November 07, 2022

How To Handle Baby Spit Up

How To Handle Baby Spit Up

Written by Pamela Lim,

All babies spit up. Some babies spit up more than others, or at certain times. Typically, babies spit up after they gulp down some air with breastmilk or formula. A baby's stomach is small and it can't hold a lot, so milk and air can fill it up quickly.

With a full stomach, any change in position such as bouncing or sitting up can force the flap between the oesophagus and stomach to open. When this flap which is the oesophageal sphincter opens, some of what your baby just ate can make a return appearance.

Is it Normal for My Baby to Spit Up After Feedings?
Babies sometimes spit up when they eat too much or when they burp. Many infants spit up a little after feedings or during burping because their digestive systems are immature and that is perfectly normal. This is alright as long as your baby is growing and gaining weight and doesn't seem uncomfortable with the spitting up. The amount of spit-up often looks like a lot more than it actually is.

What’s the Difference Between Spitting Up and Vomiting?
Vomiting is a forceful projection of stomach fluids. Spitting up is a more gentle flow of fluids that come up. Babies don’t usually react to spitting up, but a vomiting baby will usually look upset or cry.

How Can I Keep My Baby From Spitting Up?
Give smaller feeds more often can be more helpful, rather than giving larger-volume feeds. Swallowing too much air while eating leads to gas bubbles in the stomach that can trap some food. When the air comes back up as a burp, so does the breast milk or formula. Ensuring that your baby is latched on correctly will also help to reduce this problem.

Keep your baby upright after feedings. 
Gravity is on your side when it comes to reflux, and it can make a big difference in helping food stay down. Position your little spitter at roughly a 30-degree angle while feeding. Then keep your baby upright for at least 20 minutes afterward, either in your arms or in a carrier, so that the food can travel out of the stomach and into the small intestine. Do not jiggle, bounce, or actively play with your baby right after feedings. Keep your baby's head alleviated above the feet while feeding. 

Raise the head of your baby's crib or bassinet. 
Roll up a few small hand towels or receiving blankets or you can buy special wedges to place under and not on top of  the mattress. Never use a pillow under your baby's head. Also, make sure the mattress doesn’t fold in the middle, and that the incline is gentle enough that your baby doesn’t slide down.

When to Call the Doctor
If your baby often cries during or after feedings or often cannot be soothed after feedings or if your baby's spit up is forceful, call your baby's provider. Many babies will outgrow spitting up by the time they're sitting up. The key to minimizing spit ups is to give small feeds at reasonable intervals. It works beautifully!