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Sleep and Acid Reflux

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

Acid Reflux is a painful condition that can cause discomfort when laying down, shortened naps and night wakening’s. However, with a little patience, reflux can be managed, and your baby can sleep peacefully.

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What are the signs your baby has Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux usually starts before a baby is 8 weeks old and tends to get better as the get older. There are also two types of refluxes: Silent and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Signs taken from the NHS website that your baby could be suffering from either are:

· Bringing up milk or being sick during or shortly after feeding

· Coughing or hiccupping when feeding

· Being unsettled during feeding

· Swallowing or gulping after burping or feeding

· Crying and not settling

· Not gaining weight as they’re not keeping enough food down

Why does Acid Reflux interfere with your baby’s sleep?

Basically, a baby that suffers from acid reflux is constantly in pain and discomfort. The baby’s stomach acid repeatedly comes back up and irritates their throat and stomach lining which causes heartburn. The funny thing is the safest way to sleep your baby is on their back, this also is the position that is worst for a flare up. Therefore, acid reflux is so hard on your sleeping baby.

How can I help my baby with Acid Reflux feel better?

First and foremost you should speak with your Health Visitor if you have any concerns, they deal with this daily and will be able to talk you through it. Things you can do that will help are:

· Keep a log – logging your baby’s feeds and symptoms will help you cross reference and see patterns in your baby.

· Keep your baby up right after feeding – it is recommended that you hold or seat your baby upright for at least 30 mins after feeding. This gives the milk a chance to start and move down your baby’s stomach.

· Smaller, more frequent feeds – some baby’s with reflux are better with smaller amounts taken on a more frequent basis.

· Wedge a small towel – wedging a small towel under up baby’s mattress will slightly elevate them while keeping them safe on their backs.

· Offer a dummy – this can help ease reflux as it creates extra saliva and downward contractions of the oesophagus.

How to sleep train a baby with Acid Reflux?

We first off recommend that you see your doctor and get prescription medicine if needed. Secondly, once your baby’s acid reflux is under control then you can start sleep training. Once you have done both of these, you can sleep train with confidence. The first step is moving that last bedtime feeding to an early point in your bedtime routine as you will need to have your baby up right for 30 minutes before laying them down to sleep. This will also have to be done if your baby still feed at night.

Your little one may also have a negative association with their cot due to the reflux, therefore it is important when sleep training to start off with a gentle sleep method and trying to give them as many naps as possible in the cot. Most importantly is to have patience with your baby, this is a new skill they are learning and can take time to master. REFLUX SUCKS!

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