Milk all over the place? That’s an inconvenience. Even more so, if it is the milk you just fed your baby, but it’s no use crying over spit milk. Instead, you can look for the possible reasons. Why would he vomit that much milk back? Is the milk even staying inside? Is there something wrong with his stomach? Questions like that may frequently come to your mind as a mom. But occasionally, spitting up milk is normal for most babies in their first year of growth, so there’s probably nothing wrong with your child.
Milk coming right back out after feeding can also be a symptom of some disease. There might be physiological reasons behind your baby’s spitting up milk frequently. It can also be a symptom of your baby being allergic to some products. So, which one is it that your child is facing? Let’s look at all the possible reasons for babies spitting up milk, and you can look for the symptoms that your baby is showing.
What can Cause a Baby to Spit Milk?
Babies have a developmental stage in their first year of growth where the organs grow and adapt to their environmental habits. The same is the case with their stomach. In adults and older children, the muscle between the esophagus and stomach (lower esophageal sphincter, LES) keeps your food in the stomach. Until the muscle matures enough to work properly, babies feel reflux of stomach contents coming back to the esophagus. That reflux, called ‘Gastroesophageal Reflux,’ is the major cause of vomiting milk in most babies.
Although it is normal, you should keep looking for some underlying conditions in your baby, if any. Here are a few medical problems related to babies spitting milk:
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD):
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, commonly known as GERD, is a disease caused by the malfunctioning LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter). When the sphincter movements become frequent, the acid from the stomach flows into the esophagus and causes heartburn. If your baby is facing GERD, you might look for:
- Baby crying after spitting, as he might feel heartburn. Your baby might be uncomfortable all day.
- Weight loss, or no weight gain in the passing months because the digestion is poor.
- Baby choking on his own vomit
If you see these signs, you should immediately contact your family Pediatrician.
2. Pyloric Stenosis:
In pylorus stenosis, structural issues in the pylorus muscles block the food from entering the small intestine. This causes the food to come out as vomit or spit. If your baby vomits right after you finish feeding him, you might look for the following symptoms:
- Projectile vomit that goes far away from the baby’s lying position
- Signs of dehydration, like crying without tears, less wet diapers, etc.
- Hungry baby, right after feeding
Babies with Pyloric Stenosis do not look sick in between feeding times, so you might not think it serious, but you should definitely contact your doctor if you notice these symptoms.
3. Other Common Factors:
Other common causes that can make your baby spit up milk are:
- Aerophagia, which is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by swallowing air more than it’s needed
- Tummy time, as it may cause the stomach to be pressed and cause vomit
- Bouncing or swinging, right after feeding is done
When to Call a Doctor? Spit vs. Vomit
Spitting milk is not a medical problem. Suppose you think that your child is vomiting instead of spitting. In that case, it can be a symptom of some other underlying disorder. How to distinguish between vomit and spit? There are a few common signs that will help you find if your child is sick or not.
Spitting milk is a phenomenon that occurs naturally to a child. You won’t see the signs of heaving, discomfort, or pain in your baby. It will attack you when you are least expecting and drown everything in its way; your clothes, sheets, and all.
Contrary to that, vomiting is always a symptom of some other serious issue in your baby’s body. So, it will be accompanied by fever, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues. Consequently, your child will show signs of illness. Furthermore, it won’t be a silent call. Vomiting often occurs after causing specific noises, and the excretion will have greenish bile contents from the liver.
So if your child shows some severe symptoms like these, you should contact your child specialist immediately:
- Weight loss
- Irritated baby
- Vomit changing color (green, yellow, or red) and texture
How Much Spit Is Normal? When Will It Go Away?
No excessive symptoms of disease, but you are still worried about your baby spitting up too much? Here’s a little guide of how it works with babies and when it is normal.
- If your baby is spitting half an hour later after feeding, it is normal. Spitting can also happen immediately after eating. It’s not dangerous if your baby is not discomforted.
- Babies under three months usually spit once a day.
- A two to four months period is the peak time of spitting for babies. (beware of the attacks!)
- When your baby reaches the age of seven to eight months, spitting will considerably reduce to none.
- By twelve months, most babies stop it altogether.
Looking at all these statistics, it doesn’t seem like a problem to worry about. Although it can be a socially awkward moment for you if you are among people, it can add to your laundry heaps.
How to Handle the Spit-Ups?
If they are healthy, spitting babies can still be a nuisance. How to reduce your laundry problems and your social awkwardness? Learn from the experts here:
1. Feeding Tips
- Avoid overfeeding. Feeding your baby all at once might feel satisfying, but keeping his diet small and frequent will help reduce spit-ups because the stomach won’t be full to spit any milk out.
- Feed him slowly and make sure to take breaks in between for burps
- If breastfeeding, try applying ‘one breast per feed’ formula. If bottle-feeding, reduce the amount of formula per bottle.
- If possible, prefer breastfeeding over bottle-feeding since the spitting action is much less in breastfed babies
- Don’t introduce solids into the diet unless recommended by the pediatrician
- Don’t feed him again if he is happy and playing after the spit-up
2. Baby Positioning Tips
- Keep your baby relaxed. Elevating or bouncing him might cause the stomach contents to flow back immediately. Less disturbance equals fewer spit ups
- Put your baby to sleep on his back. Lying on the stomach may force the contents out, plus, it’s also a major cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Feed your baby in an upright position to keep the flow of contents smooth and easy
- Using a sling or other baby-carrying carts sometimes prove helpful, but not the swing. Swing can stimulate the reflux
3. Mom’s Diet Tips
If you are a breastfeeding mom, the best solution might be a change in your own diet. Your doctor might suggest a few changes in your diet, like avoiding dairy products or some other specific foods. They might also monitor your baby’s needs and suggest you a better diet plan accordingly that your baby can digest easily.
4. Eliminating Risk Factors
- Look out for allergies, as they can cause serious reflux issues. For example, cow milk protein allergy was found to be the main cause of GERD in half of the children under one year, according to Pediatrics [Salvatore 2002]. If your child shows some signs of allergy, change the formula immediately after consulting his doctor.
- Tobacco smoke is a contributing factor, so you might consider eliminating it completely from your child’s environment.
- Caffeine can cause increased reflux of the stomach, so you should reduce or completely quit caffeine intake if you breastfeed your baby.
Raising a child is the hardest job in the world. You are concerned for them at all hours of the day and night. They even have the ability to make you see stars in daylight with their sudden attacks. After you become a mom, you can forget the sleep, food, or any other needs you have because they’ll be the only ones you will be dealing with all day long and all through the night. Feeding, burping, and diapers will be the things on your mind. If you add spitting milk to all of these issues, it can add up as another heap of laundry and a whole lot of social awkwardness.
Hope that this guide helps you through your’ spitting baby’ problems, even if a little bit. Do tell us if our tips helped you resolve the problem. Even better, if you have some of the tips for us, share them in the comments section, so other moms can benefit from them too because when the baby’s tummy is happy, it makes all the mummies happy!