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Why Do Babies Throw Up?


Why Do Babies Throw Up?

No parent enjoys seeing their child unwell no matter how old they are. The problem always appears to be worse when you are left wondering why babies throw up because your infant is unable to tell you if this is a sign of a more serious problem. There are a number of medical conditions which could be causing your baby to throw up but these are rare with most problems caused by short-term infections. It is also important to make sure you understand the difference between vomit and spit up when you are trying to understand why babies throw up.

Spit up is common

The first thing you need to recognize when you are wondering why babies throw up is the issue of spit up which is commonly seen in all babies. Spit up is a common problem for the majority of parents and babies who will usually see spit up appearing within the first hour after feeding on the breast or formula.

The process of spit up is commonly known as cheesing which occurs when the baby eats and takes in more milk than their stomach can handle. For the majority of babies, this is followed by a dribble of milk from the mouth which they do not feel concerned about and is often accompanied by a burp.

Spit up is often a difficult thing for you to recognize at first when you may question why babies throw up but you will come to spot the difference between the two as you become more comfortable with your baby. Spit up is not harmful to your baby and will usually not be accompanied by a large amount of crying or unhappiness by your baby because this is a normal part of your child growing up.

You should notice the issue of spit up should become more limited the older your baby becomes because they should be able to handle larger amounts of milk with each feeding. The arrival of solid foods should see the issue of spit up come to a close but it will not be completely eliminated until your baby switches to other forms of milk in conjunction with solid foods.

Vomit Vs Spit up

Once you begin to understand the difference between spit up and vomit, you will be faced with the issue of understanding why babies throw up if not due to spit up. The developing central nervous system and immune system of your baby means it is vital you take your baby to a doctor as soon as possible when you identify them as vomiting. Vomit could be a sign of a more serious condition which should be explored by a doctor. There are many different illnesses and medical conditions you and your baby could face when you see your baby is vomiting, including:

  • A milk allergy
  • Gag reflex
  • Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis
  • GERD

If you are hoping to recognize the reasons why babies throw up you need to understand the process of vomiting and why it happens. There are many reasons why your baby has the vomiting center of their brain stimulated to contract the diaphragm while the stomach is at rest and forces the contents out of the stomach. In general, the main difference between the vomit and spit up processes is the power with which your baby will vomit compared to the dribble of spit up. Your baby will often combine vomit with diarrhea caused by a virus which you may notice causes a raised temperature alongside the emission of the contents of the stomach.

Vomiting in the first month

One of the most common reasons for vomiting is the fact your baby is coming to terms with the change from moving from the womb to the exterior of your body. Vomiting is a common issue in the first month of life as your baby starts to come to terms with the changes seen in their body.

Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis

This is a common cause of persistent vomiting in infants and a major reason why babies throw up in the first year of life. This can be a difficult condition to handle and must be treated with surgery to repair the affected area. The exit linking the stomach to the intestines begins to thicken meaning the muscles at this point do not allow the food in the stomach to pass through the body. A surgeon will widen the stomach exit to allow the food to pass through into the intestines and the food waste to be expelled in the correct way. You should become concerned about the problem of Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis when your baby vomits forcefully for a prolonged period of time between 15 to 30 minutes after eating.


The issue of gastroesophageal reflux disease is marked by consistent vomiting which is not particularly forceful but occurs on a regular basis. This problem is caused by the muscles around the esophagus becoming too relaxed and allowing the contents of the stomach to sit at the top and back up into the throat. If you believe your baby is affected by this issue you can try to thicken the milk given and provide more feedings of smaller amounts.

Infections are the most common cause

Although there are many different reasons why babies throw up, you may wish to explore the problems caused by infections inducing vomiting. There is a range of different infections which can cause symptoms of vomiting and may require you to take your baby to visit a pediatrician. The reasons why babies throw up can include the development of rotaviruses which can bring the dual issues of vomiting and diarrhea accompanied by fevers and severe abdominal pain. Your baby could be open to being affected by an infection as they have not fully developed their immune system over the first months of life.

Be aware of dehydration issues

When your infant is affected by vomiting symptoms you may be looking towards the reasons why babies throw up and not fully aware of the accompanying problems your baby may face. One of the problems your baby may face over the course of a spell of vomiting will be dehydration caused by excessive vomiting. This is obviously a concern for newborn babies who may not be drinking water on a regular basis and struggling to keep down the milk they receive from breastfeeding or formula.

While you are searching for the reasons why babies throw up you may also want to keep a check on your baby for signs of dehydration. The most common ways to spot if your baby is dehydrated include:

  • Few wet diapers
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Sunken eyes and dry skin


If you believe your baby may be struggling with dehydration, you will face a range of options for treating these symptoms including the use of an oral hydration replenishment liquid. These drinks replace the lost sources of vitamins and minerals needed by the body to survive far faster than other liquids. The use of an oral rehydration liquid should be the first step for any baby who is struggling with dehydration because of throw up issues.

1 thought on “Why Do Babies Throw Up?”

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