Newborns have a different stomach shape than adults. The newborn's stomach is wide, low, and straight. The muscle that tightens the space between the esophagus and the stomach is also weak, so even a small amount of food in the stomach can make it easier for a baby to vomit, compared to an adult.
When your baby is breastfeeding, they naturally swallows air as well. They have a stomach structure that makes it easy to vomit, but what if you add air pressure to it as well? Breast milk or formula reflux may cause a 1-month-old baby to vomit.
About half of newborns experience regurgitation by 3 months of age. Even up to 6 months of age, children often regurgitate what they ate. Most babies will hiccup after eating or vomit a little milk. If your baby's growth and development curve is going smoothly, don't worry too much.
As they grow older, the bloating will gradually disappear. However, if 1) the baby regularly vomits more than five times a day, 2) the child's growth and development is too slow, a specialist should be consulted.
5 Lifestyle Habits to Reduce Neonatal Reflux
1. Check your breastfeeding position and make sure your nipple is deep in your baby’s mouth.
When breastfeeding, insert the nipple deep down to the areola, and when feeding formula, adjust the bottle to enter your baby’s mouth at an angle. This is to prevent the entry of air as much as possible.
2. After feeding, hold your baby for a while and then try to burp them.
If you try to burp your child right after breastfeeding, it may not turn out well. Stand up and hold your child for a while. Hold the baby for 2-3 minutes and then try burping again. It is better to sweep the child’s back from the bottom up than to just pat the child hard on the back.
3. When your baby sleeps, make sure their head is higher than their hips.
Did your child fall asleep after breastfeeding? Elevating your baby's head above their hips will make digestion more comfortable for your baby because of gravity. If your baby vomits while sleeping, you can prevent the vomit from passing into the airway with this posture.
4. Burp in the middle of feeding.
If your baby is the type to easily regurgitate, burp them in between feedings. If you are breastfeeding, you can burp your child when changing the direction of the milk, adjusting your nipple position, or switching breasts.
So, how do you massage the baby's back? Put your baby's arms on your shoulder and hold them. This will give you a straight line down from their mouth to their esophagus. Will it help with digestion? While holding the baby, stroke their back in a circular motion. It's good if you stroke in the left direction.
If your baby doesn't burp within 3 minutes, you can stop. Even if your baby isn't burping, keeping them upright may have helped with digestion. After 3 minutes, it is better to hold them for a little longer until they seem stable and then lay them down. Do not rock the baby while holding the, as this may encourage reflux in your child.
5. If your baby tends to regurgitate frequently, hold them upright for 20 to 30 minutes.
If your child often has neonatal reflux, hold them upright for 20 to 30 minutes after burping.
Author: Eun-Kyung Beom, Pediatrician
- Baby Sleep Education Expert
- Director of Baby Sleep Research Institute
- Formerly Director of Gwangju Central Children's Hospital