My Baby Spits Up After Eating: Is It Normal?

Baby spit-up ... it's a rite of passage for new moms. There's no way you will escape infancy without getting slimed. Your washing machine will get a workout from burping cloths. It is what it is.

But while all babies spit up, some babies spit up more than others, and that can be disconcerting for moms. You may wonder if all that spitting up is normal. Is baby getting proper nutrition from his feedings, is he uncomfortable ... will the spit-up phase ever end?


According to lactation consultant Leigh Anne O'Connor, IBCLC, spitting up after a feeding is completely normal for infants. And the reasons why have to do with anatomy.

"In adults, when the esophagus feeds into the stomach, there is a kind of curve," said O'Connor. "In babies, it is more of a straight shot ... and stomachs are pretty active, churning nearly constantly. These factors cause spit-up in babies."

Spit-up volume and frequency really does vary from baby to baby.

O'Connor says most spit-up issues are due to swallowing air. For example, a baby who takes a fast flow bottle may be more prone to a date with your burping cloth (on a good day ... your black sweater on a bad day). Babies with a tongue tie are also prone to spitting up more frequently.

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The good news is babies usually outgrow spitting up food by age 1 (if not sooner). In the meantime, O'Connor suggests the following if your baby spits up excessively (more than three times per day):

Try feeding your baby less ... more frequently. If you're breastfeeding, put a time limit on your session. If your baby is bottle-fed, give him less per feeding.

Keep baby in an upright position. Don't put your baby down for a nap or in a pack-n-play immediately following a feeding. If possible, keep him in a sitting position for a half hour after he's finished.

Burp him. Regular burping helps prevent gassy build-up in his stomach. It's all about getting that air out!

Watch what you eat. Breastfeeding moms can experiment with their diet to see if their choices affect spit-up frequency in a positive way.

If these tips don't work -- or if your baby is not gaining weight or is crying or vomiting after feedings -- he should be seen by his pediatrician.

However, most of the time, spit-up is a laundry problem, not a medical one. "If your baby is generally happy and growing, then I suggest mom and baby wear cotton," O'Connor says. "It is much easier to wash."

Do you worry about your baby spitting up after a feeding?


Image © KidStock/Blend Images/Corbis

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