How to Help a Baby With Reflux and Colic

How to help your baby with reflux and colic


Reflux affects approximately 50% of live births in the USA and UK.

For a reality check, that's over 310,000 babies in the UK and 1.83 million babies in the USA.

(50% of babies experience reflux (Source NHS & CDC), based on birth rates 2021).

Infant reflux is a massive problem in our society. 

One that is being overlooked and ignored.

One that is not appropriately acknowledged for the consequences it has. And way beyond baby themselves...

Having a baby with reflux can trigger post-natal depression in parents. Reflux even tears families apart. I know of multiple cases where parents have ended up separating and even divorcing because of the stress introduced to the relationship by reflux. This is serious.

We must change the conversation around this.


So, how can you help your baby if you think they might have reflux? 

The first thing is to really understand reflux for babies (it is not the same thing as in adults) and what causes it. Then you can do something about it. And more than something, you have a higher chance of doing the right thing for your baby.


Reflux or Regurgitation?

Apparently, "Reflux is normal."  And this is a phrase that every parent of a reflux baby hates. Being a parent of two babies who had reflux, I totally understand why it is so irritating. 

While the ability of the stomach to expel air and vomit are normal physiological processes, they are not normal when they happen on a regular basis.

My first piece of guidance is this:

If you were to adopt your baby's symptoms as your own, would you be happy living with them?

For example, would you be happy throwing up your coffee 20 minutes after drinking it every time you drank a coffee?

Reflux becomes a problem when the baby is suffering and in pain with it, either because there is stomach acid in the regurgitated milk that irritates the food pipe (oesophagus) and/or there are digestive troubles with bloating, trapped wind and abdominal pain; and/or baby is failing to gain weight and not thriving.

A baby with reflux or silent reflux is never described by their parents as a happy baby or a sleepy baby.

Typically, they are so unhappy that their parents are at their wit's end, not sleeping more than a few broken hours a night and not understanding why nothing helps their baby except the passing wind.


What can you do about it?

The answer for all babies with colic, reflux or silent reflux is to answer one question...

"What is causing their discomfort/pain/reflux?"

If we can answer this question properly, then we will get not only an answer but a course of action that will help you know what to do for your baby.

Reflux is not a disease or a condition. It is a symptom of something else.

And this is where the medical systems of the world are failing babies. Not only are they missing the systems to help parents figure out what is going on and, therefore, what the best course of action should be, but they don't believe that reflux has a cause. Our healthcare professionals are taught that reflux is normal. Full stop. Ask no further questions. And this is its greatest failure.

However, I am here to share that just because healthcare professionals don't have an answer doesn't mean there is no answer to be had... there is... and I've got it to share with you.


What Causes Reflux?

There is a much more detailed blog on this topic alone; however, in summary, here are some things that can cause reflux

1. Birth trauma

This could be from the most gentle and natural birth or from a long and arduous labour, from ventouse and other interventions or a section; birth trauma can happen to a baby at any stage. It could be from the way the baby was positioned in utero.

How can this be a problem? Well, baby’s skulls are designed to move so that they can be birthed. If the bones of the skull and bones of the rest of the body do not fully go back in alignment, then the body does not function perfectly. A direct example of this leading to reflux could be that the skull bones are not in the right position, so the jaw is misaligned slightly, and they cannot open their mouth wide enough to latch onto a bottle or breast. 

In turn, this could lead to babies raking on more air than they should. Air that goes in must come out. Sometimes, this air forces its way upwards and pushes stomach contents with it; sometimes, it will go down and cause discomfort. For these children, we can learn how to rebalance their bodies and support them with better feeding techniques. {keep reading}

2. Poor Latch

However, whatever your baby is latching onto is incredibly important, and it equally applies to bottle and breastfed babies. If the baby cannot latch properly, they will be drinking too much air with the same result as outlined above. There are multiple things that can affect a baby's latch, from the bottle they are using to the position they are held in while fed, the tension in the body, stored trauma, oral difficulties, laryngomalacia (floppy larynx), tongue tie, lip tie, cheek (buccal) ties, poor oral coordination and more. So the answer is to figure out WHAT is causing their poor latch (which is really quick to do when we know what we are looking for) and address this specifically.

3. Food intolerance or allergy

There may be something in your baby’s milk (breast or formula) that your baby’s naturally immature digestive system cannot digest properly. Hence, it ferments in their gut, causing gas and the associated discomfort that brings. This, in turn, can lead to imbalanced feeding patterns, air intake, and other reflux symptoms too. Once again, we must take a few moments to understand the cause first, and then we can take really specific action.


So what can you do about it?

You can spend your days reading blogs about what to do for your baby and trialling things in the hope that something will work.


You can take the time to understand your baby's symptoms, figure it out, and by this evening, have a really solid plan of action of what to do, knowing why you're doing it.

This second way is going to be the fastest and most successful because you are understanding your baby and their reflux, not all babies and general reflux. We need to get specific to help every baby.

I have two amazing resources available to help you do this yourself. The Baby Reflux Lady's Survival Guide is for people on a budget who want to understand what is going on and how to help their baby, and the Reflux Free Baby Workshop is the online course where I walk you through your baby's symptoms to understand what they mean and help you create your specific plan of action.

The online Course also has a lot of additional content to support your baby's journey.


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.

If you're on the fence, start with our Free Symptoms Tracker. Document just how many behaviours and symptoms are directly related to your baby's reflux and how much discomfort you can expect to resolve by addressing the root cause of their reflux. Download it here.


Head to the links below for similar suggested blog titles:


Get your free Reflux & Colic Symptoms Tracker

We will never sell your information, for any reason.