Best and worst baby products for infant reflux
There are many products on the market today designed to make it easier to care for your baby. Take a good look at the products you are currently using. It will be worth the extra expense to have a happier, more comfortable baby. Trust me! Look for items that place your baby in a slightly reclined position and do not cause him to slump or slouch. Once his stomach and back muscles become stronger he will be able to keep pressure off his own tummy and positioning devices will not be as critical.
Invest in One or More Good Slings or Carriers
I cannot stress this enough. See What to Look for in Slings and Carriers for more information. We proudly recommend and carry the Moby Wrap baby carrier, Baby Cuddler frontpack, and Kozy Carrier mei tei. All three choices keep your baby in the perfect upright position while distributing all your baby's weight across both shoulders and your back so it's ergonomically correct for you as well. Visit our Pollywog online store for our selection of baby carriers perfect for reflux and colic.
Car Seats and Infant Carriers
Car seats and infant latch carriers are not all alike. Some of them have deeper wells where the seat bottoms and backs meet that cause your baby to slouch. The only car seat we have found that has a shallower well and that reclines slightly, putting less pressure is on baby's tummy is the Radian 65 and Radian 80. If you have anything different a car seat positioner can help eliminate the well and improve your baby's reflux in the car.
Look for a stroller that has several reclining positions and has a shallow well. In addition to making it more comfortable for your baby, it can be used with a younger baby, enabling you to get out of the house earlier. This is especially true if you've had a C-section and are unable to use a sling or carrier. If your stroller has a deep well that seems to squish your baby's tummy you can use your Hug Me Joey from the carseat.
Newer swings come with many different positions, speeds and directions (i.e. front to back or side to side.) Look for one that reclines in several positions so you can use it with younger babies. Be sure the seat well and strapping mechanism will not cause your baby to slouch or put pressure on his tummy. You may be able to place a rolled up hand towel under your baby's bottom, lifting him up and out of the well but be sure he is safely fastened and never leave him unattended. A Hug Me Joey can also be used in the swing to eliminate the well. If your baby seems uncomfortable in a reclining position, be sure he is not reclined so much that forward rocking is causing his stomach contents to slosh up toward his esophagus.
Like car seats, many bouncy seats have deep wells or are designed so that waist straps must be very tight in order to secure your baby. Look for ones that have shallow wells and more comfortable fastening devices. You may be able to place a rolled up hand towel underneath your baby's bottom, lifting him up and out of the well or use a Hug Me Joey. Be sure that your baby is still safely secured in the seat and do not leave him unattended. Vibrations and music may be soothing to your baby but beware that over stimulation can aggravate reflux. Try to keep toys, colors and lights to a minimum until your baby develops more tolerance to stimulation or until reflux symptoms lessen.
These are designed with very large seating areas to accommodate your baby as he grows. It may be possible to put a rolled up towel or blanket behind your baby's back to fill the gap but be sure that doesn't simply push his tummy against the bumper. Be aware that these products are designed to be stimulating and excessive stimulation can aggravate reflux.
An up and down motion may be comforting to your baby for many reasons. Just be aware that stimulation and pressure of the tummy against the bumper may cause him to reflux.
Many high chairs now come with multiple positions, including a slightly reclined position. A 45 degree angle with a straight spine is preferable to a more upright position that causes your baby to slump.
These can often be safely inclined by putting a foam wedge underneath the bottom/floor of the play yard itself. Be sure the incline is not too steep or your baby will slide down to the foot. You can use a sleeping wedge in a play yard to keep your baby on a 45 degree angle. We prefer the RESQ wedge which has a dedicated tummy side for tummy time.
Infant Sitting Pillows
Use these with caution. When breast or bottle feeding, it is not adequate to simply position your baby with his head higher than his body. His entire spine should be totally straight and well supported. Use equal caution when sitting your baby in a semi-circle pillow such as a Boppy. If his stomach and back are not strong enough to support himself, he will likely slump or slouch, putting pressure on his tummy.
There are many great wedges on the market these days that can keep your baby at the perfect angle. Some are designed for sleeping or lounging and others for diaper changes. Read about wedges for infants with acid reflux for more information, or go directly to our Pollywog online store to see wedges we carry.
Burp Cloths and Bibs
You really can never have too many. I prefer bibs that snap to Velcro enclosures simply because my son would always tug them off and scratch his neck or face and then spit-up as soon as the bib was gone. Sometimes I would put on two bibs at once so I could just remove the top one and still have a reserve. Look for bibs that are big and thick. If you can only find thin bibs, doubling up is good insurance. My favorite is the towel bib - a large bib made from a thirsty hand towel that covers the shoulders and front.
Hand towels can make good burp cloths but terry stiffens up and hardens over many washings (and you'll be doing MANY washings). It also isn't as soft on your baby’s face as a really absorbent 100% cotton diaper. Don't limit your search to chain baby stores. Look for 100% cotton 6 or 8 ply Chinese pre-folds, diaper service quality (DSQ).
If you have a diaper service just increase the number of diapers you get each week. If not then buy several dozen, depending on how often you wash your baby's laundry. Enter our Pollywog online store to purchase inexpensive 100% cotton high quality Chinese pre-fold diapers.
Another great and affordable burp cloth is the burpcatcher (TM). It is an absorbant, 100% cotton flannel burp cloth with a clever pocket to catch that spitup before it runs down your back.
Be sure your pillow puts your baby in an upright position with a straight spine. This will allow more food to exit his tummy during feedings so there is less to come back up afterwards. Many babies with reflux also feed more comfortably in an upright position. You wouldn't drink milk lying down, would you?
Struggling to feed your baby in an upright position?
To learn about critical positioning during feedings read Best Breast and Bottle Feeding Positions
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