Newborn baby vomiting – when is it normal and when should you worry? Learn more about it here.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Newborn baby vomiting vs spit-ups – when should I be alarmed?
- How to avoid baby vomiting after feeding
- What to do when baby vomits
Part of being a parent is to constantly worry about your baby’s health and safety. So with every little sniffle, you might be on alert and wonder if she’s possibly caught a bug. But what if she’s always spitting up and vomiting? Is it a cause for concern and should you rush her to the emergency room to get checked out?
A newborn baby vomiting frequently can cause parents great concern
Newborn baby vomiting vs spitting up
If you’ve been out drinking or clubbing all night before with your friends back in the day, you’ll probably know vomit when you see it!
But what about baby? What’s the deal with the frequent throwing up or spitting up of the milk after feeding?
Before you start worrying about that, it’s important to know the difference between newborn spit ups and vomiting in babies.
Spitting up is just the easy flow of stomach contents out of the mouth, usually followed after a burp, and is common for infants below the age of one year. Whereas vomiting is a more forceful throwing up of stomach contents. This is when the abdominal muscles and diaphragm contract vigorously while the stomach is relaxed, which is a reflex action.
According to Dr. Ruth Alejandro, a pediatrician from the Makati Medical Center, one thing that differentiate spit up from newborn baby vomiting is if your infant feels any discomfort or appears fussy when doing it.
“Spit ups are common in newborns from 6 weeks old up to 6 months. The different with vomiting is that spit ups don’t cause any discomfort. It’s a passive event. Whereas with vomiting, there is discomfort because it’s painful in your baby’s stomach and throat,” she explained in Filipino.
What is the cause of newborn baby vomiting?
As mentioned, spitting up is common in newborns. It’s because during your baby’s first few months, she might spit up after each feeding because the valve where her esophagus connects to her stomach is not mature enough yet to fully function properly. That particular valve will start to mature when your little one is about four or five months and should be fine by the time she turns one year old.
However, newborn projectile vomiting after breastfeeding or baby vomiting after feeding him with formula is not normal, and should be looked at by your child’s pediatrician.
If your baby is spitting up or vomiting more than five times a day, or is always coughing after each feed, the doctor might advise you to add a special milk-thickening agent to her milk.
The doctor might also prescribe an infant antacid, that can be mixed right into your baby’s milk, which should help to neutralize the acid in your baby’s tummy.
Other possible causes of newborn baby vomiting also include:
- Car sickness
- Excessive crying
- Having a cold
- Ear infection
- Food allergy
- Urine infection
Don’t place your baby on her tummy right after feeding
How to avoid baby vomiting after feeding
If you want to decrease the frequency of your newborn baby vomiting or spitting up, here are a few simple steps you can take:
- After feeding your baby, keep her upright for about 30 minutes so that gravity can help to keep things down.
- There shouldn’t be any pressure on your baby’s stomach after a feeding, so avoid strapping her into a car seat or laying on her tummy for about 30 minutes.
- Experts recommends that you gently burp your baby after every feed and sometimes even during feeds so that the air will be released.
- Hold off on any active play right after feedings and don’t get your baby too excited or worked up.
What to do when baby vomits?
Adults can handle themselves pretty well when they vomit, but it’s different when they’re babies, especially newborns. So what do you do when you’ve confirmed that baby projectile vomiting and not just spitting up?
One of the first things you should do is relax and try to calm your baby. Then while your baby is vomiting, make sure that he is secure in your arms while doing it. To prevent choking, the best position for a vomiting baby is in an upright position with his head forward, not tilted back. If he is lying down, turn him to his sides.
Parents think that they should let baby sleep on his stomach when he is vomiting, but this is not the case. They are still safest sleeping on their backs, especially if they’re newborns.
The main danger in newborn baby vomiting is dehydration. So while it’s prohibited to give babies water until 6 months, ask your pediatrician what you can give your child to keep him hydrated. You should also nurse your baby more often to replace lost liquids.
If your baby is over 6 months and already eating, practice caution when feeding him solids or offering liquids. Offer clear liquids after your baby has not vomited for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the stomach to rest. You can also give oral rehydration salts upon your doctor’s advice.
Your baby will probably not want to eat or drink a lot after vomiting, so offer liquids in small amounts (small sips are okay) and increase it every 60 minutes if baby has stopped vomiting. If they vomit, wait for 30 to 60 minutes then start again.
Projectile vomiting may leave your baby exhausted so let him rest after he vomits. Don’t force him to drink or wake him up to drink if he is sleeping.
Should you be worried if your baby starts vomiting?
Lungad o Suka? Alamin ang pagkakaiba at kung kailan dapat mabahala
Milk is coming out of baby’s nose. Should I be worried?
When to worry?
Although it’s normal for newborn babies to vomit, according to NUH, if your little one shows any of the following signs, you should immediately bring her to see a doctor:
- Sunken eyes
- Less than five wet diapers in a day
- Dry skin, mouth, and tongue
- Sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on her head)
- Not willing to drink
- Vomiting non-stop for more than four to six hours
- Diarrhea more than six times in one day
- Fast breathing
- Cool or greyish skin
- The vomit is green
- Blood in the vomit or diarrhea
- Fever of over 39°C for more than 12 hours
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Dr Chua Mei Chien, a Senior Consultant at KKH’s Department of Neonatology says that parents should not worry too much if your baby spits up a little or has effortless regurgitation.
“If the baby is otherwise well, with good weight gain and normal feeding and sleep patterns, there is no cause for concern,” she says.
However, she advises parents that if your newborn baby’s vomiting and spitting-up is also accompanied by refusing to feed, irritability and inconsolable crying during or immediately after feeds, frequent arching of the back, and poor weight gain, these are signs that she may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Babies with GERD may experience the following symptoms:
- Discomfort and pain
- Breathing problems of any kind (gagging, choking, coughing, or wheezing)
- Pneumonia due to inhalation of the stomach contents into the lungs
- Poor growth, because they are deprived of getting enough nutrients
If you notice that your baby has any of these symptoms, you should bring her to see a pediatrician who will determine whether she really does suffer from GERD.
By your little one’s first birthday, she should have stopped having spit-ups and not vomit after meals anymore.
However, you should always just trust your parental instinct and bring her in to get checked out if you have any worries or concerns.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore
Nationwide Children’s Org
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