Is your baby spitting up after every meal? Are you worried whether this is normal? Do you stress over her nutritional intake being affected due to spitting? Spit up in babies is quite normal and this article will give you a better insight.
Spitting is very common in newborn babies and infants. Almost 50% babies spit up right after they are fed. Even though this is quite common and rarely makes a baby uncomfortable, it is also natural for mothers to be concerned.
Spitting is actually part of your baby’s developmental process. It happens because your little one is just learning the process of taking in food and sending it forward into the digestive system. Some babies might spit up only occasionally and others may spit up shortly after every feed. Most of the times this is harmless and not of any concern as long as the baby is happy and growing. However, it is important for you to notice the patterns of spitting and observe if there is something, in particular that causes the spit. Anything unusual needs immediate consultation with your pediatrician.
What causes babies to spit up?
Some of the most common reasons for spit-up in babies can be as follows:
#1. The esophageal muscles are developing
In the initial three months, babies may experience a condition called gastroesophageal reflux or infant reflux. This is usually caused when a muscle that exists between the esophagus and the stomach is not fully developed. This muscle works to hold the content of the stomach in place. Therefore, when it has not matured, stomach contents travel back up causing spitting. Spitting is most common in four-month-olds.
#2. Overfeeding or fast let down
Sometimes you may not realize but you end up feeding your little one more than required. This also causes spitting of excessive intake. Forceful or fast let down can also be one of the reasons that the baby spits up.
#3. Cough, sneezing, or cold
In case the baby is suffering from cold or starts coughing right after you feed him, it may come out in the form of spit.
#4. Uncomfortable sleeping position
While you are breastfeeding your baby, the baby might get in an uncomfortable position resulting in distress that can cause spitting. Lack of sleep also makes the baby fussy and hence causes him to spit.
Also Read: How to Soothe a Crying Baby in Minutes?
Is your baby spitting or vomiting?
You may also be confused whether your baby is spitting or vomiting? One of the easiest ways to identify spitting is by judging the flow of the contents. Spitting has an easy flow and does not cause much distress or discomfort to the baby.
On the other hand, vomiting is forceful and often leaves the baby uneasy. Vomiting is also more in quantity, shoots a little distance away and does not dribble from the baby’s mouth slowly.
What can you do to reduce spit up in babies?
While spitting is completely normal; here are some ways to minimize spitting and ease it are as follows:
- Feed the baby timely and before she gets very hungry.
- Avoid overfeeding, feed in smaller amounts.
- Make sure that you are not feeding too fast and hence the baby is not gulping air along with the food. If you are using a bottle to feed your baby, make sure that the size of the nipple is appropriate and not too large.
- Avoid uncomfortable clothing and tight diapers. These press against the baby’s stomach and constrict it.
- Keep feeding times calm with no distractions so that the baby does not keep gulping in a hurry.
- Keep burping your baby during feedings.
- Hold the baby upright after each feeding for 30 minutes at least.
- Never place the baby on her tummy while sleeping in order to prevent reflux. This can put her at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Always make the baby sleep on her back.
- Do not play vigorously with the baby and avoid too much movement as it may cause reflux.
Also Read: Colic: symptoms, reasons and home remedies to treat the colic in babies
Can spit up in babies affect their growth?
While it is completely normal and is commonly seen in many babies, you must watch out for spitting patterns. If your baby spits too much, it can hinder her growth due to loss of calories every time. As a result, the baby might face difficulty in gaining weight.
Excessive spitting may also be an indication of an underlying condition. You should consider consulting the doctor immediately in the following cases -
- If the baby was not spitting earlier but starts to do so at the age of six months or later.
- If you see blood in the spit or there are ground coffee like pieces in the vomit.
- In case, the baby is vomiting frequently. It indicates the condition known as pyloric stenosis which results from muscle thickening of
- the stomach.
- In case, there is green bile in your baby’s vomit. It can be a sign of the blockage in the baby’s intestines.
- If your baby spits forcefully and refuses feeds frequently.
- If the little one’s stool has traces of blood in it.
- If your baby shows difficulty in breathing after the feeds.
By when does spit up in babies stop?
As the baby starts growing, his muscles develop and become strong. This allows the baby to keep food in the stomach. Usually, the spitting is seen more in the first three-four months and peaks around 2-4 months. However, as your baby grows, you will start noticing how he is adapting. It starts to reduce by the time the baby is six months old and goes away when the baby starts sitting on her own. However, in some cases, spitting may continue until the baby is one year old.
Read More: Is Homeopathy safe for Babies?
Feeding the baby is one of the most important times for you to observe the growth patterns of your baby. If there is something odd that makes you feel concerned, it is completely all right to take opinion from the doctors. However, it is also important to know that all babies have unique growing patterns and they may respond differently to certain things. While it is okay to not get overly concerned by things like these, it is never okay to ignore them.
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