Spitting Up - Adventist HealthCare

Spitting Up

Topic Overview

Almost all babies spit up, especially newborns. Spitting up happens less often after the muscles of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach, become more coordinated. This process can take as little as 6 months or as long as 1 year.

When spitting up becomes a problem

If your baby starts spitting up after every feeding, there may be a problem with the way he or she is being fed. He or she may be swallowing too much air when sucking, or you may not be burping the baby enough during feedings. Fever will sometimes cause a baby to spit up. Milk (lactose) intolerance and food allergies also can cause increased spitting up. Other signs of these problems include loose and watery stools, irritability, and belly pain.

Spitting up should not be confused with vomiting. Vomiting is forceful and repeated. Spitting up may seem forceful but usually occurs shortly after feeding, is effortless, and causes no discomfort. A baby may spit up for no reason at all. Vomiting may be caused by a more serious problem, such as pyloric stenosis or gastroesophageal reflux disease. If you think your baby is vomiting, contact your doctor.

Tips to reduce spitting up

The following tips may help your baby to spit up less often. If this advice does not reduce the frequency of spitting up, contact your doctor.

  • Feed your baby smaller amounts at each feeding.
  • Feed your baby slowly.
  • Hold your baby during feedings.
    • Don't prop your baby's bottle.
    • Don't place your baby in an infant seat during feedings.
  • Try a new type of bottle or use a nipple with a smaller opening to reduce air intake.
  • Limit active and rough play after feedings.
  • Try putting your baby in different positions during and after feeding.
  • Burp your baby frequently during feedings.
  • Do not add cereal to formula without first consulting your doctor.
  • Do not smoke when you are feeding your baby.

If you think a food allergy may be the cause of spitting up, talk to your child's doctor about starting your baby on hypoallergenic formula.

Credits

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.