Spitting Up in Infants - Reasons & Tips for Prevention

Spitting Up in Babies

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Arti Sharma (Paediatrician)
View more Paediatrician Our Panel of Experts

One of the must-haves, when you are shopping for a baby, is a lot of bibs, and for good reason! Babies spit up ever so often and often end up causing endless worry to new mothers. Read on to learn all you need to know about baby spitting up.

Video: Spitting Up in Babies – Reasons & Tips for Prevention

Causes of Spitting Up in Babies

Psychological or uncomplicated reflux, which is commonly known as spitting up, is very common amongst young babies. Mothers often wonder why do babies spit up? Well! This happens because your baby’s digestive system, which is still developing, may make their stomach’s contents to flow back into the oesophagus or make them spit up. Most babies spit up regularly, and this reaches peek by the time they turn four months of age.

Young babies tend to swallow air along with breast or formula milk. This swallowed air gets trapped inside, with the milk. When this trapped air comes up, some of the milk comes up through the mouth or nose of the baby. Babies also tend to spit up when they overfeed; this may happen when the baby feeds aggressively or when the mother’s breasts are too full. Some babies tend to spit up more than other babies. The spitting bouts may increase when the baby begins crawling, teething or starts having solid foods.

Difference Between Spit Up and Vomit

Spitting up and vomiting are very different from each other. Spitting up is usually seen in younger children (less than one year), but vomiting is more common in older children. Vomiting involves forceful throwing of stomach’s contents, whereas spitting up is a natural flow of the stomach’s contents, usually along with a burp. If you find your baby is distressed after throwing up, then it is a bout of vomiting, as spitting up does not make the baby sick.

Difference Between Spit Up and Vomit

If the Baby is Spitting Up a Lot, Can It Affect His Growth?

Usually, spitting up does not hamper or affect the growth of your baby. If your baby looks comfortable, is gaining weight and eating well, there is no need to worry. The calories lost from normal spitting up do not affect the weight gain or growth of your baby. However, spitting up can be a cause for concern in some cases. If your baby appears sick and is spitting up too often, it is recommended to seek medical advice.

When Will the Baby Stop Spitting Up?

Spitting up is a certainly a messy affair and most mothers wonder when their baby will outgrow it. There may be increased spitting bouts as your baby grows, which may be due to increased feeding. However, you may notice a decrease in spitting up as your baby begins to sit and start eating solid foods. This usually happens at around 6 to 7 months of age. By this time your baby’s stomach muscles become stronger and can hold food inside. However, some babies may spit up till they are one year old or longer than that.

Tips to Reduce Spit Up in Infants

You may try the following tips to reduce spit-up:

1. Do Not Overfeed

Spitting up can be caused due to overfeeding. If you notice your baby spitting up often, you may give less of breast or formula milk.

2. Do Not Shake

Do not shake or jostle the baby much after feeding. Keep the baby steady and in an upright position for some time after feeding.

3. Hold Your Baby in an Upright Position While Feeding

Do not let your baby slouch or curl up during the feeding sessions as it hampers the milk to reach up to the baby’s tummy.

4. Burp Your Baby

Burping is very important after each feed as it helps the air to pass away. You may also help your baby burp in between the feeding sessions.

5. Choose the Correct Nipple for Bottle Feeds

If you are feeding your baby from a bottle, make sure the hole of the nipple is neither too small nor too big. The smaller hole may irritate the baby, and the baby may swallow more air. On the other hand, the bigger hole may lead to gaggling and gulping.

6. Feed Him Before the Baby is Too Hungry

Do not wait for the baby to get too hungry. Hungry babies feed aggressively and swallow more air.

7. Keep Pressure Off the Tummy

Do not put pressure on your baby’s tummy after feeding. Make sure the clothing and diaper aren’t too tight. Do not press your baby’s tummy while burping. Avoid a car trip immediately after feeding.

8. Elevate Your Baby’s Head While Sleeping

If your baby spits up in sleep, you may elevate your baby’s head while sleeping. You may use a foam wedge under the mattress or use some block to elevate one side of the crib. You should not pillow to elevate the head of the baby as it can be extremely unsafe for the baby (using a pillow may cause SIDS).

Tips to reduce spit up

When Can Spitting Up Be a Sign of a Problem?

Normal spitting up in infants is usually not a matter of great concern. However, the following cases of spitting can be a cause of concern or can be a sign of a problem:

  • If your baby spits up blood or green fluid, this can be a sign of a serious problem.
  • If you notice your baby isn’t feeding properly or not gaining enough weight.
  • If your baby cries a lot after feeding sessions, this could be because of severe reflux.
  • If your baby sleeps less than usual and feels uncomfortable, you should seek your doctor’s help.
  • If you notice your baby hiccupping or choking often, or notice bad breath, you should consult your doctor.
  • If your baby often vomits (Vomiting and spitting are very different, and the baby is usually uneasy and cranky after vomiting).
  • If you register signs of dehydration, such as a decrease in the number of wet diapers, get in touch with your doctor.
  • If your baby begins spitting up after six months of age or later.

Consult a doctor if the baby looks sick

Though most cases of a baby spitting up after nursing are extremely common, if you notice any of the signs mentioned above in your baby, it is recommended to seek medical help. Your doctor may suggest treatment based on the symptoms of the problem. You may be advised about the correct feeding technique which may be helpful, and your doctor may prescribe medicines to treat reflux.

Some home remedial measures may help reduce spitting up in babies. However, if you notice any abnormal signs or symptoms, you should get in touch with your doctor.

Also Read: Breastfeeding Your Baby: All You Need To Know To Get Started

Previous article «
Next article »