It’s estimated that up to 35% of babies experience reflux in the first few months. While reflux is usually nothing to worry about and will resolve independently, it can be a real pain for both baby and parent. You should avoid certain foods if breastfeeding a baby suffering from reflux. They can worsen your baby’s condition.
Why Breastmilk is Still the Best Option for Baby’s reflux?
Breastmilk is the best option for colicky babies or those with reflux because of its many benefits. Breastmilk is packed with essential nutrients for a developing baby, including proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It is also easy to digest, which helps reduce the chances of an upset baby’s stomach and makes reflux worse. So, what foods to avoid when breastfeeding a baby with reflux?
There are many benefits of breastmilk for colicky babies or those with reflux. It also contains antibodies that help protect babies from infections. Breast milk contains special enzymes that help break down the baby’s milk proteins. In addition, breastmilk is less likely to cause allergies than formula. Do you know the best methods to store breast milk?
Why would a breastfeeding mom need to change her diet for a reflux baby?
If you’re breastfeeding a reflux baby, there are some dietary changes you can make to help ease your baby’s symptoms. Avoiding spicy, acidic, gas-producing, and caffeinated foods may help minimize discomfort for your little one. If you have concerns about your diet, food allergy, or your baby’s health, speak with your doctor or pediatrician.
Foods to avoid when breastfeeding a baby with reflux
While breast milk is the perfect food for babies, there are some instances where what a mother eats can cause acid reflux in her baby. It is important to remember that every baby is different and may be sensitive to different foods. In such cases, mothers must know what foods can cause acid reflux in breastfed babies.
The following list includes some common foods that cause acid reflux in breastfed babies:
Eating spicy food is a common trigger for a baby’s acid reflux. When a mother’s diet includes spicy foods, it can often increase stomach acid production. Which then can lead to discomfort for your young babies. If spicy foods are the problem, try eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks and see if there is a difference.
Regarding food, there are two main categories: acidic and alkaline. Acidic foods have a low pH level and are thus more likely to cause health problems like indigestion and acid reflux.
On the other hand, alkaline foods, avocados, bananas, coconuts, dates, and figs, have a high pH level and are, therefore, more likely to benefit your health.
Many factors can affect a food’s pH level, including how it is grown, processed, and cooked. For example, tomatoes are typically acidic, but cooking them can make them more alkaline.
Acidic foods are one of the primary triggers for acid reflux in breastfeeding babies. The acidic stomach contents can return to the esophagus when the baby eats or drinks, causing irritation and pain.
Some acidic foods to avoid while breastfeeding includes lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, and chocolate. If you think your baby may be sensitive to acidic foods, you must talk to your doctor or lactation consultant to find out what foods can cause acid reflux in breastfed babies.
Dairy products, such as cow’s milk, cheese, and yogurt, are some of the most common offenders for causing acid reflux in a breastfed baby. These products are complex for babies to digest due to the presence of cows milk protein and can often lead to increased food intolerances, stomach acid, and silent reflux in healthy babies. You can try removing dairy from your mother’s diet for a few days to determine if it is sensitive.
Citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, are also common culprits in acid reflux in a breastfed baby. The acidic nature of these fruits can increase stomach acid, leading to discomfort for your little one. Try removing citrus fruits from the mother’s diet for a couple of weeks to see if it makes a difference.
Several gas-producing foods can cause you to experience bloating, including beans, lentils, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. While these foods are healthy and packed with nutrients, they can also cause your stomach to expand and fill with gas.
Carbonated beverages, like soda, seltzer water, and beer, can also cause bloating. When you drink these drinks, the carbonation bubbles expand in your stomach, causing it to fill with air and become bloated. So, it must be avoided from breastfeeding diet for reflux baby.
Fatty and fried foods
Eating fatty, fried, and junk food can also lead to bloating. These high fat foods take longer to digest, and they can cause your stomach to fill with gas and become bloated.
Other foods that cause acid reflux in breastfed babies
Nursing moms should avoid these foods in the breastfeeding diet for reflux baby:
- Excess caffeine
- Soy products
- Peanuts and tree nuts
- Fruit juices
- Consuming alcohol
- Wheat and other gluten-containing grains
- Artificial additives and preservatives
- nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, etc.)
- FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols)
Acid reflux in breastfed babies symptoms and signs
If your baby is spitting up frequently or seems fussy after eating, he may have acid reflux. Acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux (GER), is when stomach contents come back into the feeding tube or mouth due to an underdeveloped lower esophageal sphincter. Although this happens to all babies at times, some have GER more often. It can cause discomfort and a symptom of a more severe problem.
The signs and symptoms of GER in breastfeeding baby are:
- Frequent vomiting or spit-up
- Excessive crying
- Feeding difficulties
- Arching the back during or after feedings
- Refusing to eat or eating only small amounts
- Fussiness between feedings or after eating
- Coughing or wheezing
- Difficulty sleeping when lying down flat on their back
Most babies with GER are healthy and do not need any medical treatment. However, if your breastfed baby has any of the following symptoms, he may have a more severe condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):
- Weight loss or poor weight gain
- Refusal to eat for longer than a couple of days
- Bloody vomit
- Green vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Breathing problems such as wheezing, grunting, pauses in breathing, or fast breathing
- Crying that cannot be consoled
- Discomfort when lying down on their back
- Significant irritability
- Poor growth despite a good appetite
Contact his health professional immediately if your baby has any of these symptoms. These could be signs of GERD.
Acid reflux is common in babies, but there are ways to manage it. Pay attention to your baby’s eating habits and watch for signs of discomfort. If your baby has trouble gaining weight, is irritable, or has other concerning symptoms, contact his healthcare provider immediately. With proper management, most babies with acid reflux will grow and thrive.
Best breastfeeding diet for reflux baby
You can do a few things to ease your baby’s reflux symptoms. Breast milk is easier for your baby to digest than formula, and it can help to soothe their stomach.
You should also try to keep your baby upright after feeding and for at least 30 minutes afterward. It will help to keep the food down and prevent it from coming back up. Finally, avoid feeding your baby right before sleep, as this can worsen reflux.
Talk to your child’s doctor if you are concerned about acid reflux in breastfed babies symptoms or if they seem to be in pain. They can help you figure out the best course for your child.
Sudden infant death syndrome and Reflux
The sudden, unexplained death of babies under one year old is challenging for parents. It’s known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or crib death because it often happens when they sleep in their baby’s bed and not on the floor as other cultures do with pillows.
Reflux is common in infants and children and usually goes away independently when a child is a year old. However, some children have reflux that lasts longer and causes problems.
Infants who have sleeping problems, such as death from SIDS, may be at higher risk for reflux. It is unclear if the two conditions share a common cause or how they are connected. Still, some studies suggest that babies with both disorders are more likely to die when sleep-deprived because of their symptoms combined with other factors like babesia infection (parasite).
For baby reflux, there are some things breastfeeding mothers can do to help ease their fussy baby:
- Prop up the head of your child’s crib with pillows or towels. It will help keep their head and stomach on the same level, which may help prevent reflux.
- Avoid letting your child lie down immediately after eating. Please wait at least 30 minutes to an hour and make the baby upright before putting them down.
- Feed your child smaller meals more often.
- Use best baby bottles for acid reflux.
- Avoid letting your child wear tight clothing.
- Avoid giving your child solid foods or drinks that may trigger reflux, such as fatty or spicy foods, other citrus fruits, chocolate, and carbonated beverages.