Reflux and the Breastfed Baby

In the past few years I have been seeing a lot of babies diagnosed with reflux, otherwise known as, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux (GER). In some cases, overactive milk supply or let-down is misdiagnosed and mistaken for GER.

Strong milk let-down and good milk supply and GER

In many of the cases I have seen, the breastfeeding moms have a good milk supply and a strong let-down. In this case, it often helps to try expressing your milk for a few minutes before nursing your baby. You can try expressing until after the first strong let-down and then your milk flow should slow down and this may be helpful to your baby.


Positioning is very important when breastfeeding a baby who suffers from GER and can help your baby to feel more comfortable.

When holding your baby and while nursing, hold your baby in an upright position so that gravity can help keep the milk from coming back up. Some mothers find that breastfeeding in a sling or a front-pouch baby carrier or while standing or walking helps.

Other positions that may work for you and your baby are nursing while lying down.

Try nursing stomach-to-stomach while you recline or in the side-by-side position with your baby propped up on your arm.You are helping your baby by breastfeeding from one side per feed.

Breastmilk is a natural antacid

Remember that your breastmilk works as a natural antacid and is actually soothing but if your baby overeats and gets too full the reflux symptoms can get worse. Feeding from a less full breast provides a slower flow and supplies your baby with high-fat milk which helps him to gain weight and feel less pain.

When your baby wants to nurse often it helps you build a loving and lasting bond! I believe that this strong bond will help get you both through this difficult time. In most cases GER does improve with time.

Reflux baby and benefits of breastfeeding

Common signs of GER

problems swallowing

Recurrent burping or hiccuping

Gagging or choking

Frequent red or sore throats

Poor sleep patterns

Sudden or inconsolable crying

Severe pain and arching during feeding

Spitting up or vomiting and vomiting hours after eating

Food refusal or constant eating/drinking

Slow weight gain

Frequent ear infections and respiratory problems

Medical Intervention

In some cases of GER, medical intervention is needed. Your doctor may suggest medical treatment to control the symptoms.