Just spitting up?
If your baby spits up frequently, it can leave you wondering whether she’s getting enough nutrition. Knowing when to be concerned and understanding ways to reduce spitting up can help you rest easier.
Why babies spit up
Beginning at just a few weeks of age, babies may spit up about one or two mouthfuls of food after a feeding. Babies often don’t seem to notice, and about half of all babies spit up regularly.
Spitting up can mean your baby has eaten more than her tummy can hold. It can also happen when your baby burps or drools. Although it can be messy, it’s usually no cause for concern. Most babies outgrow this phase by about 6 months or by the time they’re sitting up on their own.
Spitting up is different from vomiting and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), often called "reflux." Vomiting is forceful and causes distress and/or discomfort and usually produces a much greater amount than spitting up. If you have any concerns, be sure to talk with your baby’s doctor.
Help minimize spitting up
If your baby is spitting up frequently, use these tips:
- Try to avoid interruptions and distractions during mealtime and feed your baby before she gets too hungry.
- Burp your baby about two or three times during each feeding. Try burping your baby upright on your lap to minimize pressure on her tummy.
- Be sure to tilt the bottle so formula or breastmilk, not air, fills the nipple. Also make sure your baby is properly latching on to the nipple to prevent the ingestion of air. More about latching on.
- Make playtime after feedings low-key to avoid jostling.
- Try to keep your baby’s head higher than her abdomen. After feeding, hold your baby, place her in a baby seat or front pack—or if her neck is strong enough, in a backpack.
Also, if you’re nursing and especially if you have a history of allergies, consider your diet. Occasionally, something you eat (often a dairy product) may be associated with your baby’s irritability and increased likelihood of spitting up.
If you have more questions, be sure to talk with your baby’s doctor.