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  1. Colic
  2. Constipation
  3. Mastitis
  4. Milk supply
  5. Reflux
  6. Sore nipples
  7. Thrush
  8. Tongue-tie

Reflux and breastfeeding

When your baby brings up milk, or is sick during or after feeding, this is known as reflux.

Reflux is quite common and babies usually grow out of it by the age of 1.

Symptoms of reflux

Symptoms of reflux in babies include:

  • bringing up milk, or being sick during or shortly after feeding
  • coughing or hiccupping when feeding
  • being unsettled during feeding
  • swallowing or gulping after burping or feeding
  • crying and not settling
  • not gaining weight as they're not keeping enough food down

Sometimes babies may have signs of reflux but will not bring up milk or be sick. This is known as silent reflux.

When to seek medical advice

If your baby has difficulty feeding or refuses to feed, keeps vomiting during or after feeding, talk to your pharmacist, GP, or health visitor.

Silent reflux

Silent reflux can be confusing as there are no obvious signs or clues (such as spitting up).

It's when the food travels back up the food pipe but is swallowed rather than spat out, so it's harder to identify.

Helping your baby with reflux

These tips may help reduce reflux for your baby:


  • get advice about your baby's breastfeeding position

  • hold your baby upright during feeding and for as long as possible after feeding

  • burp (or wind) your baby regularly during feeds

  • make sure your baby sleeps flat on their back (they should not sleep on their side or front)


  • do not raise the head of your baby's cot or Moses basket

  • do not change your diet

Causes of baby reflux

The muscle at the bottom of the food pipe acts as a kind of door into the stomach – so when food or milk travels down, the muscle opens allowing the food into the stomach.

However, while this muscle is still developing in the first year, it can open when it should not (usually when your baby's tummy is full). This allows some food and stomach acid to travel back up again.

Acid in the stomach is normal and a necessary part of the digestion process – it helps break down food.

In most babies, reflux is nothing to worry about as long as they are healthy and gaining weight as expected.

When to seek medical advice

If your baby has difficulty feeding or refuses to feed, regularly brings milk back up and seems uncomfortable after a feed, talk to your pharmacist, GP or health visitor.

They'll be able to give you practical advice on how to ease the symptoms and manage it. They may also need to rule out other causes (such as cow's milk allergy).

It might be helpful to keep a record of when your baby feeds, with details of how often and how much your baby brings the food back up, and how often your baby cries or seems distressed. This will help your health visitor or GP decide if your baby needs treatment.

Breastfeeding Friend from Start for Life

The Breastfeeding Friend, a digital tool from Start for Life, has lots of useful information and expert advice to share with you – and because it's a digital tool, you can access it 24/7.

Help and support

For confidential breastfeeding information and support, call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212. Lines are open 9:30am to 9:30pm every day.

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