If your baby is showing signs of reflux, a common newborn digestive problem, here's how to help.

By Linda Diproperzio

Breastfeed, if possible. Breastfeeding is best for a baby with reflux because it's more hypoallergenic and is digested twice as fast as formula. If breastfeeding isn't possible, talk to your doctor about which formula is best for your baby. Sometimes switching to a hypoallergenic or lactose-free option can help relieve or even get rid of reflux.

Thicken up. Some pediatricians recommend adding some rice cereal to baby's formula to make it easier to digest, as well as slowing down baby's intake. Look for formulas that are easy to digest or already have the rice added.

Sit baby upright. Keeping your baby in a sitting position during feedings and for at least 20 minutes afterward can help relieve some of the discomfort associated with reflux.

Give frequent but small feedings. This will be easier on baby's stomach and also decrease reflux because there is less to regurgitate. Some babies with reflux naturally prefer to eat this way; others get cranky if they don't get their full feeding right away. After a few days, though, baby should adjust to this new schedule, so try to stick with it.

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Burp often. You might want to stop every two to three ounces to burp Baby, to release gas and relieve the symptoms of reflux.

Delay playtime after mealtime. Avoid jostling or bouncing Baby right after a feeding -- all that movement increases the likelihood of spitting up or vomiting.

Sleep at an incline. Prop up the head of Baby's mattress (you can tuck some pillows underneath for a slight incline) when she sleeps; this can help relieve some of the discomfort, especially when Baby is being fed right before bedtime.

Avoid tight diapers and clothing. This can put added pressure on Baby's tummy and make him especially irritable.

Think about medication. If your baby's reflux isn't improving -- or is actually getting worse -- talk to your pediatrician about a prescription medication (such as Zantac) to relieve the symptoms.



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