Babies will spit up breast milk as well as formula. Babies spit up after every feed, sometimes at the end of each feeding. They also often spit out milk from their burps. Doctors might use the term “happy spitter” to describe a baby that spits up but is otherwise healthy, comfortable, has no breathing difficulties, and is growing and thriving well.
Although spitting up is a common way in babies, there are ways you can help your baby avoid it. You should also look for signs that indicate that your baby is spitting up and that you need to see a doctor.
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Why Babies Spit Up?
The digestive system of newborns is still developing, so there will be more spitting in the first few months. It is because milk travels down the throat and into the stomach.
A ring of muscles known as the lower esophageal sphincter connects the esophagus to the stomach. The sphincter opens to allow the milk to enter the stomach, and then it closes again. However, this “trap door” won’t be as reliable until it is about six months old when it has become more mature. It can lead to milk backflow, which can result in spit-up.
Apart from this, there are three reasons babies spit up.
- Overeating: Babies have small stomachs and can overheat. A baby who takes too much milk at every feeding can become bloated. The extra milk that his stomach cannot hold will only go one way.
Allergies or sensitivities to certain foods and drinks in your diet can cause your baby’s spit-up.
- Swallowing air during breastfeeding: Babies who drink very fast are also gulping milk. That is especially true for babies with a strong letdown reflex or an ample milk supply.
GERD (A.K.A. Reflux)
Spit-up could be due to gastroesophageal acid reflux disease for babies who aren’t “happy spitters” (GERD). The term “reflux” refers to a condition where the lower oesophagal Sphincter does not tighten immediately after opening. That is because stomach juices or acids may accompany spit-up.
Some babies can experience severe discomfort from reflux. Symptoms of GERD are:
- Other breathing problems: Gagging, choking, or coughing.
- Incontinence and pain
- Very rare: Poor growth from vomiting
To determine if GERD may be the cause, talk to your paediatrician about your baby’s spit-up patterns. If this is the case, medications and other measures may be required.
How to Reduce baby Spit Ups
You can take steps to reduce the frequency or likelihood of your baby spitting up.
Burp your baby
To remove any air from your baby’s belly, burp during and after every feeding. Breastfed babies don’t need to burp after every meal because they swallow less air than bottle-fed. But, if you have a lot of milk or a fast supply, this may not be true. Sometimes babies will spit up when they burp. But it is still a good thing.
Burping your baby helps to release any air that is swallowed during feeding. Your baby will feel more comfortable after a burp. You may find that your baby will be more comfortable if you remove air.
Keep your Feedings Quiet and Calm
While breastfeeding, limit noise, distractions, and bright light. Calmer feedings can result in fewer spit-ups. Do not bounce or engage in active play right away after feeding.
You should feed your baby more often.
If your baby is hungry and you are not quick enough to feed her, she might eat too fast and absorb too much air. You can adjust your feeding schedule to ensure that you still give your baby the recommended amount of milk each day.
Maintain a strong let-down
Your child may not be getting enough milk if you have a strong let-down reflex. To ensure that your baby takes in the milk against gravity, it is a good idea to nurse in a reclined posture. To slow down the flow, you can pump or express milk from your breasts before feeding.
Be Free from Engorgement Before You Eat
Your breasts may be complete if you consume too much milk or if your milk supply is insufficient to meet your baby’s needs. Your breasts can become stuffed and make it hard for your baby’s to latch and seal your nipple correctly. Your baby may take in more air while trying to nurse.
To soften the breasts, you can use a pump to express milk or use a pump before giving your baby. It will allow your child to latch on correctly.
Try Different Positions
You can try multiple positions for breastfeeding to find the best one for your baby. After a feed, keep your baby’s head up for at least 30 seconds.
When should you call the doctor?
Milk usually flows out of your baby’s mouth when he spits it up. Therefore, it is normal for your baby to spit up after each feeding.
Vomiting is a different matter. Vomiting can be forceful and sometimes shoots out of the baby’s mouth. It is usual for babies to vomit occasionally. However, if your baby is vomiting for more than 24 hours or a prolonged period, or if there is blood or green in the vomit, you should contact your paediatrician immediately. That could indicate a severe condition, such as an infection or illness.
You may also be concerned about your baby’s health and need to contact your doctor immediately.
- Appears to be in pain and is not able to cope
- Gains or loses weight
- Does not keep any food down and shows signs of dehydration
- Spits up excessively or too often