Feeding baby with acid reflux – 7 things you can do

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feeding baby with acid reflux

How do you feed a baby with reflux?

Acid reflux is a. problem that occurs in newborns, and usually, the issue gets resolved by the time the baby is 12-14 months of age. 

It is also known as Gastroesophageal reflux ( GER)

As the muscles of a newborn’s digestive system are not yet developed, the stomach contents that you feed your baby keep coming back into the oesophagus and throat, and the baby spits or vomits it out frequently. This specific muscle is known as the oesophagal sphincter muscle.

Most babies spit out up to the age of 3-4 months.

The baby can make a gurgling or wheezing sound while feeding or after.

Here are seven important things you can do for feeding a baby with acid reflux

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Frequent Feedings

frequent feeding

Try to give your baby less milk or formula at one time, whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.

Give small and frequent feeds. This will help decrease the reflux because there is less stomach content to throw up.

Initially, some babies might get irritable if they do not get their full feed, but they will adjust over time.

Make sure the nipple size is right

Make sure the size of the nipple is large enough to allow your baby to suck milk without gulping air but not so large that she gets too much milk too quickly.

Burping frequently through each feed.

burp baby frequently
burping baby

 Always burp the baby frequently to help relieve gastric pressure and keep air from building up in the stomach. This will reduce the amount of milk that the baby may throw up.

Keep baby upright during and after a feed

Feed the baby in an upright position.

hold baby upright

Since acid reflux happens after meals, burp the baby and keep him sitting up for 30 minutes.

After that, you can put him to bed once the food is digested

This won’t work in the middle of the night, but you can use it in the evening or at naptime.

You will sleep better if the baby has no reflux

Breastfeed for as long as possible

breastfeeding helps reflux

Try to breastfeed your baby for as long as you can.This will keep the reflux in control as breastmilk is easier to digest for babies. Introduce formula as late as possible.

Try to change the diet

If you are using baby formula, you could try a different brand.

If you are breastfeeding, you should try to eliminate certain foods, especially dairy products, as reflux could result from food allergy or intolerance.

Use thickened feeds – mix some rice cereal with the formula or breastmilk to make it thicker, which will help prevent the food from coming up from the baby’s stomach into the oesophagus. However, consult your Doctor before doing this.

Consult your Doctor for medications

consult doctor

Suppose you have tried the above suggestions and the reflux is still not improving, and the baby has other symptoms like irritability, no weight gain and frequent vomiting. In that case, you should get medication from your Doctor to overcome this problem.

Drugs like PPIs( Proton pump inhibitors) or H2 blockers may reduce the acid in the baby’s stomach and ease the problem. 

Surgery may be needed in rare cases to fix the problem that is causing the reflux.

However, you can be sure that you can successfully manage to feed your baby once you have tried the above steps.

Should I stop breastfeeding if my baby has reflux?

Does breastfeeding make reflux worse?

No. In fact, you should keep breastfeeding as far as possible, as it is easier for the baby to digest breast milk.

Breastfeeding will help with reflux.

Should I switch to formula if the baby has reflux?

baby formula

As mentioned above, do not switch to formula. Instead, keep on breastfeeding, as breast milk is easier for the baby to digest

How do you breastfeed a baby with reflux?

While breastfeeding, try to hold the baby in an upright position. 

Burp the baby frequently to avoid build-up of air in the stomach.

Keep the baby in an upright position for 30 minutes after the feed and then put him to sleep.

Is it better to bottle feed babies with reflux?

It is advisable to breastfeed babies with reflux, as they can digest human milk better.

However, if you are bottle-feeding, then make sure that you use the right nipple to suck milk without too much air and not be too large to give too much milk at a fast pace.

Is reflux worse in bottle-fed babies?

Reflux is not caused due to feeding with the bottle.

A baby has a problem due to the feed coming up from the stomach, and you need to take steps to manage or cure the problems.

Do Babies with reflux want to eat more?

It is advised to feed such babies in smaller quantities at a time but more frequently. Hence your baby will not get a proper fill at one time. They will always appear to want more, and you have to make sure that they get their adequate intake during the day

How often should a baby with reflux eat

Does Gripe Water Help reflux

What can I give my baby for reflux

Is it better to bottle feed babies with reflux

What are acid reflux symptoms in infants?

symptoms of acid reflux

The usual reflux symptoms are:

  • The back is often arched during feeding or after a meal.
  • Crying that goes on for more than 2 to 3 hours without any medical problems
  • Wheezing, Coughing and problem in swallowing
  • The baby is irritable, especially after a feed
  • Not eating enough or refusing to eat
  • Baby has poor weight gain or weight loss.
  • Trouble in breathing
  • There is blood or greenish colour in the spit-up
  • There is an increase in the intensity or frequency of the spit-up.
  • You can notice forceful vomiting at times.
  • The belly is distended and is hard when you press it.
baby crying

When does reflux get better in babies?

Generally, the reflux starts to reduce after 3 months and goes away when the baby is 12 to 14 months old.

Does putting baby on stomach help with reflux?


You must put the baby to sleep on his or her back, even if they have reflux.

For most babies, making some adjustments to feeding will ease infant reflux until it resolves on its own. 

What foods to avoid while breastfeeding

 You should avoid foods with ingredients that may pass through your breast milk and upset the baby.

These include spicy foods, caffeine, fatty foods, and dairy products.

What is the best milk for babies with acid reflux?

Cow’s milk with hydrolyzed protein is very easy to digest and help reflux. And it also helps infants with food allergies.

Does Gripe Water Help reflux?

Although many folks recommend it, there is no scientific evidence to prove that Gripe water can help babies with reflux.

It could potentially make a baby’s reflux worse. It’s a good idea to avoid gripe water that contains gluten, dairy, and vegetable carbon.

Do not use Gripe for babies younger than one month.

Although gripe water is generally safe, it’s not a good idea for babies less than a month old since the stomach is still developing and sensitive at this age.


Infant reflux is usually not a cause for alarm. There is no point in getting sleepless nights worrying.

Babies frequently spit up because their digestive systems aren’t developed.

As your little one gets older, the condition known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux will usually disappear.

If the symptoms are extreme and persist after the age of one, it could point to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and you will have to consult a specialist and start proper treatment.

Keep plenty of burp cloths ready while you are feeding.

Carrie Walters
Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier. They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics