Are you exhausted and frustrated in helping your baby deal with their reflux?
The lack of sleep and trying out solutions is a killer.
The spit-up, projectile vomiting, cleaning up every hour or so, and seeing your baby cry and suffer are enough to make any parent lose their mind.
If you’re wondering if using a baby carrier can soothe your baby’s reflux, then this article is for you.
But how exactly does babywearing help with reflux? Below is a quick answer.
Does Babywearing Help With Reflux?
Babywearing helps with reflux by keeping your baby in an upright position.
This keeps stomach contents where they belong and lowers the chances of the food going back up and causing reflux.
But what the hell is this effin’ reflux and how do we know if your baby has one?
Reflux: Causes and Symptoms
If you’re a new parent, it can be quite distressing to see your kid spit or worse, do projectile vomiting, after every feeding.
I know I was, the first time I saw my baby do projectile vomiting!
Reflux though is quite common. As long as your baby is generally healthy, happy, and gaining weight, there’s no need for any medical treatment.
Causes of Reflux
The most common cause of reflux is an infant’s undeveloped digestive system. This causes stomach contents to flow back up, causing spit-ups and vomits.
Other factors that can contribute to reflux can be:
- Full liquid diet
- Premature birth
- Laying flat most of the time
- Food intolerance to cow’s milk
Other serious causes of reflux that may need medical treatment, can be:
- GERD – can damage the lining of the esophagus
- Sandifer syndrome – rarely seen consequence of GERD
- Eosinophilic esophagitis – can injure the lining of the esophagus.
- Pyloric stenosis – a narrow valve that prevents stomach contents from going into the small intestine
Reflux amongst healthy infants will usually go away on its own, once their digestive system develops and matures.
If you’re not sure if your little one has reflux, here are common symptoms of reflux in babies:
- not gaining weight as they’re not keeping enough food down
- coughing or hiccupping when feeding
- swallowing or gulping after burping or feeding
- being unsettled during feeding
- bringing up milk or being sick during or shortly after feeding
- crying and not settling
How Does Babywearing Ease Reflux Symptoms
Feeding your baby in a baby carrier and carrying them for at least 30 minutes after, keeps them in an upright position.
This helps the food stay and settle down, reducing the chances of milk spit-ups.
It’s also easier to burp your baby in a baby carrier, which can also help reduce reflux symptoms.
They’re already in position, so burping can just happen naturally. You just need to rub their backs and do very gentle taps, if needed.
Some cultures who practice babywearing don’t even burp their babies!
Just be careful to not jiggle around so much when babywearing your baby.
Other Benefits of Babywearing
Using baby carriers is a must-have nowadays. It offers tons of help, in not only helping your reflux baby but also:
- Keeping your hands free to do work, chores, and errands
- Strengthening your bond with your baby
- Aids in your baby’s development by keeping them calm and happy
- Encourages social and language development as your baby can watch your interactions up close.
and a whole lot more!
Tips on Babywearing Your Baby with Reflux
Keep wearing them after feeding
Babywear them for at least 30 minutes, to make sure that gravity has done its job in keeping your baby’s stomach contents down and settled.
Burp them before wearing them
If your baby feels uncomfortable in the baby carrier right after feeding them, try to burp them first.
This might alleviate some of the discomforts they’re feeling, before putting them in the baby carrier.
Don’t jostle them too much
Keep it calm and breezy when you’re babywearing them. Especially when they just fed.
Avoid too much movement and jiggling around, as there’s a possibility of upsetting their stomach, causing your baby to spit up or vomit.
Wear a burp cloth
Tuck a burp cloth in front of your shirt, just in case your baby spit-ups.
Careful though to not cover their face, especially infants.
More Ways To Help Baby With Reflux
Change your diet
If you’re breastfeeding, you might need to avoid certain foods that can increase acid production or that can keep the lower esophagus sphincter open longer, causing reflux.
With that, try to avoid drinking milk or eating eggs, citrus fruits, tomato products, chocolate, peppermint, high-fat foods and so on, to help your reflux baby.
Give smaller, frequent feedings
Try to give your baby shorter or smaller but frequent feedings. Overfeeding them adds more stress and load to their tummy, which can lead to reflux.
Try Dr. Brown’s bottles
They have a vent system that removes air from milk, which can lessen your baby’s discomfort and chances of reflux and even colic.
It has been a lifesaver for us, and I can see the difference between using another bottle and Dr. Brown’s! I can see so much air forming on the nipple of other bottle brands and less to none, with Dr. Brown’s bottle.
Burp before a feeding
Try it the other way around, especially if your baby has been crying for some time before feeding.
They might have swallowed some air while crying and burping them before they have their milk, which will help to avoid reflux.
Talk to your doctor about medication
If your baby is refusing to feed, not gaining or even losing weight, and has an inflamed esophagus, it’s time to turn to medications. Ask your doctor what’s the best treatment for your child.
How To Choose a Baby Carrier for Reflux
Prioritize 2 to 3 features
Not all baby carriers are right for babies with reflux.
And those that can help with reflux may not be the best baby carrier in the long run.
Think about the top features that you need in one while considering if it’s comfortable for your reflux baby.
Then think about its longevity – can you use it until toddlerhood? Or maybe, you like a front-facing position, so your baby can see the world.
So think about the top 2 or 3 features you need in a baby carrier.
Test it thoroughly
Check to see how your baby is positioned in the baby carrier by testing it thoroughly.
Some might put them in a lying down position, which can irritate their tummy and cause spit-ups and vomits.
Check exchange and return policy
Some allow you to return or exchange the carrier with no questions asked. Some you can exchange or return within 30 days or longer.
So always check a baby carrier’s return policy before buying it online.
Buy from their official website
It’s best to buy one from their websites, instead of 3rd party retailers, for a smoother return or exchange process.
FAQ on Does Babywearing Help With Reflux
Does baby wearing reduce reflux?
Yes, babywearing helps in reducing reflux by keeping your baby upright and letting the food settle down in their stomach.
What is the best position to reduce reflux in infants?
An upright position, where they’re head is higher than their bum and where they’re not slouching, is the best position to reduce reflux in infants.
Alternatives To Babywearing
Some babies hate baby carriers. Or you might have a bad back and shoulders, making it difficult for you to babywear for long periods.
Don’t worry though as there are other alternatives to keeping your baby upright, such as the following:
It keeps little ones upright plus it’s a great entertainer and distraction if ever they’re feeling distressed.
It also keeps your hands free, giving you time to work, do chores, and more.
Bouncers are also helpful in keeping your baby in an upright position.
Some have toys and vibration settings to entertain your little one.
If you want to know the difference between a baby swing vs baby bouncer vs baby rocker, check out my article here.
My Takeaway with Does Babywearing Help With Reflux
My kid had also had reflux before (plus colic!) and what helped us was a combination of babywearing, baby swing, and changing my mentality.
I remember getting triggered at times as sometimes, my baby would be crying for what felt like hours.
I’ve literally tried everything and I’ve physically and emotionally exhausted myself.
I was lacking sleep, I had tons of chores to do, the house was a mess, I was trying to look for a job then I also had to find a way to help my baby deal with her reflux and colic.
It was maddening! Then I stumbled upon someone’s advice in an online parenting group, which made me cry and feel more empathy for my baby.
I was sobbing hard after reading that but it felt like a switch was turned on in my brain and I finally understood what my baby was going through.
So yes, babywearing helps with reflux but so does changing your mindset about your baby’s suffering too.