Reflux Symptoms: How Do I Know If My Baby Has Reflux?

When we google symptoms for reflux there are so many lists that appear.

The trouble with these lists is that they do not make the differentiation that reflux itself, is a symptom.

When we look for the cause of the reflux, that we can address this specifically, and resolve baby's pain. Additionally, when we have read the symptoms properly, taking the action that addresses the underlying cause means that the associated symptoms also disappear.

Win win.

There are a lot of symptoms associated with reflux. And a lot of behaviours.

And this is important too. Behaviours are displayed for a reason and help us understand what is going on.

You already know when your baby is experiencing pain and discomfort. And you must continue to trust yourself on this. Everything you observe is relevant. 

I come from a background of engineering and Traditional Chinese Medicine (yes - a unique combination I know!), and both are focussed on finding the cause of an issue and solving that to resolve the problem for good. This could be in building an aircraft carrier and getting it back on schedule and track, or migraines, or reflux.

The same logic applies.

The list of symptoms that I have gathered from various sources over the last six years of reading everything I could find on reflux, and combining this with my own knowledge is long.

These lists of symptoms of reflux, however, will not and cannot confirm that you baby has or has not got reflux.

And to me, that is almost irrelevant. What is needed is a clear understanding of what is going on for them, how often and with what intensity.

Reflux is a Symptom.

Let me repeat for effect: Reflux is a Symptom. In fact, reflux is a symptom of multiple things, so it is vital that we understand what else is going on so that we figure out the correct cause for each individual child.

This is the list that I use with my private clients to get a deeper understanding of exactly what is going on for their child, so that we can answer the question "What is Causing Your Baby's Reflux?"

Here is my list of all the symptoms that may, or may not be present in a baby with reflux. These symptoms do not necessarily confirm a reflux, silent reflux, colic, CMPA, MSPI or other food intolerance or allergy on their own. We must always look at the patterns and links between symptoms to understand what is going on.

What I say, is that if your baby is experiencing four or more of the symptoms on this list regularly, and if they seem more unsettled than they should be, or if you feel their symptoms are impacting your life (like the incredible amount of laundry you might have to do - and yes, I'm serious about the impact their 'reflux' or not, may be having on you), then there is most likely something you can do to ease it. 

Go here to download my detailed Symptom Tracker to start tracking what is going on for your little one.


Symptoms & Behaviours displayed with Reflux, Silent Reflux, Colic and Allergies that we can mange once we identify what is causing them...

1 Feeding

  • Frequent feeds (more than 8 milk feeds / day under 6 months)

  • Short feeds

  • Falls asleep during a feed

  • Often refuses to feed

  • Pushes breast or bottle away

  • Turns head when trying to feed

  • Tugs at the breast during a feed

  • Milk spills from mouth during a feed

  • Milk comes back up through nose

  • Posseting (bringing up milk then swallowing it again

  • Splutters, coughs, gags or chokes during a feed

  • Gulps when feeding

  • Claws at face or breast when feeding

  • Hits when feeding

  • Bobs on and off the breast during a feed

  • Can hear milk sloshing in baby’s tummy

  • Spits up frequently

  • Makes a clicking sound

  • Appears uncomfortable

  • Appears to be in pain

2 After Feeding

  • Projectile vomit

  • Frequent vomiting

  • Green or yellow vomiting

  • Vomit has blood in it

  • Chokes or blue spells

  • Brings up food after several hours

  • Squirms around or grunts

3 Sleeping

  • Frequent night waking (more than 2 / night from 8 weeks)

  • Sleep Apnoea (stops breathing for a period)

  • Mostly sleeps in someone’s arms or on shoulder

  • Difficult to get baby to sleep

  • Wakes soon after being put down

  • Difficulty staying asleep

  • Needs motion to sleep (car, bouncing, buggy)

4 Respiratory 

  • Coughing

  • Blocked nose

  • Runny nose

  • Difficulty breathing (ant time of the day or night)

  • Face goes blue

  • Cold-like symptoms

  • Frequent sneezing

  • Wheezing

5 Digestive

  • Acidic breath

  • Smelly breath

  • Rumbly tummy

  • Rock hard tummy

  • Tender tummy

  • Swollen tummy

  • Bloated abdomen (any time of the day or night)

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Mucous in poo

  • Blood in poo

  • Green poo

  • Black in poo (except after eating a banana)

  • Lots of wind

  • Painful wind or gas

  • Hiccoughs 

6 Structural Issues

  • Plagiocephaly / Flat spot on head

  • Sleeps with head at extended angle

  • Only happy feeding on one side / position

  • When mouth is wide open it looks off centre 

  • Torticollis / twisting of head and neck 

  • Cannot open mouth really wide comfortably or for long periods of time

7 Other Symptoms

  • Eczema

  • Psoriasis

  • Asthma

  • Hives

  • Benign spots on face

  • Benign spots on body

  • Rash around mouth

  • Flushed / red cheeks

  • Clingy

  • Wants to be in your arms all the time

  • Takes comfort from closeness of mum

  • Takes comfort from closeness of dad

Remember - if you want to know how to interpret all the symptoms your baby is experiencing, check out the Reflux Free Baby online workshop to learn how to decipher them, find out what action to take so your home can be reflux free.

Are you beyond ready to help your baby overcome reflux?! 

Download a FREE symptom tracker now to start your journey to conquering reflux for good 👇

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The best place to start is always to pinpoint the symptoms your baby is experiencing. It's these symptoms which will lead you to the underlying causeaka. the real issue that needs resolving!

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