Happy Spitters – These babies spit up a lot but don’t have any other signs or symptoms. They are growing well and aren’t in any discomfort. They just spit up a lot. (this was my little one – oh man the laundry…)
Silent Reflux – These are babies who don’t spit up but may have pain or other symptoms associated with reflux
‘Typical’ Reflux – These babies tend to spit up and have the symptoms that can be associated with reflux such as pain, trouble gaining weight, difficulty eating, etc.
When it comes to tummy time we often have families ask how they are supposed to do it if their little one has reflux. I’m not going to lie, it definitely adds an additional challenge and consideration.
For the Happy Spitters, as long as they are gaining weight and not in pain, go ahead and do tummy time. It will be a mess and if you are like me you will have burp cloths and blankets/surface coverings everywhere. Laundry will also get done a lot! They do evenutally grow out of it (my guy just had his first spit up free day at 8 months)! You can definitely try all the suggestions of feeding them smaller amounts and letting them stay upright for 30 minutes after eating. Hopefully these work for you, I’ll be honest, not a single one of them worked for me. There was no rhyme or reason to the spitting up!
For babies where reflux is painful and interfering with eating and weight gain, you will have to be more purposeful with your tummy time. It definitely doesn’t mean that you don’t do it. Honestly, if you can get it in, tummy time and the strength they get from it eventually help with the reflux, you just have to persevere. Here are some tips that may help you:
- Use the sweet spot right in between nap and the next feeding
- Wait until after they have been upright for 30 minutes
- Do elevated tummy time on your chest or on a therapy ball (so that their head is higher than their belly)
- Try smaller more frequent feedings (if this is what your doctor recommends)
I know this isn’t fun to work through but hopefully some of these tips are helpful! And, make sure you reach out to your doctor if you have questions.