Vomiting occurs naturally in infants, children, and even adults. Usually, it is short-lived and ends after a while. This is not of much concern. However, prolonged vomiting raises red flags. It can cause severe dehydration, which can be very problematic and dangerous.
Keep in the difference between vomiting and spitting up milk. Spit up is usually milk and saliva dribbling down the corner of your baby’s mouth. It may happen due to over-feeding or after burps. Vomiting is more forceful and causes the baby to throw up whatever it ingested. Sometimes, parents may not notice the difference between the two, which is very dangerous. Be attentive when it comes to your baby and learn the signs and symptoms.
In this article, we will shed some light on why baby’s vomit so badly. Read on to find out.
What Causes Babies to Vomit?
The most common cause is over-feeding. Babies’ stomachs are fragile and sensitive. They cannot hold down greater amounts of milk at a given time. So, they throw up. After each feed, remember to give them a burp to clear out any air. If they spit out some milk during burping, it is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Almost every baby spits out some milk while taking a burp, so keep a napkin handy!
Some reasons for your baby vomiting are mentioned below.
Most babies are hungry and demanding milk all the time. After feeding, if they suddenly spit out milk, do not be scared. It may be caused due to gastroenteritis in which harmful micro-organisms enter the stomach. Babies and infants are notorious for putting objects in their mouths. These objects are usually ground zero for harmful bacteria and viruses. These can easily enter the baby’s body and cause harm. Unclean or dirty food can also cause this problem.
Vomiting is the body’s natural way of purging itself and getting rid of harmful material. It usually stops after a while but may take your baby some days to recover. If there is a lot of vomiting between frequent intervals, make sure your baby stays hydrated.
2. Food Allergy
The immune system of an infant is very weak and sensitive. Sometimes it can perceive a certain type of food as a threat. This commonly happens when you introduce your child to a new type of food. Slowly and gradually introduce your baby to new things like fish, carton milk, gluten, nuts, etc. Some common symptoms of food allergy include:
- Red and itchy rashes
- Swelling of the face
Food allergies have a varying range of severity. Some can be mild, while others may be life-threatening.
3. Pyloric stenosis
It is an uncommon condition and is usually diagnosed a few weeks after birth. The pylorus is a muscular valve between the stomach and the small intestine. It holds food until it is ready for digestion. In pyloric stenosis, the valve thickens and swells, thus, blocking the food from reaching the small intestine.
This can cause vomiting, dehydration, and weight loss. Babies with this condition are always hungry since they cannot digest their food properly. They vomit more forcefully, have fewer bowel movements, and will urinate less frequently.
If your child has been throwing up frequently for more than 12 hours, immediate medical care is required. Call a doctor and do not delay it before the condition gets too severe.
Anyone can be a victim of meningitis, but it is most common between infancy and early adulthood. It is due to an infection in the protective linings that surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is known to spread quickly and can cause severe damage. It may be life-threatening.
The first symptom of meningitis is vomiting, followed by a fever over 99oF, severe headaches, and pain in the limbs. An infant can voice these forms of physical pain, so look out for changes in behavior. They may be less responsive, more tired than usual or frequent crying. Some other symptoms that may appear later include a rash, drowsiness, or a stiff neck. Some babies also cry out due to a dislike of bright lights in this state.
Babies suffering from meningitis are agitated, and often the parents are unable to comfort them. Contact your doctor at once.
It is common in children between 3-36 months. This condition occurs when the intestine telescopes (part of the intestine slides over an adjacent part of the intestine) and causes a blockage. If it becomes infected with a virus, it may cause the intestine linings to swell.
Common symptoms of intussusception include vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, cramps, blood in the stool. This condition is very discomforting, so seek medical help as soon as possible.
6. Vomiting after a cold.
The immune and digestive system of a baby is very fragile and not fully developed. Some parents are unaware of what vomiting after a cold looks like.
The vomiting milk will be in greater amounts and sour, indicating that the stomach is not digesting properly. This is mainly due to the immature development of the baby’s digestive system. The baby’s mood may be upset in this stress, and it may not want to eat due to stress or vomiting. This does not indicate a severe problem. It will get better as the baby’s system develops over time.
What to Do if the Newborn Vomits Milk?
It is common for a baby to vomit. Many new parents become immediately panicked when they see their child throwing up for the first time. You can handle the problem easily if you are familiar with what to do in these situations.
1. It is normal for babies to vomit milk.
First and foremost, understand and accept that babies often vomit.
The digestive system of a newborn baby is immature, and the stomach is small and placed horizontally, unlike an adult’. The outlet pyloric sphincter of the stomach is tight, while the entrance cardia sphincter is relatively loose. Therefore, the baby may experience a kid of esophageal reflux where milk flows back from the esophagus to the mouth and is then spit out.
If the baby is too hasty while drinking milk, it will swallow air. Sometimes children engage in activities or vigorous playtime immediately after feeding, which causes them to vomit.
After the baby is 6 months old, its stomach develops and can hold food and liquids better. Thus, its vomiting frequency will reduce.
However, suppose there are signs of fatigue, tiredness, drowsiness, extended hunger, and intense crying, along with vomiting. In that case, it may indicate that your baby is ill. Contact a doctor for a medical examination.
2. Feeding tips to reduce vomiting.
Some things should be taken care of while feeding, as mentioned below.
- a) Do not wait for the baby to be hungry before feeding. Give small but frequent intervals.
- b) Do not breastfeed when the baby is crying. The baby most likely would either spill milk or throw it up.
- c) Avoid disturbing the baby while feeding as they get easily scared and distracted.
- d) The baby’s head should be slightly elevated while being fed. Do not lie them down in a straight posture.
- e) Burp your baby after and in between each feed.
- f) Try not to engage them in energetic activities immediately after feeding, as it may cause them to throw up.
- g) If you need to change the baby’s diapers, the baby’s feet should not be raised too high to increase the pressure in the stomach and spit up milk.
3. Hiccups can cause vomiting.
If your baby has hiccups after being fed, hold it upright and place its head on your shoulder. Pat on its back with one hand, and hold the head with the other hand. Do this until the hiccups have stopped. Sometimes excessive hiccups can cause babies to vomit and expel the milk they just ingested.
After the hiccups stop, do not lie them down immediately. Place the baby on its side and place a towel to support its back. Take care that the baby does not turn face down as it will block the airways, causing suffocation.
When You Need to See a Doctor?
Vomiting naturally happens in every baby and is not something to be always alarmed by. It is not necessary to run to the doctor every time. There are some vital signs to look for that will tell you it is time to call your doctor. These include:
- Forceful vomiting after feeding.
- Frequent vomiting constantly for 12 hours or more.
- Unable to keep down liquids for more than 8 hours.
- Blood in vomit.
- Blood in stool.
Vomiting occurs naturally in children of ages. It causes more worry when it is a baby or an infant because they are unable to do anything for themselves or voice their physical pain. It is important to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of major problems. Most of the while, they will vomit due to overfeeding. A visit to the doctor occasionally for a routine checkup is good to ensure your baby’s health.