Is My Baby Spitting up a Cause for Concern?

Reflux Jan 05, 2021

Is your breastfed baby spitting up a lot? Spitting up, is a normal part of any baby’s growth and development, regardless of whether a baby is breastfed or formula fed.

Some babies will spit-up only a small blob of milk, while others seem to spit up 30ml or more at one time.

Spitting up is usually worse between two to four months of age. Most babies will have learned how to keep their food down, by the time they begin sitting up on their own. Some babies take a whole year before they stop spitting up, it all depends on the individual baby.

Frequent vomiting in children over the age of one and a half is not normal; they should be taken to the doctor for a check-up.

The Causes Of Baby Spitting Up

What causes a baby to spit up?

  • When breastfeeding, spitting up may be due to your baby drinking too much foremilk. More on foremilk and hindmilk imbalance.
  • Acid reflux can cause regurgitation, but usually in larger amounts and more often than normal.
  • A bottle fed baby may drink too much. For formula-feeding, find out how much formula you should be giving your baby for his/her age. Learn more about whether you can overfeed the breastfed baby.
  • Newborns need to be burped quite often, especially when bottle fed because of the fast flowing nipple. If the mother has a fast letdown, her baby will need to be burped at least every five minutes while breastfeeding; this is to prevent him/her from swallowing air. If your baby is bottle fed and is spitting up formula, you can always buy a teat that has a smaller hole or fewer holes, to decrease the flow of the milk.
  • Fussy babies will usually swallow more air than others. More about how to calm a baby for breastfeeding.
  • Spitting up in babies usually increases during teething times, developmental periods like growth spurts and when introducing solids.
  • Food sensitivities may cause some spitting up. A mother might be consuming something that is affecting her baby via the breast milk. Also, any foods or drinks given directly to a baby can affect them.
  • If your baby has a cold, the mucus that is swallowed can cause your baby to spit up more.
  • Lactating mothers who drink too much caffeine may be contributing to the problem.

How To Reduce Spit Up

Baby spits up a lot? Tips on how to reduce spit up

  • Breastfeed your baby, in a more upright position. Semi-reclined positions are quite helpful, as they help gravity guide the milk down into the baby’s tummy.
  • Try to breastfeed your baby in motion (while walking or rocking, if possible) Wearing your baby in a sling, has also been found to help reduce gas and acid reflux symptoms in babies.
  • Avoid distractions while feeding your baby, this keeps him/her from moving around, which causes wind intake. Mothers can use nursing necklaces to reduce distractions while breastfeeding, which will reduce the incidences of spitting up.
  • Avoid handling your baby too roughly after feedings; the movement might cause the milk to surface.
  • Have smaller, more frequent feedings, instead of long, far spaced feedings that are more difficult to digest.
  • Avoid tight fitted baby clothing or anything that puts too much pressure on your baby’s tummy.
1 Month Old Baby, baby spitting up, cute baby
Photo by Jenean Newcomb / Unsplash

Warning Signs

  • A decrease in the number of wet diapers accompanied with dehydration signs, such as a sunken fontanelle. More about required wet and soiled diapers for different ages.
  • Know the difference between spitting up and throwing up. After spitting up, your baby should still seem happy, but vomiting will always cause discomfort. Infant vomiting may occur from time to time, maybe because of a larger air bubble, but if your baby is vomiting more than usual and projectile vomiting, you should visit your pediatrician. Babies who projectile vomit more than once a day may have pyloric stenosis, which is a stomach problem that requires surgery.
  • If your baby is choking or hiccoughing a lot, with frequent burping and has bad breath, it is best to talk to your pediatrician about it.
  • If your baby seems to be sleeping less, due to discomfort, you should also seek the advice of your pediatrician.
  • If your little one cries a lot after feedings, it could be a sign of severe reflux.
  • If your baby has difficulty eating, has poor weight gain, or refuses to breastfeed, you should get help.
  • If Baby is spitting blood or green liquid, it could be a sign of something much more serious.

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Tracy Behr

A homeschooling mother of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural!