Spitting up in babies: What’s normal, what’s not

As a new mom, it can be so scary after feeding your baby breast milk or formula only to watch him or her spit up what seems like all of it. Is this normal? The answer is yes!

Spitting up is very common in babies – did you know that approximately 50% of babies under 3 months have experienced spitting up? This is because a muscle between the esophagus and stomach (called lower esophageal sphincter) that keeps stomach contents where they belong is still developing.

The difference between spitting up and vomiting is – spit up is easy flow of stomach contents mostly after feeding where as vomiting is forceful rather than slow dribbling.

Normal spitting up doesn’t interfere with a baby’s well-being. As long as your baby seems comfortable and is eating well and gaining weight, there’s little cause for concern. If your baby is gaining weight, then he or she isn’t being harmed by the calories lost through spitting up.

Rest-assured, most babies stop spitting up by age 12 months.

Below I’ve listed some of the ways to reduce spitting up in babies.

Feed your baby in a upright position

After each feeding place your baby in an upright position for 30 minutes. Avoid immediate active play or use of an infant swing.

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Avoid overfeeding

Feeding your baby smaller frequent meals might help.

Burp your baby

Frequent burps during and after each feeding can keep air from building up in your baby’s stomach.

Put baby to sleep on his or her back

To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), it’s important to place your baby to sleep on his or her back. Placing a baby to sleep on his or her tummy to prevent spitting up isn’t recommended.

Experiment with your own diet

If you’re breastfeeding, your baby’s doctor might suggest that you eliminate dairy products or certain other foods from your diet.

Certain signs and symptoms may indicate something more serious than spitting up.

Contact your baby’s doctor if your baby:

Isn’t gaining weight

Spits up forcefully

Spits up green or yellow fluid

Spits up blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds

Refuses feedings repeatedly

Has blood in his or her stool

Has difficulty breathing or other signs of illness

Begins spitting up at age 6 months or older

Cries for more than three hours a day and is more irritable than normal

Has fewer wet diapers than usual

Source: Mayo Clinic

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