I see many babies with reflux and often they are advised to start weaning early to help improve their symptoms. I personally do not agree with this theory and here’s why:

When a baby has reflux it means that their digestive system is stressed in some way. Although babies can generally have a weak valve this is often not just the cause of reflux.

The digestive system is complex and relies on a number of factors to be healthy. Factors that can cause an imbalance in a baby’s digestive tract include:

  1. A stressful pregnancy
  2. The nutrition status of the mother
  3. A stressful birth i.e. C-section
  4. Antibiotics administered before 6 months
  5. Bottle feeding without initial colostrum
  6. Milk allergy or intolerance
  7. Food intolerance (mothers diet) if breast fed

Click here for an article I wrote about the use of gaviscon and other medications.

So how do you wean a baby with reflux?

In my experience with reflux babies the first and most important factor to rule out is milk allergy or intolerance. You can speak to your GP about this or see someone like myself who specialises in baby nutrition and testing.

Secondly give probiotics. This has been the best way to treat reflux naturally as the friendly bacteria help to strengthen the digestive tract and immune system. This will negate the need for medication in the vast majority of cases.

Probiotics I would recommend for babies are Optibac, Biocare and Proven. These are all good brands and have products in powdered form suitable for young babies. Start these as soon as you can and definitely before starting on solids.

And then when it comes to weaning; wait. Wait until your baby is showing all the usual signs for wanting to start on food (sitting up, reaching out, watching you eat etc). Remember the recommended age is 6 months, give or take a couple of weeks.

Weaning early is just going to stress an already stressed digestive tract and using baby rice is not the way forward to raising healthy children.

I’ve found that a baby-led approach works best as these babies will want to be in control of how much they can manage.

Avoid foods that are particularly hard to digest such as wheat, gluten and dairy foods and start with steamed vegetables, fruits and fish. Keep a food and symptom diary so you can see if any foods are causing a problem. Try plenty of variety from sweet potato, to purple carrots to melon and salmon.

When you are happy that your baby is managing well with these foods then look to add in some dairy such as natural yoghurt – goat’s yoghurt is even better as it’s a lot easier to digest. Add in some oats and again see how your baby is doing.

Keep an eye on their stools, are they constipated or very loose. How is their sleep? Remember that teeth will start to appear around the same time as weaning so sometimes symptoms can be due to teething rather than reflux.

Above all, use your gut instinct. You know your baby better than anyone else and food should be fun for the first few months.

If you need some one to one help with this, please contact me at Julie@julieclarknutrition.co.uk

For FREE weaning help you can join my facebook group here.



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  1. Anna W on May 12, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Julie, thanks for this info.
    We have a refluxy baby and it turns out she has CMP allergy. We are starting weaning but something is flaring up symptoms of reflux. We suspect banana at this stage or maybe rice. (Previous to these just been having green beans, sweet potato, etc). Also to note is that she is only 3.5 weeks into healing after coming into contact with casein accidently through a probiotic supplement I was taking (she is exclusively breastfed except small amounts from starting weaning). Should we be weaning during a flare recovery anyway?

    We stopped probiotics (mainly Optibac then culterelle GG) a while ago as we thought these weren’t helping her much, they made her more regular, but seemed to cause bloating. So we’re not sure what probiotics to try next. The probiotics that were in oil gave her reflux (as do oil based vitamin d supplements). Any ideas on one to try that’s not oil based and free from common allergens? We were looking at Nutri Advanced lactis (https://www.nutriadvanced.co.uk/ultra-bifidus-nd-powder-75g.html) is the corn maltodextrin an issue, would FOS be better or maybe that’s an issue?

    We were going to be referred to dietitian, but with covid no appointments at the moment, just a webinar to watch.
    Any pointers would be helpful thanks. Anna

    • Julie on May 14, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      How old is your baby?

      • Anna W on May 15, 2020 at 6:59 pm

        Hi, she’s six and a bit months / 28 weeks.

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