Is your breastfed baby spitting up a lot? Spitting up is a normal part of baby’s growth and development regardless of whether baby is being 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 times babies will have learned how to keep their food down by the time they begin sitting up on their own, but 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.
What are the causes of baby spitting up?
- When breastfeeding spitting up may be caused through baby drinking too much foremilk. The milk at the back of the breast is more substantial and baby may sometimes drink too much foremilk, if mom has an oversupply of milk or if mom does not allow baby to finish one breast at a time. Read more on foremilk and hindmilk imbalance.
- Infant acid reflux can cause regurgitation, but usually in larger amounts and more often than normal. Read more on how to know if your baby has infant reflux, what are the GERD symptoms and how to handle acid reflux (acid reflux treatment) in the breastfed baby.
- It is not very common that a breastfed baby is overfed, but many times a bottle fed baby may drink too much. For formula-feeding, find out how much formula you should be giving baby for his age. Read more on overfeeding the breastfed baby.
- Newborns need to be burped quite often, especially when bottle fed because of the fast flowing nipple. If mom has a fast letdown while breastfeeding baby will also need to be burped at least every five minutes to prevent him from swallowing air. Read more on burping baby.
- An overactive letdown can cause baby to gulp while nursing. Read more on how to cope with an overactive letdown reflex. (milk that flows too fast) 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.
- Food sensitivities can be the cause of baby spitting up. Mom might be consuming something that is affecting baby through the breast milk. Also, any extra things that baby might be drinking or eating can affect him.
- If baby has a cold, the mucus that is swallowed can cause baby to spit up more.
- Breastfeeding moms who drink too much caffeine may contribute to baby’s regurgitation. Read more on caffeine and breastfeeding.
Baby spits up a lot? Tips on how to reduce spit up
- Breastfeed baby (or bottle feed baby) in a more upright position. Semi reclined positions are usually quite helpful as they help gravity guide the milk down into baby’s tummy.
- In regard to breastfed babies and spitting up, try breastfeed baby in motion (while walking or rocking if possible) Wearing baby in a sling has also been found to help for acid reflux in babies as well as gas problems.
- Avoid distractions while feeding baby, this keeps him from moving around which causes wind intake. Breastfeeding moms can use nursing necklaces to reduce distractions while breastfeeding too, which will reduce the incidences of baby spitting up.
- Avoid handling baby too roughly after feedings, the movement can also bring the milk to the top.
- Have smaller more frequent feedings instead of long far spaced feedings that might be more difficult to digest.
- Allow baby to breastfeed on one side until it seems that he has finished that side, then offer the other breast. If he becomes full on one breast you can pump a little milk from the other breast just to relieve engorgement. This will keep baby from drinking too much foremilk which causes gas and cramping.
- Avoid tight fitted baby clothing or anything that puts too much pressure on baby’s tummy.
Baby spit up ~ warning signs
- Decrease in amount of wet diapers and dehydration (sunken fontanelle)
- Know the difference between spitting up and baby throwing up. After spitting up 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 go see your pediatrician. Babies who projectile vomit more than once a day may have pyloric stenosis, which is a stomach problem that requires surgery.
- If baby is choking or hiccoughing a lot with frequent burping or has bad breath it’s best to talk to your pediatrician about it.
- If baby seems to be sleeping less due to discomfort you should also seek the advice of your pediatrician.
- If baby cries a lot after feedings it could be a sign of severe baby reflux.
- If baby has difficulty eating, has poor weight gain or refuses to breastfeed you should get help.
- If baby is spitting blood or green liquid. Baby spitting up blood could be a sign of something more serious.
Most of the time baby frequently spitting up is not a health problem, but just a dirty laundry problem. ;-)
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