As a parent, it is understandable that you are concerned with your baby’s well-being. Even when they can be completely natural, it can be difficult to sit by while your child is uncomfortable. One of the most common occurrences that may alarm you is when your baby spits up. There are a lot of questions that you may have about the subject. Below we have compiled some information that may ease your worries.
What is Spit Up?
Spit up is the liquidly substance that your infant can occasionally cough up or sneeze out. Most of the time your baby is spitting up milk or formula.
Why do Babies Spit Up?
Babies are new to the world, and their bodies don’t always work as well as an adult’s body. Babies spit up because their bodies are still learning how to properly eat and process food. Sometimes air gets caught in their stomach when eating. When it escapes it sometimes brings some liquid with it. It can happen frequently when a child is young. The amount of spit up is different for each child. As infants grow older they tend to spit up less.
How Can I Help Prevent My Baby from Spitting Up?
There is no real way to completely stop your baby from spitting up. It is a natural process that will decrease over time. However, there are ways that you can minimize how often it occurs to your infant.
1. Make sure they properly latch. When you begin to feed your child make sure that they are securely attached to your breast or bottle. This will reduce the amount of air that makes its way into their stomach. This is the main cause of spit ups.
2. Feed in an upright position. Since air is the major culprit in causing spit up, feeing your child in an upright position keeps the air above their food. Keeping them still also decreases the chances of an accident.
3. Do not overfeed. While you might be more than happy to let your baby feed to their heart’s content, too much food can be detrimental. Filling their stomach past capacity will cause them irritation which their bodies will attempt to fix.
4. Burp them after feeding. Grab a towel, place it on your shoulder, securely hold your baby so that their head is near the towel, and pat their back. This gentle bumping will help dislodge any air they swallowed, also known as burping.
5. Reduce bottle-induced gas. Children who feed from bottles are more likely to swallow air and spit up. Using a liner that collapses as your infant drinks will help immensely. If you use formula you should research and find one that suits your baby’s stomach.
What Are The Different Types of Spit Up
It is important to monitor your child and contact a pediatrician if you notice any major changes. You should also make sure that it is spit up or vomit. Breast milk and formula are the most common liquids your baby will regurgitate. There are a few other substances that they could spit up as well. The color of the liquid is a key attribute that can give you an idea if something is wrong.
1. Baby is spitting up clear liquid. Nine times out of ten when your baby is spitting up a clear liquid it is just saliva. Drooling is another common thing infants do. There is an increased amount of saliva produced when children start growing teeth. This soothes their gums. There is a small chance that the clear liquid is a sign that your baby is having difficulties swallowing.
2. Baby is spitting up dark liquid. This can be particularly shocking. The most likely cause is swallowing blood during the feeding process. This can be from cracked skin around the breast or nipple. They might also have dark spit up if they have recently had a violent cough or sneeze. One of the more unlikely reasons is that your baby has a milk protein allergy. If your infant isn’t showing signs of a fever or acting lethargic there should not be a problem. Always check with a doctor to be sure.
3. Baby is spitting up mucus. When mucus appears in spit up it can be due to how stomach acid effects milk. There might be a chance that your infant has reflux or is congested. These are not life-threatening conditions, but they require you to be careful. Increased signs of agitation could be a symptom of some sort of infection.
How Do I Know My Baby Is Getting Enough Food?
If your baby is spitting up a lot it can be hard to know if they are getting enough to eat. Even if your child is regurgitating after every meal they are probably still consuming enough. While it might feel like they are spitting up a lot it is most likely less than a tablespoon. Remember that this is a natural response.
You should be concerned if your baby is losing weight or refusing to eat at all. Weight loss is an obvious sign that they are not ingesting enough calories. Their body is burning their reserves as fuel instead. Not wanting to eat at all is a symptom of acid reflux. This irritates a child’s esophagus and can make eating painful.
There is a small chance that your infant could have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is defined by weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting, irritability, and respiratory problems. GERD can be treated, but it is not a curable condition. Contact your pediatrician right away if you notice your child experiencing any of these symptoms.
Will Spitting up Affect My Baby’s Sleep?
While it is typical for babies to spit up shortly after eating, they can also do it in their sleep. As alarming as it is for your infant to spit up or vomit in their sleep, you do not need to worry. It is instinctual for children to turn their heads to the side to clear their throat if there is a blockage. It is safer for children to rest on their backs and deal with spit up than it is for them to sleep on their side or front. These positions can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Below are a few tips to help get your baby to sleep through the night.
1. Feed them less. Babies who have troubles sleeping throughout the night without an accident should be fed smaller and more frequent meals. This will lower the chances of overeating.
2. Let them digest. Feeding your baby in an upright position and then putting them on their back to sleep jostles the liquid in their stomach. Any air that is caught will no longer be easy to burp out, and it is likely that they will spit up. Before laying your infant to rest, give them a chance to process their meal.
3. Adjust their crib. Sleeping in an odd position can agitate a baby’s stomach if they have trapped air. Finding a way to incline their mattress will help them sleep in a more comfortable position. Make sure whatever you use to prop them up is under the mattress to limit the chances of (SIDS).
4. Treat them for reflux. If none of the above suggestions are working you might want to consider talking to their doctor. Successfully getting your child to sleep while they are dealing with reflux is a trial. It would be better to get their condition under control and then work on their sleeping schedule.
As your baby grows up the number of times they will spit up will go down. Once their esophagus and stomach have gotten used to eating they will better handle being fed. By two years old the majority of children have stopped spitting up. There might be another spike when transitioning to solid food. By that point, you will have already become an expert in the subject. Remember to be calm and talk to your pediatrician, and you will be fine.