Why Do Babies Spit Up?
There is one thing you should know if you are concerned about the amount of spit up your baby is producing. There are many reasons why babies spit up but all babies will do this during the first years of life. You should remember your baby is learning about everything in life over the first few weeks and months, including how to feed in the correct way. As with most events in the life of a baby, there is no set schedule to set out what you can expect with some baby’s continuing to spit up until their first birthday and others halting around six months.
What is spit up?
The problem of spit up is generally a simple annoyance for a parent who will have to wash the clothes of their baby on numerous occasions. In general, your baby will spit up when a large amount of air is consumed with the milk from either a bottle or breast milk. The air in the stomach must escape and often does by returning through the sphincter at the top of the stomach. A little of the milk which has already been consumed will then be pushed out of the stomach through the mouth and nose.
Why babies spit up?
You may wonder why babies spit up? The answer is usually a buildup of air in the stomach pushed into the body while feeding. The reasons why babies spit up are numerous, with there being a plethora of options to choose from if you are looking to limit the amount of spit up produced by your child. Amongst the reasons why babies spit up are:
- The incorrect position when feeding
- The hole is too small in a bottle nipple
- To much stimulation
Choosing the correct feeding position
One of the most common reasons for the problem of spit up is the incorrect position of your baby when you are feeding them. Firstly, your baby should be held in a position which allows milk to be consumed and fall directly into the stomach. If your baby is held with a slouch or too flat on their back they will often struggle to swallow their feed which results in air being swallowed with the milk and the milk pooling above the stomach.
When you are feeding your baby you may find a change of bottle begs questions about why babies spit up. As your baby ages, you should be looking to keep up with the size of nipples used when you choose to bottle feed. If you do not provide the correct nipple for the age of your baby you could find the hols in the nipple is far too small for your infant to enjoy. If the hole is too small, you will find your baby becomes annoyed and will gasp for air as they struggle to get the milk they need during a feeding.
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Your baby does not always make the right choices when feeding and will often overfeed when they are allowed to. As your baby feeds too much they will get too much milk in their stomach and usually struggle to keep down all consumed during a feed. It is possible to overfeed your baby without even knowing you are doing so, particularly when you are breastfeeding. One of the main solutions to this problem is to try and feed less milk more often to keep your baby satisfied.
You may notice your baby spits up a little more when they are active soon after being fed. Stimulation and overstimulation are two of the main reasons why babies spit up. Feeding time should be a quiet, relaxed period of each day with your baby enjoying a calm period of time during and after their feed. A common reason why babies spit up is the fact they are overstimulated after completing a feed. Bouncing your baby vigorously on your knee just after their feed will generally result in your baby spitting up some of their milk.
Identifying spit up and vomit
One of the problems facing new parents is understanding when the issue of spit up has become something more serious and should result in a visit to your doctor. Firstly, we now understand why babies spit up and know the movement of this common reaction is a slow dribble of milk from the mouth or nose. Spit up often has a thicker paste-like consistency than vomit.
You should be able to notice the difference between spit up and vomit in the way the liquid is ejected from the body. Vomit is the result of a contraction of the muscles within the stomach and around the body that creates a more forceful ejection. Where stip up generally dribbles from the mouth or nose you will notice vomit is ejected quickly from the body.
If you feel the vomit being ejected from your child’s stomach is becoming like the classic projectile vomit you should contact your doctor to make sure there is not a serious problem needing to be diagnosed.
Among the medical conditions that can result in a larger than usual amount of spit up being seen in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, often referred to as GERD. The issue of GERD is one of the main reasons why babies spit up and can result in your baby not gaining enough weight due to the milk lost to spit up.
Another reason why babies spit up is seen through the issue of green liquid being seen in the spit up of your baby. Seeing any green liquid is not normal and should be immediately reported to your doctor. If your child begins to spit up green liquid it could be a sign of a blockage in the intestines of your child which a doctor will have to explore to find a treatment.
How long do babies spit up for?
This is a difficult question to answer and far more complex than simply asking why babies spit up. Your baby will usually spit up the most by the time they reach their fourth month with the amount and frequency of their spit up lowering after this time. By the time most babies reach their sixth month, they will begin to gain control of their stomach muscles resulting in less spit up.
Handling spit up
You should remember your baby is an individual and has their own amount of spit-up to handle. If you feel your baby is not gaining weight at the right speed you should contact your doctor to discuss your options. In most cases, it is not recommended to give your baby cereal before their sixth month but some physicians make exceptions for babies struggling with large levels of spit up. This option should only be explored under the guidance of a physician who decides your baby is old enough and in need of a little oatmeal being placed in their milk.
If you are using a formula to feed your baby, you should take a look at the ingredients and decide if it is worth trying another brand. Many children have a reaction to the ingredients of different formula’s and need to try a few different varieties before they find the correct option.