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5 key tips for helping your baby with reflux sleep better 😴

When GERD affects your baby's sleep (and yours!).

how to help your baby with reflux sleep better

All newborns spit up. The muscles that keep liquid in their little tummies aren't fully developed at birth, so it's totally normal to have a bit of a reversal of fortune at each feeding; and that shouldn't affect sleep. But when your happy spitter becomes an unhappy spitter and your sleep strategies aren't working, it may be time to explore the possibility that your little one is suffering from reflux.

There are two types of reflux. GER (gastroesophageal reflux) is the reflux you've probably heard your mama friends talk about. These are the happy spitter babies—the constant changing of outfits is the most annoying part of this and the best treatment is time. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), on the other hand, is a chronic condition that often needs intervention to prevent damage to babies' esophagi and mouths.

Aside from not gaining enough weight, being fussy after most feedings and having forceful spit-up episodes, babies with GERD have a lot of trouble sleeping. That's because the safest sleep position—lying on their back—can cause painful stomach acid to enter baby's throat and mouth. But since back is still best, even for GER and GERD babies, you'll need to find other ways to minimize their discomfort while sleeping.

Here are five tips to help your little GERD baby sleep better at night:


1. Hold baby upright for 15-30 minutes after each feeding and burp them several times before putting them down.

You don't have to sit with baby—upright can be in a carrier. Just don't make it too tight, as you don't want to press on baby's tummy too much, especially if you're on shirt #5 for the day! You can also walk around while wearing baby.

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Cozy and helpful ways to make bedtime a little easier.

2. Small but frequent feedings.

I know it seems like that's all you do right now but the less liquid at a time in your baby's belly, the easier they can digest it. The more digested, the less spit-up! Check with your doctor about how much your baby should be eating in a day and ask his or her advice about how to divide that amount up into smaller portions.

3. If you're bottle feeding, take a look at the nipple size.

If the nipple hole is too small for baby and they have to work really hard to get the milk, they're taking in a lot of air and that can cause gas pain and result in more spitting up. Ask your doctor what nipple size he or she recommends for your baby's age, given your concerns.

4. If you're planning on doing any sleep training, find some good solutions for controlling the reflux by talking to your doctor.

If your baby is prescribed medication, you should see a difference in 24-48 hours. You can sleep train even if your baby has reflux. There are several, gentle ways to help them (and you) sleep better even while waiting for this stage to pass. Before you start exploring different sleep training methods, get the okay from your doctor.

5. Do not elevate their crib or bassinet. At all. Ever.

Wedges, putting blankets under their heads, having them sleep in a swing or Rock n' Play are all big sleep no-nos. It is so tempting to do one of these for a baby who seems uncomfortable but the risk of something happening is too great. The AAP does not endorse any kind of wedge or other positioners for sleeping.

So many newborns struggle with reflux and, as with a lot of new baby things, the best remedy is time. But if you're worried about the frequency, amount and other symptoms that relate to your baby's spitting up, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Don't be afraid to mention your concerns more than once—reflux can be stubborn. And if you get sent home with a prescription to try, grab the giant size detergent while you're at the store too.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

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Life

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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