I help many babies with sleep problems who also have reflux. So I’ve been meaning to write this blog, on moving your reflux baby onto solids for quite some time.
Reflux is quite a complex medical condition that affects babies feeding. Most reflux babies have a sluggish gut with delayed emptying and resulting gas problems. Whilst most babies can experience constipation when moving onto solids, this can be an even bigger issue for babies with reflux.
However, once reflux babies start solids their reflux can often miraculously improve. So why is that? Particularly if you give a high ratio of carbohydrates in the solids, this will thicken the stomach contents and reduce the amount of regurgitation. Most paediatricians recommend that babies who have reflux start solids early for this very reason i.e. at exactly 4 months.
It’s recommended by doctors, paediatrician’s and ASCIA (Australian Society of Clinical Immunologists and Allergists) that we start babies on solids at 4-6 months of age to help prevent food allergy.
Some foods are more likely to cause constipation than others. White foods are particularly problematic with constipation as they tend to have refined carbohydrates and lack fibre.
If you need more info on what constipation looks like, have a read at my blog on baby poo:
Foods that are known to be more likely to lead to constipation are …
- White baby rice
- Yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products – Greek yoghurt is worse for constipation than ordinary yoghurt. Also yoghurt isn’t great for baby sleep – see my blog on Yoghurt and baby sleep: https://nurtureparenting.com.au/yoghurt-can-sabotage-baby-sleep/
- Banana’s – especially unripe ones, give them a few days to ripen and they may actually help the gut and avoid constipation
- White pasta
- White bread
- White rice crackers
- Iron enriched baby cereals – iron can be a big cause of constipation
- Red meat
Foods that can make reflux worse
- Fatty foods
- Fried foods
- Stringy foods: seeds, skins, stringy fruits and vegetables
- Acidic foods: citrus, tomatoes, peppers, onions
- Meats with a lot of gristle
- Caffeine: coffee, tea, soft drinks (caffeine increases gastric stomach acid production)
- Carbonated beverages
- High sorbitol fruit juices (prune, pear, and apple)
These are the best foods to help babies with reflux and prevent constipation …
- Pureed pear. Can be given alone or mixed with other foods e.g. baby porridge, pureed pumpkin and sweet potato.
- Porridge oats or baby porridge. Baby porridge has added iron but ordinary oats don’t. Some iron-enriched baby cereals may cause constipation so you may want to consider giving normal porridge oats.
- Brown rice. I’m a big fan of Bobs Red Mill Creamy Rice that you can get from About Life in Rozelle and Bondi Junction.
- Quinoa. This is a protein as well as a carbohydrate. I’ve written more on the benefits of quinoa here: https://nurtureparenting.com.au/quinoa-baby-food-purees/
- Chia seeds. These can be a great superfood and I like to add them to desserts that have banana in, they are high in fibre and omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. I have some great desserts using chia on this blog: https://nurtureparenting.com.au/desserts-that-help-babies-sleep/
Some further reading
- Your baby and reflux
- Early introduction of solids reduces food allergies in babies
- Yoghurt can sabotage baby sleep
- Desserts that help babies and toddlers sleep
- What’s normal for baby poo
- Quinoa and baby food purees