As a new mother, you can expect that spit up is a way of life.
Every baby does it so most moms just have some extra baby wipes on hand or deal with spit up as part of their daily wardrobe.
And yes, if your baby is spitting up, that’s normal.
But there comes a point when it’s not healthy.
Here is what to look for and what to do if your baby is spitting up.
Why are Babies Spitting Up?
There are several reasons why babies might be spitting up.
About half of all babies do spit up within their first three months.
This is because a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter, which keeps food contents where they belong, hasn’t fully matured yet.
Another reason is that babies tend to suck down air when they eat. That air then settles beneath the milk.
When the stomach contracts, the milk comes back up and out.
Usually all over your newly cleaned outfit or freshly washed hair.
Is there a difference between spitting up and vomiting?
Actually, there is.
Vomiting resembles a scene from The Exorcist while spit up looks more like your toothless grandmother while trying to eat oatmeal.
In other words, if it looks projectile, it’s probably vomiting. If what came up resembles more of a drool, then your baby is probably spitting up.
If your baby is vomiting, then it’s probably a health concern you should contact your pediatrician about.
When Should You Worry?
Thankfully, most of the time it’s just them spitting up and you can merely clean it up and go on your way.
Sometimes, it’s cause for concern.
Let’s look over when your baby spitting up should mean a trip to the doctor.
- Your baby isn’t gaining weight: If your baby isn’t gaining weight at a regular rate or is actually starting to lose weight, it could be a sign something is wrong.
- Your baby seems to be in pain: If your baby seems to be screaming, fussy or acting as if they are in pain or experiencing serious discomfort, consult with your doctor.
- Your baby’s behavior doesn’t quickly return to normal: In other words, is your baby eating, sleeping, and pooping regularly? If they aren’t, it could be a sign something isn’t right.
- Your baby seems unhappy: While it’s not uncommon for a baby to cry just after a spit up, does your baby continue to cry or do they seem happier after the burp?
- Blood is found in your baby’s stool.
- The spit up is green or a yellow fluid.
- Your baby shows signs of having difficulty breathing.
- Your baby starts showing these signs after they are 6 months old. Spit up normally starts before 3 months.
- Your baby isn’t pooping or peeing normally
How Often Should My Baby Urinate and Have Bowel Movements?
Your baby should be pooping and peeing a certain amount every day and should be doing so several times a day.
A general rule of thumb is urination should occur every 1-3 hours in younger babies and every 4-6 hours in older babies.
Your baby should poop 2-5 times in a 24 hours period in the first 6 weeks. After that, your baby’s pooping routine could fluctuate anywhere from having more to having only one bowel movement per week.
Check with your doctor if there are any sudden changes in your baby’s regular bowel movements.
What Could It be if It Isn’t Normal?
There are several health issues your baby could be struggling with if the spitting up is worsening or they seem to be in pain.
Before you panic, let’s go over them.
- GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux. It’s due to problems with the gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms of GERD:
- Baby frequently vomits
- Baby experiences a persistent cough or wheezing
- Heartburn or possible colicky behavior
- Gas or abdominal pains
- Baby regurgitates or re-swallows their food
- Pyloric Stenosis: Usually appears 3-5 weeks after birth and it’s rare for babies over 3 months old to develop this.
Symptoms of Pyloric Stenosis:
- Baby vomits after eating
- Baby is constantly hungry
- Baby is dehydrated- look to see if there’s less urination in the diapers and if tears are coming out when your baby cries
- Baby is constipated or there’s a change in the stool amount that concerns you
- Baby has difficulty gaining weight
Pyloric stenosis can cause other health problems for your baby so immediately see your pediatrician if you suspect your baby is suffering from this.
- Allergies: Your baby might have an allergy to dairy or wheat you’re unaware of.
Symptoms your baby might have an allergy:
- A rash around your babies anus
If you’re breastfeeding, check what you’re eating and eliminate it.
If you’re using formula, check to see the list of ingredients so you know what you have to eliminate.
- A Nasty Bug: Humans get sick. Even babies.
If they do have a stomach bug, keep feeding them for as long and as often as they want.
If they don’t seem to be getting any better or seem to be in pain, call a doctor.
Your breastmilk is absorbed twice as much as formula, so if you can and choose to, you can opt for breastmilk only when your baby has a stomach bug.
Can I Reduce my Baby Spitting Up?
Luckily, most babies stop spitting up around the 12-month mark.
Just in time to start throwing their food at you so you can rest assured your clothing will continue to be ruined and stained.
However, there are things you can do to reduce spitting up until your baby, and their lower esophageal sphincter grows more mature.
Here are a few ideas to reduce spit up:
- Keep your baby upright: Do so while feeding and then continue to keep your baby upright for 30 minutes after feeding.
- Don’t engage in playtime directly after feeding time: It’s not a wise idea to jostle your baby and the contents of their stomach right after feeding time. Wait at least 30 minutes so your baby’s stomach has time to digest.
- Less food, more often: Try feeding your baby more often but with less food. Overfeeding can cause your baby to spit up. Smaller amounts eaten more times throughout the day will ensure your baby still gets the calories they need without overstuffing themselves.
- Have your baby sleep on its back: This is also recommended because it prevents SIDS. But also, there’s no one alive who would enjoy lying directly on their stomach straight after eating a meal.
- Check your own diet: Take a good look at what you’re eating. After all, until you stop breastfeeding, what you eat, your baby eats. And they might not like or agree with everything you’re eating.
- Trust your instincts!: If your gut keeps telling you something is wrong, even when everyone else tells you differently, trust your gut. Mom’s know.
A smart idea to help you keep track of your diet and your baby’s diet is to start a food diary.
It will help you to determine what, if anything, can be changed to hopefully bring more relief to you and your baby.
And speaking of creating a food diary, it’s vitally important to know exactly what goes into your baby’s formula. That’s why there’s been a huge move towards formulas that offer organic and non-GMO options for you and your baby.
That’s why there’s been a huge move towards formulas that offer organic and non-GMO options for you and your baby.
What About Organic and NON-GMO Formulas?
An organic and non-GMO formula means:
- The formula was produced without the use of most common pesticides
- They’re also produced without most synthetic ingredients
- The food is produced by growers committed to renewals resources
- The growers are also committed to the conservation of soil and water.
- If any milk, meat or eggs are included in the formula, they do not come from animals who were given growth hormones
- Those animals were also not given antibiotics
- None of the food was produced using genetically engineered ingredients
While feeding your child healthy ingredients are important, there are some other benefits to using formula that can help reduce spitting up.
- Nutrition: Let’s say you hate spinach. But your baby needs it. Formula usually contains added vitamins and minerals your diet may be missing.
- Bifidobacterium lactis: This is known to aid in digestion. Some formulas are adding this ingredient. If your baby is suffering from spit up issues, this might help reduce the problem.
- Variety: There are so many brands of formula on the market that you can find the right brand that works best for your baby. Some are even designed to help kids with stomach issues.
- Convenience: While it’s never a convenient time for your baby to start spitting up on you, using a formula can ensure that you can feed your child whenever they are hungry.
Spitting up is a natural fact of life for most mothers. So are messes.
But getting the facts and knowing when and how to take action can help motherhood be a fun adventure.
We’re here to help you get all the facts and find the right products for you and your baby.