Home Feeding and Growth Breastfeeding and Infant Reflux Breastfeeding and Infant Reflux
Breastfeeding and Infant Reflux PDF Print E-mail
Written by RMacLean   
Thursday, 10 February 2005 13:25

It's certainly no secret, breastfeeding is best for baby, but that's particularly true for babies with reflux.  There are a few reasons why this is the case:

  • Breast milk is digested twice as fast as formula, this is beneficial for babies with reflux because the faster food moves out of the stomach, the less chance it has of being refluxed.
  • Breast milk, particularly the proteins, are more hypoallergenic than formula, especially cow's milk based formula.  Reflux can—in some cases—be aggravated by milk or food allergies so providing the most hypoallergenic possibility is extremely beneficial.
s p o n s o r e d   a d  (what's this?)
Sponsored Advertisement - Pollywog Baby

More—non-medical—benefits: spit up from breast milk is much easier to clean up, less likely to stain than formula spit up and smells better.

Babies with reflux can take two completely different approaches to mealtime. Some become frequent and aggressive feeders, guzzling fast and demanding more. These babies seem to get relief from the natural antacid effects of the milk, likely from the closeness to mom and soothing action of suckling. This is exhausting for the mothers and can actually increase reflux episodes if babies tummy gets too full.

Others take the complete opposite approach.  They learn that food hurts and decide to protect themselves from the pain and discomfort they associate with eating, they become very difficult to feed or refuse food altogether.  Some things that can help are keeping the baby as upright as possible, feeding while the baby is sleeping, the use of white noise like a vacuum or the shower running, have proven effective for many moms.  Try keeping the baby as relaxed as possible and avoid the natural reaction to panic or get upset that baby won't eat.  Since your baby senses and reacts to your distress, this will only prove to increase their anxiety over mealtimes.  If these things, along with the rest of the lifestyle adjustments for reflux don't help, medication may be the next step.  For these babies it's important to stop the pain they feel when they eat.  If they are able to eat without pain, the bad associations will stop and so will the feeding problems.

Eliminating milk products and even some of the other foods* known to irritate reflux can benefit some breastfed refluxers.

*fried or creamy style vegetables, tomatoes, citrus: such as oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, anything prepared with whole milk or high-fat, cold cuts, sausage, bacon, fatty meat, chicken fat/skin, all animal or vegetable oils, chocolate, carbonated beverages, chicken, beef, milk, or cream-based soups


Reviewed By Dave Olson, MD
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
Graduate University of Michigan School of Medicine

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:41 )

Featured Product

"This moving story provides the naked truth about one of the most challenging parts of being a parent. The misery and exhaustion parents and children feel are painstakingly documented and brought to our attention."

More Info »

Trusted Information

Why can you trust the information you find on InfantRefluxDisease.com? Our articles have been reviewed by a board certified pediatrician to insure accuracy. We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the HON Foundation. Click to

We proudly subscribe to the HONcode principles of the Health On The Net Foundation.

Our Sponsors | References | Privacy Policy | Advertise Your Product | About Our Ads | Free Baby Websites

Site Last Modified: April 2009
*Disclaimer:The information available on this website should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of your child's reflux. Please consult with your child's doctor or pharmacist before trying any medication (prescription or OTC) or following any treatment plan mentioned. This information is provided only to help you be as informed as possible about your child's condition.