Does Formula Make Baby Reflux Worse?

What's the Best Formula For Babies with Reflux?


If you bottle feed your baby formula milk and they have reflux, you're going to want to read this.

When I was breastfeeding my daughter, it was nothing short of hell. 

I tried numerous times to switch to formula, only for her to be worse every time and every formula we tried.

What I realised since is that there are many different factors to bottle feeding, formula choice and position that can all impact your baby's reflux and how good or bad it is on any one day.

This blog is for you if you use formulas of any sort. It has been a game changer on its own for many children.

There is one thing that no one has ever told you, and it can possibly change your baby's life. 


Why are the instructions for preparing infant formula milk to "shake"?

It's to make sure that the milk powder is fully mixed into the milk.

However, what if I were to tell you that this could be making a massive and negative impact on your baby's reflux?

Making it worse than it otherwise would be?

You see when we shake milk, we create bubbles... lots of them.

You can see them in the froth that appears on the top of the milk.

And sure, we can wait for some time for these bubbles to pop and dissipate.

However, what you cannot see are those thousands of microbubbles trapped within the milk itself.  

And what happens to those bubbles? 

Well, either they come back together into bigger bubbles with all the mechanical churning of the stomach and can drive burps or even vomiting several hours after a feed.... or...

formula milk makes baby reflux worse

...they pass through the stomach, still held in the milk, into the gut. And here, they begin to irritate, forming larger bubbles of air that become trapped and painful gas.

I will say that these bubbles in the baby's milk are not the only cause of trapped and painful gas. However, if they are contributing to the problem, then it's impossible to see what else is going on with these there, so reducing them will make things easier than they otherwise would be.


Reducing air in the formula: my top bottle-feeding tip to reduce reflux

You do this.... prepare milk differently.

For this, you will need a long-handled teaspoon (like a latte spoon), which has been sterilised in boiling water first. And have your cool boiled water to hand for this.

During this process, you will start with using the recently boiled water with the powder as this kills any bacteria that are in the milk powder. The remaining water should be recently boiled and then cooled to the appropriate temperature.

  1. 🥛 Put the milk powder into the bottle (or a sterilised jug) first
  2. 💧 Add in a small amount of recently boiled (still hot) water (start with 1 tbsp), and using the back of the spoon to push through any lumps, mix this into a smooth paste. 
    Depending on the milk, you may need more or less water to make the smooth paste, for - just experiment; start small and add more water in small amounts as you go)
  3. 💦 Add in another 1/3 of the remaining water and stir gently with the spoon, ensuring the mix is smooth and lump-free. 
  4. 🥄 Mix in the remaining water gently with the spoon. 
  5. 🌡  Check the milk temperature, and you have a lump-free, bubble-free bottle of formula milk ready for your baby.


What if the baby is on thickened milk or using a thickener?

If your baby is using either thickened milk or any thickener that you mix into their bottle, then add the thickener with the milk powder and follow the instructions above.

Note that your baby should not be on any combination of a thickened or "anti-reflux" milk and a separate thickener, or thickened milk and Gaviscon, or a thickener and Gaviscon.

Only one thickening agent should ever be used due to the increased risk of dehydration and severe constipation.

Also, thickening milks do not address the underlying cause of reflux. Click below to watch a video for more information. 


What if we use a prep machine to make the formula? 

The way the water is forced into the bottle from the prep machine also introduces air into the milk. You can use the machine to get the water at the right temperature, however, they also do not sterilise the milk powder, so are generally not recommended.

And remember - STIRRED, not shaken. Your baby is not James Bond.... well, yet anyway! 

If you really want to avoid having to do all this, then what we really need to do is to address the underlying cause of your baby's reflux. We do this by identifying what is causing it and then taking specific action to remedy it.


What else can you do to understand your baby's reflux?

In the 'Reflux Free Baby' Workshop, I walk you through all the symptoms you need to observe and record for your baby, what they mean, and how to use them as clues.

The course is suitable for both bottle-feeding and breastfed babies who are suffering from baby reflux.

I tell you what the clues mean individually and when they occur with other groups of symptoms. 

And this leads us to be able to say what is causing each baby's reflux with much more confidence. 

Based on this, I tell you what specific action to take for them.

To get your baby free from their reflux as quickly as possible, sign up now. You will have your answer within an hour.


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