Spitting up is a rite of passage for many babies. Here’s what’s behind spitting up — and when it might signal a more serious problem.
You’ve just fed your baby breast milk or formula only to watch him or her spit up what seems like all of it. Is this normal? Find out the possible causes of spitting up, and what you can do about it.
Spitting up is common in healthy babies. About half of all babies experience gastroesophageal reflux, also called infant reflux, during their first three months. Normally, a valve (lower esophageal sphincter) between the esophagus and the stomach keeps stomach contents where they belong. Until this valve has time to mature, spitting up might be an issue — especially if your baby eats too much.
Spitting up is the easy flow of a baby’s stomach contents through his or her mouth, possibly with a burp. Vomiting occurs when the flow is forceful — shooting out inches rather than dribbling from the mouth.
Normal spitting up doesn’t interfere with a baby’s well-being. As long as your baby seems comfortable and is eating well and gaining weight, there’s little cause for concern. If your baby is gaining weight, then he or she isn’t being harmed by the calories lost through spitting up.
Keep in mind that it’s easy to overestimate the amount your baby has spit up based on the size of a spit-up stain.
Spitting up tends to peak at age 4 months, and most babies stop spitting up by age 12 months.
Consider these tips:
Certain signs and symptoms might indicate an underlying condition or something more serious than run-of-the-mill spitting up. Contact your baby’s doctor if your baby:
Treatment depends on what’s causing the problem. Special feeding techniques might be helpful. In other cases, the doctor might prescribe medication to treat reflux.