thought of as the one and only cure for spitting up, yet there are a few tricks parents can adhere to that reduce a little one's air intake and need to burp.
"Some ways to prevent spitting up are to feed the baby in a mostly upright position, leaning the baby to his or her left," says Dr. Shubin. This method works well in adults with acid reflux problems, too.
If your baby doesn't seem to be keeping much of his feedings down, there are products available that thicken the feedings. Thicker material in the stomach tends to stay in the stomach, says Dr. Shubin. One formula thickener on the market is called Enfamil-AR, and it works by having a liquid consistency until it touches stomach acid and then thickens.
If none of these methods work, your doctor may prescribe anti-reflux medication that helps keep your baby's feedings in her tummy where they belong.
Spitting Up and Health Concerns
Although spitting up is a common occurrence in babies, it has the potential of becoming a health concern—such as when babies have gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. This condition causes babies to spit up nearly all of their feedings. Because of this, infants who suffer from GERD have irritation of the esophagus and lack the nutrition they need to grow and be healthy. Doctors typically prescribe anti-acid medications and thickened feeding formulas for such cases to combat the excessive spitting up. Fortunately this condition is not common and is easy to treat.
The vast majority of babies who spit up do not have serious health problems and are just going through a normal stage of childhood. As long as the baby is keeping in more than he or she is spitting up, all should be well. If you're concerned, pay a visit to your child's doctor to discuss the reflux. Just remember to bring an extra change of clothing whenever you go out—for parents and Baby!