What to Do When Your Baby Spits Milk?

What to Do When Your Baby Spits Milk

Has your toddler ever thrown up the milk they took in? Have you seen milk dribbling down their chin?

How soon should you feed them again?

These are good questions and asked by every single parent. Every baby throws up milk; it is common and can happen for various reasons. Sometimes fussy babies make it hard for parents to feed them, and they end up throwing up milk. Let us have a detailed look at the topic.

Are the Causes for Baby Vomit And Spit-Up the Same?

The two things are entirely different from each other and can have different causes. Babies under the age of 1 year are known to spit up milk after feeding. It can be intentional by the baby when they are fussy or have been crying for a while. Sometimes it is a flow of milk that trickles down their mouth, along with saliva. This often happens after babies take a burp.

Spit-up is completely normal in healthy babies and usually, nothing to be worried about. Babies under three months have a type of acid reflux called infant reflux. It causes babies to spit milk when they have a full stomach and have been over-fed. Avoid overfeeding your infant.

Vomiting is different than spitting up. It is forcefully taking out milk when the muscles around the stomach are squeezed. While spitting up happens due to infant reflux, vomiting can be triggered by some things such as:

  • Bowel irritation.
  • Some viral or bacterial infection.
  • Fever or pain.
  • Medicine.
  • Allergens.
  • Motion sickness.
  • Crying a lot, being upset, or stressed.
  • Milk intolerance.

When Should i Feed My Baby After It Has Vomited?

It is a scary prospect, seeing your child throw up. You might be wondering if you should feed them again. It is vital here to note that vomiting can cause dehydration and make your baby tired. The best way is to give your baby milk and see if they are hungry, then go right ahead. If you are unsure, start by giving a small quantity and see if they throw up.

If your child is around six months old and is not accepting milk, give them some water from a bottle or a spoon. This way, they will not get dehydrated. Wait a while before you give them milk again.

When Not to Feed Your Baby After Vomiting?

Although it depends on whether your baby wants milk or not, sometimes it would be wise to stop. If your baby has a fever or any other illness, let the medicine do its job first so that your child will be soothed and calmer. The medicine should always be prescribed by your doctor and pediatrician. Feeding too soon after an intake of medicine can cause your baby to throw up both food and medicine.

Motion sickness is a common factor for vomiting. Some babies are most sensitive to it, while others are tolerant. If your baby vomits due to motion sickness, it is better not to feed them for a while.

Should I Call My Baby’s Pediatrician?

Vomiting is the body’s natural way of purging itself of unwanted food, toxins, or when it is sick. While worrying, it usually goes away by itself and does not require a call or a visit to the doctor. However, circumstances vary from child to child. If your gut instinct tells you something is wrong, it would be best to call the doctor and make sure things are well.

If your baby has frequently been vomiting for 12 hours or more, you need immediate medical help. It can also cause severe dehydration very quickly.

Suppose your baby is unable to take in any kind of food or liquid and is unwell. In that case, that calls for a visit to the pediatrician. Some signs can include:

  • Pain and discomfort.
  • Continuous crying.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Sleeping too much.
  • Refusing to take milk or water.
  • Dry lips and mouth.
  • Blood in vomit.
  • Lethargic behavior or lack of response.
  • Blood in bowel movements.

How to Make Sure My Baby Does Not Vomit While Feeding?

As we said before, vomiting is a natural process. You do not have much control over when it happens or how much. If you are the type of parent who worries all the time, remember that it is okay if babies sometimes vomit.

If your toddler vomits or spits up after feeding, there are some steps you can try to minimize it. They are:

  • Avoid overfeeding. Know when and how much to give your baby.
  • It is better to give smaller but frequent feeds rather than going for more at once.
  • Make sure to give your baby burps between feeds and after feeds.
  • If they are awake, keep them upright for at least 30 minutes. But do not keep them in this position if they are sleeping nor use anything to elevate them in their cribs.

If your child is old enough to eat solid foods and is vomiting, avoid giving solid food for about a day. Keep them on a liquid and soft food diet to help settle their stomach.

What to Do If the Baby Throws Up Milk?

We have discussed so far the difference between spitting up and throwing up milk. Now, if your child is indeed throwing up milk, what should one do in those circumstances?

While it is normal for your child to vomit, there are some steps you should follow for protection.

1. Keep the upper body elevated.

Infants do not have control over any part of their bodies. When a child begins to vomit, it enters through the trachea. It may cause suffocation if not addressed properly. When your baby is lying down, keep a bath towel under their body, keeping them slightly elevated. If they start to vomit in this position, turn their face to one side.

2. After vomiting up, pay more attention to the baby’s condition.

When the baby is lying down, raise the baby’s head or just hold it upright. Check the baby’s condition. If the face seems to be drained of color and is not responsive, call the doctor. If the complexion seems bad but your baby recovers, then there is no problem. Give them some water to ease their stomach and throat.

3. Replenishing water should be done 30 minutes after vomiting.

After vomiting, your baby needs to be hydrated immediately. But if done too soon, this may cause more vomiting. It is best to take a small amount of water in a spoon or bottle and try to offer it to your child at least 30 minutes after vomiting.

4. Reduce the number of feeds to half after vomiting.

When the baby has recovered and is giving indications that they want to be fed, you can give them more milk. But give less amount than you usually do. Small but frequent feeds are the best way to go about things after vomiting.

What to Do if the Baby Coughs And Spits Up Milk?

We tackled the issue of when your baby vomits. Do you follow the same steps for when babies spit up milk? Not quite.

1. Assist your baby with coughing. 

If your baby is coughing, gently pick them up and place their head on one of your shoulders. The other hand should be on their back. You can rub the back to comfort them. Alternate between the right and left shoulders periodically.

2. Do not lie them down for sleep immediately.

If your baby has fallen asleep, keep their body elevated and their head on your shoulder for a little while longer. If you lie them down for sleep immediately, they will probably start coughing again and spit up milk.

3. Inhale warm and humid air for the baby.

The room temperature should be optimal. In winters, it tends to get drier, and humidity levels dropdown. Try to use a humidifier to maintain room levels. Dryness can cause your baby’s throat to itch, thus making them cough and spit up milk.

4. Apply hot water bottle to baby’s back. 

The hot water should not be scalding but just warm enough to make your baby nice and cozy. Wrap them in a thin towel and apply the bottle to your baby’s back near the lungs. It will help give warmth to the baby and open the air passageways, reducing cough.


Healthy babies sometimes vomit and spit up. Usually, it is nothing to worry about unless they show unnatural signs and symptoms. You can feed your baby a short while after they vomit, so they do not dehydrate. If they vomit again after feeding, it is best to wait a little while longer and offer them water to keep them hydrated. If more than 12 hours pass and your baby is vomiting, call your pediatrician.

If your child is sick and on some medication, it is best to wait a while so the medicine can do its job. Otherwise, the baby might end up throwing up both things.

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