1. Talk to your pediatrician. If your baby spits up beyond the norm, (my doctor said more than 10 times a day, more than an ounce at a time), then your doc will probably want to run precautionary tests. This doesn't mean anything is wrong, just that you want to rule serious conditions out before you treat your baby for reflux. Your doctor may prescribe medicine. Some babies are in pain when they spit up and may have trouble gaining weight, luckily H did not, but that's when medicine is helpful.
I learned that boys are more prone to have reflux than girls and many pediatricians say they'll grow out of it around 6 months. However, several moms I know, including myself, had kids that grew out of it between 12-18 months. It just slowly got better over time until it completely stopped. I also found that it got better once H could sit up on his own, but then was worse than ever once he started crawling because he was much more active on his tummy.
2. Feeding Tips: If you aren't breastfeeding, try a spit up formula. Your doctor will know what is best to try for your baby, but once we ruled out that H's reflux wasn't from a dairy intolerance, I had the best luck with Enfamil A.R. Spit up Formula. It is formula with rice cereal already mixed in, so when H had to spit up, the milk had thickened in his tummy where the spit up quantity was much less.
Other things that helped me were:
- Feed your baby at an angle so he's slightly sitting up
- Burp him more frequently in between ounces
- Try smaller, more frequent feedings
- Sit him up for 15 minutes after eating, delaying playtime so that his tummy can settle
- Add gas drops to each bottle to help settle his stomach
- Use pacifiers to help keep the acid down
- Use thick burp cloths (which I started making on my own, and I now sell here)
- Try Dr. Brown bottles
3. Naptime Tips: Have your baby sleep at an angle. The safest and best thing I found was the Rock N Play Sleeper. When H was little, he couldn't sleep because his face was always laying in spit up. Plus I wasn't sleeping for the fear he would drown in it! The Rock N Play was perfect because his spit up would land on the side or his shirt and wouldn't be in his face. You can also fold it up easily and take it on trips. I kept H in this until 6 months when he could sit up and lean over the thing. He still was spitting up a lot at this age, but the Rock N Play was too small for him, so I switched him to his Pack N Play. I tried his crib, but changing the sheets several times a night wasn't easy. The Pack N Play was much easier to clean up. You can also set a thin pillow under the mattress to help with the angle.
4. Day Trip Tips: I hated covering up H's cute outfits with bibs, but several friends had their babies wear bibs to catch the spit up so they didn't have to change outfits as often. Here are some more ideas for being out and about:
- Avoid putting your baby in tight clothes and diapers
- Load up on extra thick burp cloths
- Carry your baby facing out
- Bring an extra pair (or more!) of clothes for YOU and your baby
- Warn people they are in the "Splash Zone" before handing junior over or burping nearby!
5. How to keep up with the mess: H would spit up an average of 30 times a day with several projectile vomits. Our carpet, our clothes, his clothes, his bed, the car seat, his toys...were covered. It was out of control. I learned how to disassemble everything: jumper, car seat cover, stroller pads, the Rock N Play, to wash them. Make sure to wash toys in the dishwasher, and stuffed animals and covers in the washing machine often.
As for the carpets, I was saved when I found this sweet product: Bissell Spotbot You fill it with water and cleaner, set it on a spot, push a button and walk away. After scrubbing 5 to 7 times a day, this was the best thing I bought for my carpet. It's made for pets, so there's no yucky smell left behind and yea! your carpet doesn't crunch.