What is Making my Baby Spit Up?

Latina mother holds newborn baby over her shoulder to burp them

Whether you’re feeding your baby formula or breast milk, they may spit up right afterward. But this is an issue that a lot of infants deal with. When a child is firstborn, their stomach is only about as big as a small marble. As your child continues to grow and develop, this issue should resolve itself. But if you’re wondering, “What is making my baby spit up?” you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll discuss some common causes of baby spit-up. Here at The Breastfeeding Shop, we strive to help new moms care for and feed their babies. We want you to have all the breast-pumping and feeding knowledge that you need.

If your baby is dealing with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GER), he or she may spit up quite often. There is a muscle located between the esophagus and the stomach. It’s supposed to open up to let food pass through when your baby is swallowing. Until this muscle has enough time to develop fully, your baby might spit up. It’s very common for a healthy baby to spit up. According to MedlinePlus, during their first three months, nearly half of babies spit up several times each day. A baby’s stomach can only hold a small amount of milk until they reach four months.  Once your child reaches 12 to 14 months, the baby spit-up issue should resolve itself.

Reflux and baby spit-up usually are not serious problems. If your baby is gaining weight, and he or she isn’t in pain — it’s all a part of normal development. But gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a long-lasting and more serious type of reflux that a smaller percentage of babies experience. Your child might have GERD if they’re unable to feed because of their reflux, or if their spit-up problems go past 12 to 14 months. Other GERD symptoms include pain, discomfort, unusual arching during feeding, choking, gagging, breathing problems, and spitting up green or yellow fluid or a coffee-grounds-like substance. Your baby’s spit-up pattern is something you should discuss with your pediatrician to see if GERD could be involved. Here are some other reasons a baby spits up:

  • Overeating
  • Gulping and swallowing too much air during feedings
  • Allergies or food sensitivities to the foods and drinks in mom’s diet

The Differences between Spit Up and Vomit

With baby spit up, there is an easy flow of the stomach contents coming up. And there could be a burp too. With vomit, the flow is more forceful. The stomach contents will shoot out multiple inches instead of just dribbling out of the mouth. If the baby vomits more than one time, they might have a virus that includes diarrhea and dehydration. If you think your baby is dehydrated, you should consult your baby’s physician right away. Also, if you find blood in the baby’s stool or spit up, contact your pediatrician.

How to Lessen Baby Spit Up

Even if there isn’t an emergency, how can I make the spit-up stop? There are a few things you can do to help decrease baby spit-up. If you want to help a baby spit up less, you can try the following tips:

  • Pump milk before feeding to relieve engorgement
  • Make feeding sessions calm and quiet without distractions
  • Feed the baby less food more often to help avoid overfeeding
  • Hold the baby in an upright position when you feed him or her
  • For 30 minutes, keep the baby upright after the feeding session is over
  • Burp the baby after every one or two ounces is fed
  • Avoid too much activity, bouncing, and movement after a feeding session
  • Put your baby down to sleep on their back
  • Talk to your physician about modifying your diet to possibly eliminate dairy products and/or caffeine

Additionally, if you are feeding your baby from a bottle, you may be able to find a different bottle or bottle nipple that works better for your baby. There are nipples with a slower flow. And there are bottles that decrease the amount of air that’s swallowed by the baby. It may take some experimentation to find the right nipple and bottle for your baby.

Our team at The Breastfeeding Shop hopes that this article was helpful. But if you’re still wondering, “What is making my baby spit up?” you can always consult your pediatrician. And if you think your baby is starting to teeth, check out this post.

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