Why Do Babies Spit Up?


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Does your baby often spit up? Are you worried that he is doing so because he’s sick? Spit up is the reflex referred to the backward flow of food from your baby’s stomach to his mouth. It is very common and your baby may continue doing this till he turns a year old. This is often a result of overfeeding or the development of his digestive system.

You should generally not be concerned if your baby is spitting up. You will soon know the difference between a spit up and vomit (the latter is more in quantity). Here are some lesser known facts about spit up in babies:

Facts On Why Do Babies Spit Up:

At around birth, the size of your baby’s tummy can be compared with a small marble ball. Gradually, the size increases. After three days the size could be compared with a ping pong ball, which is still not capable of holding much. Your baby can only consume milk in limited amounts until he is 4 months old. His tummy is still not capable of holding large amounts. Spiting up only get

s worse if you overfeed him. This leads to chances of your child to be a fussy eater.

Here are some instances when your baby spitting up alot:

  • When he inhales too much of air
  • When he eats too much
  • When he burps

Spitting up is not painful, in case you were worried that it could give your baby physical discomfort. In most cases, your baby will not even realize that he has spitted up. You should consider this as a simple part of his growth and development as long he is gaining weight.

[ Read: How To Burp A Newborn Baby ]

Causes Of Spitting Up In Babies:

When your baby consumes food, it passes through the esophagus into his stomach.

  • Once the food reaches his stomach, it mixes with digestive juices and passes through his intestine for further digestion.
  • There is a valve present between the stomach and the esophagus that prevents food from coming back out of his stomach.
  • The valve is yet completely to develop in babies and this causes spitting up.
  • Size of your baby’s stomach is too small, which pushes up food if overfed.
  • Spitting up further decreases when he starts taking solids.

How To Reduce Spitting Up Sessions:

Here are some important pointers that you can keep in mind to ensure your baby does not spit up much.

  • Hold him in an upright position while feeding. Burp him 10 minutes after he has taken his food.
  • The hole in his feeding bottle nipple should not too large; if it is, you may be overfeeding your baby. To ensure this does not happen, you can hold the bottle upright and check the amount of milk that drips out.
  • Once he is done with his food keep him in an upright position. Chances of spitting up increase if he is laying flat on his stomach.
  • Make sure your baby rests after feeding.

Can Spitting Up Affect Your Baby Growth?

Well, there is no need to worry as spitting up is normal and does not interfere with your baby’s well-being.

  • There is nothing to worry as long he is active and gaining weight.
  • Spitting up generally remains at its peak till the age of 4 months. Your baby shall stop spitting when he turns a year old.

When Does Spitting Up Become A Problem?

Here we have discussed certain signs and symptoms that indicate an underlying problem. You need to get in touch with your doctor in the following cases:

  • If you find your baby is not gaining enough weight of if he is vomiting too often.
  • If you find him spitting up things that look like coffee grounds or blood.
  • If he seems to refuse all the feeds you offer.
  • If you find blood in his stools.
  • If he shows signs of difficulty in breathing or other illness.

[ Read: Blood In Baby Stool ]

Dehydration Possibilities:

If your baby shows symptoms of dehydration like decrease in total wet diapers or shows lethargic behavior, you must inform his doctor.

  • The risks of dehydration are higher in case of younger babies.
  • You must replace the fluids he is losing with frequent and small feedings Pedialyte® is sometimes recommended to keep him hydrated.
  • You should be concerned if you find a soft sunken spot on the top of his head.

[ Read: Signs Of Dehydration In Infants ]

Treatment Options:

Treatment shall depend on the factors causing problem for your baby.

  • Your doctor might suggest special feeding techniques.
  • Your doctor may in some cases offer medication for treatment of reflux.

When To Go To The Hospital:

Normally your baby does not need an emergency treatment for spitting up. However, if you see the following symptoms, you should take him to the hospital immediately.

  • In case a baby stops breathing, becomes pale blue and limp while spitting up, he must be rushed to the hospital immediately. In course of normal spitting up a baby might gag or choke, but if he turns blue, he should immediately be taken to the emergency room.
  • See if the spit is turning yellow or brown. These colors shall be a sign of intestinal blockage.
  • In case he behaves differently and appears extremely ill, he should be taken to the hospital immediately.

[ Read: How To Prevent Baby From Choking ]

Medications Prescribed In Serious Conditions:

In case your baby’s doctor confirms gastro esophageal reflex, treatment might include medications and proper feeding techniques. Sometimes medications that are prescribed for gastro esophageal reflex are as follows:

  • Ranitidine (Zantac) prescribed helps neutralizing stomach acids and protects the lining of the esophagus.
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid) or Omeprazole (Prilosec) is prescribed at times that help stimulating his stomach and empty his stomach faster.

Don’t feel disappointed when you see your baby spitting up. As you are now aware of the probable causes behind why do babies spit up, do take care of your baby accordingly. Additionally, you can always share your concern with his doctor.

Moms, do tell us what home care techniques you followed on how to stop baby from spitting up. If you have any suggestions, please do so by commenting below.

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