All babies at some point during a feed will have a spit-up. This often occurs when young babies spit up sometimes, since their digestive systems are immature, making it easier for the stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus (the tube connecting mouth to stomach).
Babies often spit up when they get too much milk too fast. This may happen when baby feeds very quickly or aggressively, or when mom’s breasts are overfull. The amount of spitup typically appears to be much more than it really is. If baby is very distractible (pulling off the breast to look around) or fussy at the breast, he may swallow air and spit up more often. Here are some reason your baby may spit up:
- when they are crawling
- when they are teething
- or when they are starting solid foods
According to research babies:
- Spitting up usually occurs right after baby eats, but it may also occur 1-2 hours after a feeding.
- Half of all 0-3 month old babies spit up at least once per day.
- Spitting up usually peaks at 2-4 months.
- Many babies outgrow spitting up by 7-8 months.
- Most babies have stopped spitting up by 12 months.
If your baby is a ‘Happy Spitter’ –gaining weight well, spitting up without discomfort and content most of the time — spitting up is not a serious issue. This term is used by doctors to describe a baby who spits up, but is generally comfortable, has no breathing problems, and is thriving and growing well.
What are some of the reasons for babies spitting up?
- Breastmilk oversupply or forceful let-down (milk ejection reflex) can cause reflux-like symptoms, and usually can be remedied with simple measures.
- Food sensitivities can cause excessive spitting. The most likely offender is cow’s milk products (in baby’s or mom’s diet). Other things to ask yourself: is baby getting anything other than breastmilk – formula, solids (including cereal), vitamins (fluoride, iron, etc.), medications, herbal preparations? Is mom taking any medications, herbs, vitamins, iron, etc.?
- Swallowing air during feedings: A baby who is drinking very quickly is also gulping air along with the milk. This is especially true if you have a strong let-down reflex or an overabundant milk supply.
- Babies with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) usually spit up a lot (see below).
- Although seldom seen in breastfed babies, regular projectile vomiting in a newborn can be a sign of pyloric stenosis, a stomach problem requiring surgery. It occurs 4 times more often in boys than in girls, and symptoms usually appear between 3 and 5 weeks of age. Newborns who projectile vomit at least once a day should be checked out by their doctor.
Reflux can cause considerable discomfort in some babies.
Symptoms of GERD include:1
- Gagging, choking, coughing, wheezing, or other breathing problems
- Pain and discomfort
- Poor growth due to vomiting (rarer)
Discuss your baby’s spit-up patterns with your pediatrician to figure out if GERD could be the culprit. If so, medication and other measures may be necessary.2
Best Tips s to Reduce Spit-Ups
Always burp baby during and after feeds
Try to burp your baby during and after each feeding to remove air from her belly. Some breastfed babies do not need to burp after every feeding, as they tend to swallow less air than bottle-fed babies. However, if you have an abundant milk supply or a very fast flow of milk, that may not be the case. Sometimes babies spit up because they are burped. Still, this is a worthwhile measure. Mamas believe me when you burp your baby , you are doing wonders for your baby. When your baby is burped, you are helping release the air swallowed during the feeding. After a burp, your baby will be more comfortable. Removing air may also make more room in your baby’s stomach to continue the feeding.
Relieve Engorgement Before Feeding
If you have too much milk or your milk supply has not yet adjusted to your baby’s needs, your breasts might be engorged. This can make your breasts full and hard, making it difficult for your baby to latch properly and get a good seal around your nipple. As a result, your baby will take in air as he tries to nurse.
Use a pump or express some milk before feeding your baby to soften the breast. This will help your baby to latch on properly.
What if my little star does not burp?
If your baby does not burp right away here are some things you can do to help,but keep in mind that not all babies will have air in their tummies after a feed:
- Burp in between feeds. (mid- feed)
- Try a different position with baby to burp
- Use infant message. Little babies will find a nice rubdown super-relaxing. “You will get a lot of different answers on what techniques are best, but the most common are gently pressing down on the babies abdomen and massaging in a clockwise motion, laying the baby flat on their back and holding their knees together then flexing them up toward their tummies, or bicycling the legs,” explains Dr. Oller.
- Gently pat on the left side where the stomach is.
- Sit baby up tall/ straight. Here’s a little modification to the classic burping pose that just might help your little one. “Holding the baby upright on your shoulder or in a sitting position (so that their spine is straight) and firmly massaging upwards along their backs — from belly to neck — is also a great way to encourage a burp to come out,” explains Sauers. Experiment with this upright pose and see if it works for your baby, too.
- Observe for feeding cues to avoid swallowing air.
Experiment With Different Positions
Try different breastfeeding positions to see if some are more comfortable than others for your baby. And after a feeding, try to keep your baby’s head upright and elevated for at least 30 minutes.
Keep Feedings Calm and Quiet
Try to limit distractions, noise, and bright lights while you are breastfeeding. Calmer feedings may lead to fewer spit-ups. Don’t bounce or engage in very active play immediately following a feeding either.
Feed Your Baby More Often
If you wait too long between feedings and your baby is very hungry, she may feed too quickly and take in excess air. Stick with the same recommended quantity of milk over the course of a day, just consider adjusting your feeding schedule. If breastfeeding give when ever baby is ready. If bottle feeding give breast milk if it not 3 hours as yet for formula.
Manage a Strong Let-Down
If you have a forceful let-down reflex, your milk may be flowing too fast for your baby. Try to nurse in a reclined position so that your baby is taking in the milk against gravity. You can also pump or express some milk from your breasts before beginning a feeding to help slow down the flow.
When should I seek medical attention?
When your baby spits up, milk usually comes up with a burp or flows gently out of his mouth. Even if your baby spits up after every feeding, it is not usually a problem.
Vomiting is not the same. Vomiting is forceful and often shoots out of your baby’s mouth. A baby may vomit on occasion, and that’s OK. But if your child is vomiting repeatedly or for longer than 24 hours, and/or if the vomit is green or has blood in it, contact your pediatrician. It could be a sign of illness, infection, or something more serious.1
Other signs that it is time to call your baby’s doctor includes concerns that your baby:2
- Appears to be in pain and is inconsolable
- Loses weight or is not gaining weight
- Not keeping any feedings down and is showing signs of dehydration
- Spits up too much or too often
Mamas and dads out there you see it is not always necessary to become overly alarmed at your baby spitting up. This condition is not always serious. However, it is important for you to be aware of signs and symptoms of real problems. Please note the signs of danger and know when to seek help for your little star. Also understanding why it can occurs . Burping after feeds helps out quit a bit. Try to avoid allowing your baby to cry for prolonged periods. This is where your baby can swallow lots of air which can get trapped in the stomach or intestines. Keep in mind that your baby will not always burp, after a feed. If you have tried all the above methods and nothing works, gently rest baby on back with head turned to one side if asleep. Thank you for stopping by today
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