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Monday 25 September 2017

6 products to help make infant reflux more manageable

Reflux is not a new experience for us. When my first born, Arthur, was a baby he had colic and reflux so extreme it left us in a place of sleep deprived shock and really impacted on our first few months of parenting. I wrote a blog post at the time 'Dealing with Colic and Reflux in babies' which documented our experience and everything that we tried to help deal with the situation - including medication and plans of action. I still refer back to the post now that Charlotte also has reflux, and if you are in the same situation I would urge you to have a look at the post just in case there is some advice in there which may be of help.

This time around I am more accepting of the reflux, and whilst I am exploring alternative reasons for it such as over supply and hyperlactation (more on this shortly), I am focusing on what I can do to cope better with the reflux and make the next few months as easy as they can be. There are a number of products I really couldn't do without at the moment....

Snuggle Up U shaped pregnancy pillow

My twin sister trying out the U shaped pillow whilst pregnant

This U shaped pregnancy pillow from Snuggle Up has been an absolute godsend during the night feeds and whilst holding Charlotte upright after her feeds. It keeps me supported whilst I am sat up feeding and winding her and gives my arms some extra help whilst holding her on my chest. It also gives me a little extra peace of mind that if I did nod off during one of the many hours I seem to spend holding her upright, then I have a little safety net surrounding me and helping to keep me propped up and in position. I also love to turn this one upside down and have the U shaped end under my feet to raise my legs a little - especially after all the post pregnancy swelling and water retention!

  Granted, its pretty big so unless you are sleeping alone, have an accommodating partner or a large bed it could be a tight squeeze (which sort of sums up pregnancy really doesn't it??!). Thankfully we have a super king bed (came in handy when we realised that Arthur would insist on joining us most nights) and so there is plenty of room for all of us!

This pillow comes with a babysoft pillowcase (and for this reason I almost lost it to Arthur who has a bit of an obsession with soft cushions!) has an anti allergenic filling and is great for alleviating back and muscle pain - not just for during pregnancy. I struggled badly with PGP whilst pregnant and this pillow really helps to support my back and pelvis whilst I'm sleeping...as well as those pesky damaged tummy muscles due to diastasis rectii. 

The pillow also makes a fab little seat to keep your brood comfy whilst you get ready in the morning!

The only downside to this pillow is that it's not really convenient for travelling with...unless you have a huge car of course! I'm already wondering how I will manage to make it through the night feeds and hours of reflux when we go and stay elsewhere...I'm pretty sure I couldn't sleep without it now if I'm honest!

Breastmilk Catchers for over supply/hyperlactation

Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of reflux can actually be due to over supply, hyperlactation and a forceful let down in breastfeeding mothers. If you suffer from an overactive let down, the flow may be too forceful for your baby to manage which causes them to swallow air. They will also consume too much watery foremilk in proportion to hindmilk which can have a laxative effect resulting in frequent and explosive nappies, and a tummy ache from taking the foremilk too quickly alongside the swallowed air. 

One way to try and manage the over supply and too much foremilk is to 'block feed' your baby so that you undertake 2 or 3 feeds in a row on the same side before swapping to the other side.

These breastmilk catchers have been really helpful for me as they catch the excess foremilk which is produced during a let down. This means that I can 'catch' and dispose of the excess during a nursing session. One will be worn in the opposite side, and the other can be placed inside the bra after the let down starts before re-attaching your baby. If you suffer from engorgement due to over supply, placing these inside your bra whilst you aren't nursing can cause a gentle pressure and allow some of the excess milk to drain away.

If you want to keep and store the excess just make sure to sterilise the breast milk catchers before use and put the milk in the fridge or freezer straight away.

These particular breast milk catchers also come with an optional vented cover to help sore nipples to heal by allowing air to circulate and keeping them away from clothing.

You can purchase the Philips AVENT breast milk catchers from Amazon here (al): 

Wedgehog Reflux wedge

An easier and safer alternative to raising your cot, crib or moses basket by placing books underneath the feet at one end. The Wedgehog wedge raises the angle of the mattress by 18 degrees to helkp combat reflux and congestion and comes in a number of different shapes and sizes to fit your chosen sleeping product. 

The foam is babysafe and complies with all British and EU safety standards. 

Alternative wedge pillow here

In the first few weeks we had Charlotte in our bed inside a Sleepyhead pillow and we placed the Wedgehog underneath to help raise her up.


Summer Infant - By Your Bed Sleeper with incline

We have recently undertaken a full review and video demonstration of this product which you can view here: Summer Infant By Your Bed Sleeper - Assembly, Demonstration, Review if you would like to learn more about the features of this product in detail and see how it works.

The Summer Infant By Your Bed sleeper is the only bedside crib with an optional incline to help with reflux in babies by elevating them enough to help ease digestion. You can view the dimensions and purchase the bedside sleeper on the Amazon link below(al): 

Dr Brown's PreVent Soother

I was always a little weary of using dummies, but in the case of reflux, the sucking can help neutralise tummy acid, as well as calming down a crying baby who will doubtless take in and swallow air when they are upset which can lead to more wind and more tummy pain. 

The Dr Brown's PreVent soother is an orthodontic dummy with an ultra thin stem, a suction-free air channel and rather than a 'bulb' shaped teet it is a flatter shaped which curves to the palette of the mouth. The dummy was designed by a pediatric Dentist to help prevent dental issues and palatial pressure. This means that if you are worried about dental issues such as cross bites or how using a dummy may affect your child's speech you can rest a little easier with this particular design. 

We used one of these soothers with Arthur when his colic and reflux was at its worst in order to help calm him down. There have been no speech and language issues or dental issues for Arthur. Worth noting though that we did only use dummies for nap time and sleep time and we have always asked him to take it out of his mouth before speaking.

Liberty slings stretchy sling:

I found this sling to be affordable and just as good as other brands I have tried on during NCT classes. I bought two of these when Arthur was a baby and I am still using them now for Charlotte.

If your baby has reflux, a stretchy sling which allows you to keep your baby close and in an upright position is an absolute must-have. I genuinely don't know what I would do without mine, especially as I now have a toddler to attend to at the same time.

Charlotte requires upright winding for at least 40 mins after each feed in order to help with her reflux. Holding a baby without the help of a sling for this amount of time can  really take its toll on your back and doesn't allow you to get on with any other jobs at the same time. Using a sling like this takes the pressure off my back and means I can still do things such as prepare Arthur's lunch, or go to the toilet whilst Charlotte is comfortable.

The sling also helps to calm a restless, upset baby due to the closeness and potential for skin to skin. The motion whilst you walk or move around is very similar to when your baby was in the womb which can have a real calming effect.

These slings also come in different lengths - I've just bought a super long version for my twin sister who has just given birth to twin girls....yes, twins can be carried in a sling too!!

I hope you found this blog post helpful, and hopefully there are some recommendations in here which might work for you. I'd love to know if you have any recommendations yourself of products which you can't live without?

Disclosure: Some of these items were sent in return for an honest review. The amazon links are affiliate links which, although wont cost you any more, may earn me some pennies from the sale.

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