Baby Spit Up Through Nose – Is It Normal?

Baby Spit Up Through Nose - Is It Normal?

As you embrace motherhood, you realise that raising a child is not an easy task. As the time passes, you will get acquainted with the different problems that your baby might face. His cries will be different, his poop colour will change, and he may even vomit occasionally. As you start coming to terms with all of this, a new problem of spitting up of milk may leave you worried. Babies spit up milk generally after burping, but sometimes you may observe your baby spit up through the nose. Is this a serious condition and should you worry about it? Let’s find out.

Is It Normal for an Infant to Spit Up Through the Nose

For a newborn baby, spitting up is a common activity since the substance that comes up is usually nothing but the reflux. Most babies do not know how to feed properly and they may take in a lot of air along with the milk. Hence, when you try to burp the baby, a little milk also gets thrown up with it.

Since this activity of spitting up is based on reflex, the baby has barely any control over how fast and from where the spit up will appear. The throat and the nose are connected internally within the mouth, somewhere closer to the roof. Therefore, if any spit up emerges quickly, it could enter the nose from the connection and come outside.

Difference Between Spit Up and Vomit

Most parents also notice that if their baby tends to vomit, there are signs of the vomit appearing through the nose as well. This leads to confusion regarding the difference in understanding vomit and spitting up.

The cardinal rule in this regard is to look at your baby. Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of the food. The stomach muscles contract and forcefully push the food outside. This may irritate your baby and he might cry when it happens. On the other hand, spitting up is reflexive. It happens on its own and once the baby spits up, he will feel more relaxed and might even doze off once he’s done.

Why Do Babies Spit Up Through Their Nose?

One major reason for spitting up is the presence of excess milk, but there are a few other aspects too why the reflex might be triggered.

1. Presence of Various Distractions

Improper feeding remains the primary cause for the presence of spitting up. This usually happens if the baby gets distracted by something else present in the same room where he’s feeding. This diverts his attention from drinking the milk, which might result in him swallowing a lot of milk in a single go and choking on it, causing it to come out of the nose accidentally.

2. Swallowing Air with Milk

This is one of the common reasons for milk or formula showing up in your little one’s nose. Sometimes, babies tend to feed in a hurried manner if they are too hungry, resulting in taking in the air along with the milk in their body. So, later the air tries to escape out and it also pulls some milk with it, which might show up in the mouth or even the nose.

A baby sneezes

3. Spit Up Combined With Coughing or Sneezing

Babies rarely have a proper control over their body parts and other reflexive activities. At times, the spit up may emerge up the throat and all of a sudden, the baby might start hiccupping or coughing or even sneeze. All these aspects open up the nasal cavity causing the milk to emerge out of the nose instead.

4. Immature Stomach Valve

The oesophagus and the stomach are connected together with a valve present in between. In babies, this is still developing, which is why it lacks the strength to hold back any excess food. Therefore, when a baby drinks milk in large quantities, the excess milk could easily rise back up and emerge out from the nose.

How Does Spitting Up Through the Nose Affect a Baby?

Most of the times, the quantity of spit up is very minimal. And even if it emerges from the nose, there’s no reason to worry since it is simply milk or formula. However, if the quantity seems a lot more than usual, then there are chances your baby isn’t getting as much nourishment as he should.

How to Reduce Your Baby’s Spit-Ups

Taking appropriate steps to reduce the frequency of spitting up in your child is not a difficult task. It can be attained in a bunch of ways.

1. Watch His Sleeping Position

Spitting up the milk could even cause the baby to choke on it at times. The chances of the same can be reduced by letting him sleep on his back, which also reduces the tendency of the spit up to emerge reflexively.

A baby sleeping

2. Refrain from Using Tight Clothes

Wearing any tight clothes or putting on a diaper right after you are done feeding the baby could put undue pressure on his one’s stomach unnecessarily. So, immediately after feeding him, don’t make him wear tight clothes. Let him simply have a blanket or use a nappy for some time.

3. Burp After Feeding

Babies cannot burp by themselves when they are young. They lack the muscle control needed to burp. By ensuring to burp your baby, you reduce the chances of spit ups emerging later on.

A mother tries to burp her baby

4. Maintain an Upright Position

Try your best to keep your baby upright while you are feeding him or after you are done with it. This allows the milk to enter the stomach easily and reduces traces present in the tract.

5. Create a Distraction-free Environment

Make sure there are is no loud music or any activities going around your child when he’s feeding. Maintain a peaceful atmosphere and he will feed properly.

Mom breastfeeds her baby

6. Feed on Time

Avoid delaying the scheduled feeds of your baby. Too many delays could make him drink the milk hurriedly and result in spit ups.

7. Never Overdo the Feeding

Trust your baby’s decision when he is feeding. If he pulls away earlier than usual, don’t force him to drink more milk.

8. Use a Proper Nipple

For bottle-fed babies, choose a nipple that has a small hole. A larger hole could deliver more milk than needed, and cause him to spit up.

When Do Infants Stop Spitting Up

By the time your baby completes 24 weeks or learns to sit up straight, the frequency of spitting up will start reducing by itself.

When to Consult a Doctor

Spitting up via nose is not a problem as such. But you may need to contact your doctor if:

  • Your baby keeps spitting up even as he’s approaching a year old mark.
  • Your child tends to choke or cough when he spits up.
  • The spitting up through the nose happens regularly.
  • The spit up contains weird colours or even blood.
  • Your child spits up a lot and isn’t gaining weight properly.
  • Your baby cannot suck or swallow milk properly.
  • Your little one starts crying each time after spitting up.

Seeing a baby spit up milk through the nose could be bothersome. However, there is no need to fret about it as most of the times, this condition fades away with time. Make sure you burp your child after every feed and follow the right tips to reduce the spit up. Very soon, he will be able to keep his food down and he will be a healthy child.

Also Read: Benefits and Drawbacks of Cup Feeding