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Help, my baby keeps spitting up!!

May 22, 2015 2:27 pm Published by

So, why do babies spit up?  There are several reasons – one, they may simply drink more milk than their stomachs can handle.  Two, they may swallow air while drinking which must come back up, often along with milk.  Three, a baby’s digestive system is still immature – the flap of muscle that keeps the stomach contents in the stomach still needs to strengthen and often allows backflow. 

Typically spitting up usually peaks by 4 months and disappears by 12 months.  Often, spitting up does not bother the baby.  It may even come out of the mouth and nose!  It is also not likely to cause choking or coughing even if it happens during sleep.

  • How can I stop spitting up?  There are several things that you can try to minimize the vomiting. 
  • Make sure that feedings are calm, unhurried, and uninterrupted.  A baby who is overly upset will tend to gulp more air. 
  • Use the correct bottle nipple size – when inverted, a few drops should come out and then stop. This will avoid gulping for a rapid flow and sucking hard for a slow flow.
  • Burp frequently and use smaller more frequent feedings.
  • Keep the baby upright during feeds and approximately 20-30 min after the feeding.
  • Elevate one end of the crib mattress by applying blocks or large books under the crib mattress to elevate the mattress approximately 15 degrees.  Make sure to sleep babies on their backs!

When do I need to worry about spitting up?  Call our office with any of these concerns: 

  • Projectile vomiting – forceful recurring vomiting of large amounts
  • Spits up green or yellow fluid
  • Spits up blood or coffee-colored material
  • Resisting feeding or difficult to feed
  • Trouble with gaining weight
  • Blood in the baby’s stool
  • Increasing irritability

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This post was written by Lancaster Pediatrics