Spit-ups and Vomitings in Babies
We parents are so much concerned about our baby’s health and overall well-being that every small thing which happens with our baby is a huge milestone for us. When you see your baby spitting up milk after feeds you may get worried and think that maybe he is not well or that whatever your feeding him is being wasted. Spit-ups are very small in amounts but for parents, it seems very large as babies spit up mostly after every feed. There is no need to worry at all about this because this is a normal development of your baby and this doesn’t affect your baby’s health too. What causes concern is when your baby vomits all the milk you have fed him forcefully.
What is a spit-up and Vomiting?
A spit-up is a smooth flow of stomach contents back to the baby’s mouth through the esophagus after feeding breastmilk or formula milk or in between feedings. This is mostly seen in the first 6 months. Since a baby’s digestive system is not matured yet and still developing, spit-ups are very common at this age. Its texture is like tiny pieces of curd or paneer. Its texture can also be like thick sticky milk. It happens along with burping too after feeds.99 percent of babies go through this problem and it’s completely normal as per doctors around the world.
Vomiting is the forceful spit-up of all the milk that you have fed your baby. It is also called projectile vomiting. This can be scary to you when you see your tiny baby vomit all the milk that was there in his stomach. Vomiting is a warning sign that your baby is not well and there is some illness. He needs pediatric attention as soon as possible if the baby is vomiting continuously.
What causes spit-ups?
In adults and kids, there is a muscle present between the stomach wall and the esophagus tube which prevents the food and liquids from going back to the mouth. In babies, this muscle is not mature enough to handle food, and hence spit-ups happen if the baby’s stomach is full. This can happen after every feed and even after burping the baby. 70 percent of babies come out of this at the age of 6 to 7 months but in some babies, it can last for up to one year. Spit-ups can also happen when you massage your baby or when you place him on his tummy. Gulping down air with breastmilk or formula milk can also cause spit-ups.
What causes Vomiting?
- Cough and Cold.
- Ear infections.
- Infant reflux. This happens in the first few months as your baby’s stomach is still developing and in some babies, the stomach muscles are weak. The muscles at the top of the stomach are too relaxed and hence they can’t handle food and throw it out. As babies grow they become stronger.
- Stomach flu.
- Milk intolerance. This condition is very rare. Babies with this illness are sensitive to breast milk or formula milk. They cannot digest the milk due to the lack of an enzyme that breaks down sugars in the milk. Hence they vomit if they are fed milk or any dairy products.
- Pyloric stenosis. This is also a very rare condition seen in babies. Babies with this disease Vomit all the milk forcefully after every feed because the opening between the stomach and the intestines is too narrow or blocked for the milk to pass on.
Home remedies to stop or lessen spit-ups and Vomiting:-
- After every feed hold your baby in an upright position for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- While feeding the baby keep him in an upright position. It’s very easy for formula-fed babies to be fed in an upright position as you can make them sit. In breastfed babies, you can keep your baby in a slant position in which the baby’s head is a little high than his body.
- Don’t make your baby do any activity after feeds. Let him rest for half an hour after every feed.
- Do not overfeed your baby. Feed the baby in small amounts frequently every 2 to 3 hours.
- Try to burp your baby after every feed. Some babies don’t burp and still digest the food.
- Avoid tight diapers and clothes which put pressure on your baby’s stomach.
- Change the formula milk to another brand and check your baby for easy digestion.
- Don’t wait for the baby to get more hungry and cry. Feed him after every 2 to 3 hours. Because hungry babies forcefully drink the milk with the air which causes gas in their stomachs.
Vomiting In Toddlers:-
Toddlers vomit a lot frequently due to many reasons. They vomit the food if they had it in excess quantity. They can vomit if they eat too fast. They vomit if they don’t chew the food properly. Don’t feed food right after they wake up from an empty stomach. First, give a few sips of water before offering food. Because empty stomach has gas in it, and if you put down food directly in your stomach, it may cause vomiting. Seeing your baby vomit all the food can be alarming to you. But they will be ok after a few minutes. Forceful; vomiting causes the food to come out from the mouth and the nose too. Clean your baby’s nose as soon as he vomits to avoid breathing issues.
The same incident happened to me too. My 22-month-old baby used to vomit when I gave him extra food or if he eats it without chewing. One day I gave him a mango. He was just pushing those 3 long pieces of mango in his mouth. And the next minute, he vomited all of that. The problem was so serious that the vomit blocked his nose. He was not able to breathe through his nose. He was breathing through his mouth. I didn’t see him like that before. Got panicked and started to cry and called my friends for suggestions. They told me to clean his nose. I tried to clean but my baby was not at all allowing me to touch his nose. But still, somehow I managed to clean a little bit. He was crying for more than half an hour and breathing through his mouth. At last, I decided to go to the doctor but by God’s grace, he came back to normal after half an hour.
When to call the doctor?
- If the baby is not gaining weight.
- Spitting up all the milk forcefully.
- Spitting up blood.
- Spitting green or yellow fluid.
- Continuously crying.
- Avoiding feeds repeatedly.
- Feeling uncomfortable.
- Dry lips.
- No tears while crying.
- Blood in stool
- Sleepy and tired.
In my case, as I didn’t get enough breastmilk I used to feed my baby 50 percent breastmilk and 50 percent formula milk. So I didn’t understand how much milk my baby had in the entire day. It happened so many times that when I fed him formula milk he vomited all the milk forcefully and got tensed and irritated just like we adults experience during vomiting. That was a very scary experience for me. At that time I didn’t understand why this is happening. I thought maybe my baby is not well and visited my doctor. He was still healthy. He was playing and demanding feeds and he was completely normal. After such a long time I understood that the forceful vomit of all the milk through his mouth is because his stomach was already full and I was overfeeding him. My doctor told me to offer only breastmilk and stop formula milk. I told her that I am not getting enough breastmilk but she told me you have to offer how much you get and check for an increase in your baby’s weight. If your baby’s weight is increasing continuously then it means you’re producing enough milk for your baby. So I stopped formula milk and hence his vomiting stopped.
When I started giving him only breastmilk I noticed that due to continuous feeding, I produced more milk than before. My baby is 2 years old now and even today whenever I overfeed him with milk or any other food items he vomits all the extra that he ate.