Baby Spitting Up Curdled Milk: Causes & Treatment

Baby Spitting Up Curdled Milk – Reasons and Treatment

Is your baby spitting up curdled milk after feeding? If you are a newbie parent, seeing your baby spitting up after every feed can make you wonder if your little one is okay. Being a new mommy can be an intimidating experience for most women as every day may bring new parenting challenges for them. There are many issues that may become a cause of concern in daily life, and one of them could be your baby spitting curdled milk! Well, it is very common for babies to spit up; however, if you wish to know why it happens, what you can do to reduce it and many other associated aspects of the topic, well, all this and more are discussed in the following blog!

What Is Baby Spit-Up?

Babies have an underdeveloped digestive system, because of which they may regurgitate some of their stomach contents. Since they primarily feed breast milk or formula milk, when they spit up, it likely looks like a white substance, the nature of which depends on how long after the feed your baby spits. Spitting, unlike vomiting, is not painful and does not require much. Many times, your chubby bubby won’t even notice when they’re doing it.

Now the curdled part. If your baby spits up milk during or sometime after the feed, the milk they regurgitate will likely be smooth in texture. If your baby spits up curdled milk hours after eating, the milk will come out as curdled. The explanation for this is that when the milk gets into the stomach, it mixes with the stomach acid and curdles up. When your baby spits out, the curdled milk comes out.

What Does Curdled Spit-up Look Like?

Your baby’s spit up milk looks just like the breastmilk or formula that your baby feeds. However, the spit up milk may appear less or more curdled based on the time it stays inside your baby’s tummy. This means that if milk comes out or the baby spits up soon as after his feed, the spit up milk may appear just like milk only, however, the milk that stays longer inside the tummy may appear more curdled because it gets mixed up with the stomach acids and appears chunky or curdled. Also, if the baby is only on breastmilk or formula, the curdled spit is likely of whitish hue. However, red spit up could indicate the presence of blood, and green or yellow spit up could indicate the presence of bile or phlegm, and if any such abnormal coloured spitting up is noticed, it should be reported to the doctor!

How Is It Different From Normal Spitting?

If your breastfed baby is spitting up curdled milk, it does not mean that you should hit the panic button at once! You need to know that most babies may spit up curdled milk at least once before they turn three months old. However, you may want to know what is considered a normal scenario in this case and also when should you become concerned! Well, if your baby appears content, does not experience any breathing difficulty, is comfortable, is not losing weight and basically, if your baby feels and looks fine, then you can term your baby as a ‘happy spitter’. However, if your baby is spitting up the entire contents of his stomach on regular basis and as a result is cranky, not gaining weight, and exhibiting other such symptoms, then it could be a cause of concern and usually not considered normal. It will be a good idea to visit your doctor to know about the underlying causes of the same.

What Are the Causes of Spitting up Curdled Milk?

There are a bunch of reasons babies may spit up curdled milk. From digestion issues to acid reflux, just like in adults, it could be anything; hence, it is essential to map the underlying reasons so you can ensure it doesn’t happen again. Here are some reasons for babies or infants spitting up curdled milk:

1. Because of Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is known to be a painful condition in which acid from the stomach travels up the throat. This condition is very common and can lead a baby to throw up curdled milk. This condition can be prevented by feeding the baby in an upright position, keeping a tab on how much to feed in one go, by avoiding certain foods while breastfeeding (citrus foods, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, etc.).

2. Because of Immature Digestive Systems

One of the most common reasons for curdled milk in a baby’s mouth is because of an immature digestive system. However, as babies grow up, their digestion gets better and they stop spitting up. In some cases, babies may spit up because of digestion issues such as lactose intolerance, allergic reaction to formula or cow’s milk, milk protein allergies. You can establish such allergies or intolerance by keeping a tab on symptoms such as diarrhoea. If any such symptoms are registered, you must visit a doctor.

3. Because of Pyloric Stenosis

This is one of the rare conditions that can affect young babies in which the stomach is narrow and it becomes difficult for the food to travel to the intestines. This condition can be one of the reasons for your baby’s unexplained weight loss, spitting up curdled or non-curdled milk, constipation, etc. The treatment of this condition usually requires surgical intervention.

Curdled Spitting-up Vs Curdled Vomiting

You can easily distinguish between curdled spitting up from a baby vomiting curdled milk. Where spitting up is more subtle and is usually followed by a burp. You can usually see it as liquid coming out from the side of your baby’s mouth. However, in comparison to spitting up, vomiting is not only forceful but your baby will throw up several inches away from him.

How to Stop Baby From Spitting Curdled Milk

Though spitting up curdled milk is a common phenomenon in babies, however, here are some tips that can prevent or stop your baby from spitting curdled milk:

  • Make sure you feed your baby in an upright position, as feeding in a curled or slouched position can make your baby throw up.
  • If your breasts are too full, make sure you express some milk to managing the milk flow. If the baby is bottle-fed, you should check the nipple hole to make sure the milk flow is proper and not too much for the baby to handle.
  • Refrain from overfeeding your baby, if your baby refuses to feed, then do not insist on feeding him. Focus on feeding frequently rather than feeding in one go.
  • Check for any extra pressure on your baby’s stomach, which can happen due to tight clothing, tight diapers, babies lying on their tummies for long, etc., to avoid any spitting-up accidents.
  • Try and burp your baby to let go of any trapped air that the baby may have ingested during feeds. If possible, burp your baby in between the feeding sessions too.
  • Make sure that you keep the feeding sessions calmer and quieter for your baby, as when babies get distracted; they may ingest more air, which can make them spit up more.
  • If your little one is formula-fed, try changing it to see if it makes any significant change.
  • You may try experimenting with your own diet. Many mothers have got significant results when they excluded gas-inducing foods or dairy from their own diet.

When Should You Not Get Worried?

Baby spit up a lot, and them spitting up milk is not always a worrying situation. Here are some instances you can note when not to worry when your little one spits up:

  • The spitting is less in volume and in frequency. Like they spit up only a little feed.
  • The spit-up does not come out a couple of feet.
  • Your baby does not have stomach pain
  • Your baby is growing well and gaining weight absolutely fine.
  • Your baby is acting all normal.

When to Call a Doctor

As your baby’s digestive system matures up, the spitting up stops gradually and this may happen anywhere from six to 12 months of age. However, if you notice any of the following things, you should get in touch with your doctor:

  • If your baby isn’t feeding properly.
  • If your baby experiences difficulty in breathing.
  • If your baby isn’t gaining weight.
  • If there are traces of blood in your baby’s poop.
  • If your baby’s spit contains green or yellow fluid.
  • If spit-ups are more like vomiting than regular spit-ups.
  • If your baby has fewer wet diapers in a day than expected.
  • If your baby’s or newborns’ curdled spit up has traces of blood.
  • If you notice your baby crying or being in an irritable state more than usual.
  • If your baby is spitting up curdled formula or breastmilk at a later stage, which is 6 months or older.

There are umpteen reasons that can make your baby spit up curdled milk. Though it is a very normal occurrence in newborns and younger babies, however, if you are concerned about this issue, you should meet your doctor and get your concerns addressed. Your doctor is the best person to help you explain the reason for the same and also offer you the best solution.

Also Read:

Is Drooling Common in Infants?
Infant Spitting up Through the Nose
Is It Normal for Baby to Vomit Mucus?

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.