Unsettled Baby – Ideas from Parents

Have you tried …

  • A baby hammock?
  • A bouncinette or front pack/backpack?
  • Raising the head of baby’s bassinet/cot and changing surface to 30 degrees? Raise the whole cot/bassinet rather than putting something under the mattress. Put feet at the end of the bed or use safe-t-sleep to keep face clear of covers.
  • Baby may also sleep longer if left to sleep as far away from household members/noises as possible. It may even be necessary to pull the curtains and shut the door! If you need to try this, a mobile baby monitor may be a good investment so that you can still hear baby.
  • Rocking baby in his/her pram over a bump? (The metal ridge that goes between rooms that have carpet and vinyl is ideal.)
  • Breastfeeding mums may like to try drinking fennel tea, which could have a calming effect on baby.
  • Other breastfeeding mums find that their baby’s symptoms improve if they avoid eating certain foods (citrus fruit, chocolate, coffee/tea etc.), or dairy products.  See: Food and Reflux.
  • Bottle feeding mums may find that an alternative formula e.g. Hypoallergenic, Goats milk or Soya based may help – see GORD document for guidelines.
  • Bland foods only when introducing solids?
  • Pacifier/dummy like NUK brown rubber teat (this is only an option if LMC and Parents are comfortable with it)? Sucking gives comfort but feeding continuously may exacerbate or encourage more GR episodes so this is where a dummy can be a helpful tool.
  • Using disposable nappies?
  • A rocking chair?
  • Some mothers have found a variety of Complementary Therapies helpful e.g. Colimed drops, Weleda Colic Powder, Aloe Vera Juice, Slippery Elm Powder etc.  (Please ensure all medications, natural or mainstream are prescribed/recommended/approved by a registered practitioner and administered using prescribed instructions.)
  • Long drives in the car, or walks in push chair?
  • The “Colic hold”?
  • Swaddling baby to settle or sleep?  (There are times that babies shouldn’t be swaddled for safety.  With particular relevance to reflux, babies shouldn’t be swaddled if the head of the bed is raised as they are then no longer lying flat.  See: http://www.changeforourchildren.co.nz/safe_start_programme/issues/swaddling for more information)
  • A change of scenery, swimming trip etc.?
  • Some time out for yourself?
  • My idea relates to an unsettled baby without gastric reflux. Our third baby wouldn’t settle easily at night so at the Plunket nurse’s suggestion I would massage her each night after the others were in bed when we could both be relaxed. It didn’t work straight away but after a few nights she started to get the hang of it and by the time a week was up she would show great pleasure at our quiet time of the day together… a massage, a feed and off she’d go at 8 pm instead of 10 or 11.
  • A front pack or baby sling (for some jobs I found a sling better, for others a front pack, so we had both, but front packs that let baby face outwards always seem to be the best)?
  • A bit of ‘white noise’ in the room? Our bub likes it when the dehumidifier is going outside his door!
  • The hairdryer going in the background or a tape recording of the hairdryer going?

© Gastric Reflux Association for the Support of Parents/babies (GRASP) and Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust (GRSNNZ) 2004. Used, edited and added to by GRSNNZ (and parents) with permission.  Updated June 2014.

Page may be printed or reproduced for personal use of families, as long as copyright and Crying Over Spilt Milk‘s URL are included. It may not be copied to other websites or publications without permission and acknowledgement. This information (unedited) was also provided (by GRASP) to health professionals in New Zealand to use ” to continue to support and inform families with babies/children with Gastro-oesophageal Reflux.”

We would love you to add your ideas, but please make sure they are very safe e.g. no front sleeping, nothing that could cause suffocation if you are distracted etc.