Helping babies with symptoms

Breast-fed babies

For breast‑fed babies who regurgitate often and are very distressed, for example, if they cry inconsolably and they seem to be in obvious pain, the healthcare professional should offer you a breastfeeding assessment with a trained person. This person may talk with you about how you feel breastfeeding is going, and provide help, advice and support if there are any problems.

If you have had a breastfeeding assessment and your baby's reflux hasn't improved, your healthcare professional may talk with you about trying a medicine called an alginate for a trial period of 1 to 2 weeks. Alginates may help to reduce reflux. If the alginate works then continue with it, but you should try stopping it from time to time to see if the baby's reflux has disappeared completely.

Bottle-fed babies

For bottle‑fed babies who regurgitate often and are very distressed, for example, if they cry inconsolably and they seem to be in obvious pain, the healthcare professional should ask about how your baby is feeding. The healthcare professional might suggest changing the amount of milk, giving smaller feeds more often (but the same overall amount of milk), changing to a thickened feed or adding a thickener to the feed for a trial period. There are different products available that make the milk thicker. Your health visitor can give you more advice about how to give thickened feeds.

If your baby's reflux hasn't improved after you have tried these options, the healthcare professional may talk with you about trying a medicine called an alginate for a trial period of 1 to 2 weeks. Alginates may help to reduce reflux. If the alginate works then continue with it, but you should try stopping it from time to time to see if the baby's reflux has disappeared completely.

What if the treatment doesn't work?

Depending on your baby's symptoms, the healthcare professional may suggest trying a medicine to stop the stomach producing as much acid. For more information, see the section medicines to reduce acid production.

Sleeping positions

Babies should always be put flat on their back to go to sleep. They should not be put onto their tummies or sides to go to sleep.

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