Gastro-oesophageal reflux is when the contents of the stomach, regurgitate back into the mouth. In infants, the valve at the top of the stomach can be loose, allowing stomach contents to travel back up the oesophagus. Some babies will vomit, others will swallow the milk / food back down. The valve becomes stronger with age and reflux subsides.
Paediatricians will commonly suggest breastfeeding mothers try food eliminations to help their babies symptoms.
Common food eliminations suggested include:
+ dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter)
+ soy (soy milk, soy beans, soy sauce, tofu)
+ citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
+ onion and garlic
Dairy milk for oat, coconut, almond or other plant based milks of choice except soy
Yoghurt for coconut yoghurt
Cheese for cashew cheese as a spread (providing no garlic or lemon in the blend)
Butter for avocado, olive oil, coconut oil or nut butters
Soy milk for coconut, almond, oat or any other plant based milk
Soy beans for chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, butter beans, cannellini beans
Soy sauce for coconut aminos or create asian flavours with sesame oil, toasted seaweed, crushed toasted sesame seeds with salt
Tofu for chickpea/brown rice tempeh or eggs
Marinades where lemon juice is used, and use a small amount of apple cider vinegar to marinate or a dry herb and spice blend
Dressings: create with balsamic or other vinegars and extra virgin olive oil
Juice blends which include lemon or orange, instead create your own e.g carrot beetroot celery ginger and apple
Snacks: eat whole fruit that’s in season and isn’t citrus or strawberries
Swap strawberries for raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries – easy and delicious!
If purchasing frozen berries make sure you choose the individual packets of these NOT the frozen mixed berry blends
If you love jam (fair call!) choose raspberry, blueberry or apricot
Tomatoes seem to be in everything, including most of the post partum meals (curries, lasagne, pie, soups) that people deliver to you.
Swap cheese and tomato toasty for avocado on toast with nutritional yeast
Try pasta with heaps of herbs, extra virgin olive oil, capers, anchovies for flavour. Add protein of choice
Prep ingredients for salads and keep in the fridge to make buddha bowls. Store bought salads will always include on of the ingredients in the off reflux off limit list including tomatoes. Beetroot is a great way to add flavour to salads!
SWAP ONION, GARLIC AND CHILLI
Swap onion and garlic for onion and garlic INFUSED oils when cooking (test slowly for tolerance)
Try fennel in baked dishes where onion may be required
Season and create flavour where onion, garlic and chilli once were with fresh herbs, dried seaweed, nutritional yeast, sesame oil, dried spices.
Be aware of convenient and healthy foods such as hummus / other dips, soups, stews, pasta sauce, marinades, dressings where garlic sneaks in
DAY ON A PLATE
RISE: 2 big glasses of water
BF: Muesli with (non-soy) plant milk, seasonal fruit or chia pudding with coconut milk, vanilla, raspberries
SANITY HIT AKA CAFFEINE : Oat milk coffee or weak black tea (+ honey if needed)
LUNCH : salad sandwich on sourdough with tahini, avocado as spread, beetroot, sprouts, cucumber, smashed chickpeas or butter beans, fresh herbs
SNACKS: banana and peanut butter/ handful nuts, fresh vegetable sticks and crackers with roasted pumpkin blended with herbs and tahini to make dip
DINNER: grilled or pan fried protein of choice with steamed / roasted vegetables and brown rice or potatoes
I am not a paediatrician, I am an accredited nutritionist and mother to a reflux baby frequently attending a paediatrician specialising in reflux.
This guide has been prepared to support parents, especially breast feeding mothers, who have had their baby diagnosed with reflux, who aren’t confident with dietary changes and, naturally, feel overwhelmed by the number of changes that are required as an exhausted mother.
Please use this as a guide only and seek specialist attention with your GP and paediatrician should you have concerns for you and your baby.