How To Tell If Your Baby Has Reflux Symptoms

How do I Know if My Baby has Reflux? What are the Symptoms? Silent reflux or CMPA or Colic


When we turn to a search engine for symptoms of 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. How do you know if your baby has infant reflux? What are the symptoms?

When we look for the cause of the reflux, we can address this specifically and resolve the 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.


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 in engineering and Traditional Chinese Medicine (yes - a unique combination, I know!), and both are focused 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 your 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.


Let's start by getting one thing clear:

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 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, maybe having on you), then there is most likely something you can do to ease it. 

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


Symptoms and behaviours displayed with Reflux, Silent Reflux, Colic and Allergies that we can manage once we identify what is causing them...


1. Feeding

  • Frequent feeds (more than eight milk feeds/day under six 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 the mouth during a feed

  • Milk comes back up through the 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 the 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



  • 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 the shoulder

  • Difficult to get the 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 (any 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 the head

  • Sleeps with head at an extended angle

  • Only happy feeding on one side/position

  • When the 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 the face

  • Benign spots on the body

  • Rash around mouth

  • Flushed / red cheeks

  • Clingy

  • Wants to be in your arms all the time

  • Takes comfort from the closeness of mum

  • Takes comfort from the closeness of dad


How can I help you?

If you think your baby has the symptoms of infant reflux, I am here to help. 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 will 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 will 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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