When a baby vomits every now and then, it should not be considered as something alarming. He is adjusting to a new way of milk intake and as their digestive system develops, vomiting can be a response mechanism. Though it may be a common act, it is important to understand if the baby is vomiting or just spitting up. During the initial months, babies often throw up the contents they’ve consumed from their mouth but there is a fine line between spitting up and vomiting.
What causes vomiting
The abdominal muscles play a vital role in vomiting. Vomiting occurs when there is a forceful contraction in the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm while the stomach muscles are relaxed. This triggers the reflex action which activates the “Vomiting center” of the brain which results in throwing up.
Vomiting or Spitting up
As a parent, one should be able to differentiate between spitting up and vomiting in babies. Spitting up is usually a free movement where the contents of the stomach come out from the mouth. It is neither forceful nor painful and the baby will not be frightened by this and is not painful.
In spite of babies spitting up, there should not be any problem in their weight gain. Whereas, when a baby vomits, it is forcefully throwing out its stomach contents through the mouth. Babies can be frightened by this and they might start crying as they vomit.
At times, some babies can even experience forceful vomiting quite regularly. It usually occurs between two weeks and four months. The stomach muscles might get quite thick and this will prevent the food to flow to the intestines. When the babies deal with persistent vomiting, it also affects their weight gain. Forceful vomiting at regular intervals requires medical advice and it should be treated immediately.
Read: Why does your baby spit up after every feed?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
As the baby grows, spitting up may get worse too. It might happen quite regularly and it is not forceful. This is caused when the exit outlet of the esophagus becomes highly relaxed. This problem will be solved on its own as the digestive system develops in due course of time. Though this phase is not harmful, this might be uncomfortable and there are some effective home remedies to reduce the occurrence of this type of spit up in babies.
How to avoid vomiting & spit up in babies
#1 Keeping the head elevated during sleep
Make sure that your baby is sleeping in an elevated angle. Place your baby’s head higher than the rest of the body. This reduces the chances of throwing up. You can elevate your baby’s head by placing 1-2 thin pillows or cushions under his head. It is advisable to put babies to sleep on their back as it reduces the risks of Sudden Infant Deaths Syndrome (SIDS).
#2 Position of head during feed
The position of feeding is very important as it plays a vital role in getting a proper food supply to the baby and also a regulated supply of breastmilk. For babies who constantly vomit, the feeding position should be in such a way that their head lies a higher than their body, so there is a proper flow into their system. Feeding position of the baby can be enhanced by using a normal pillow or a feeding pillow specifically designed to provide a better position to latch.
#3 Burping after feeds
After every single feed, a baby must be burped. Since babies spend most of their time lying on their back, it is very difficult for the wind in the baby’s body to release itself. It becomes indispensable for us to burp the babies after feeding as their digestive system is not fully formed.
Also Read: Colic: symptoms, reasons and home remedies to treat the colic in babies
#4 Baby movement
Babies spend most of their early days sleeping. As the time they spend awake is significantly more than the time they spend sleeping, their bodies barely make any physical movements. Moving their legs gently up and down in bicycle motion will hugely help in making babies pass gas. Massaging their stomach in a clockwise circular motion also aids in their digestive process.
Generally, it is not needed to provide anything other than milk to the babies, but probiotics can be helpful in calming the reflex in babies. Adding specially formed probiotics for a newborn, in their milk can act on the reflex caused in their system and will help in easing them out from the gas produced in the body. Mothers who breastfeed their child can also intake probiotic yogurt in their diet.
#6 Gap between Feeds
Try to provide milk to your baby at frequent intervals. This will prevent babies to have longer gaps in between their feeds and reduce the reflex caused. A little feed followed by burping and then some play time can be followed by another feed. By doing this, a gap is maintained in the feeds and baby will be less colic.
#7 Enabling proper latch during feed
If the baby is breastfed, ensure that the latch is established in a correct way. An improper latch can cause choking in babies if they swallow the breast milk too quickly and this might make them vomit.
#8 Keep a check on the mother’s diet
Breast milk is constituted by the nutrients in the mother’s body. So, a mother’s diet should involve all the essential vitamins and minerals. Avoiding foods that might cause allergies or reactions is very essential. During breastfeeding, mothers can try to stay away from trying new foods or gassy substance so that is not passed on to the baby.
Read: How to Soothe a Crying Baby in Minutes?
#9 Don’t make the baby lie all during the day
Babies at early days are hard to entertain. Their vision and hearing levels are very limited but this shouldn’t be a reason as to keep them in bed all day. Taking babies on walks in carriers or prams. Fresh air and surrounding not only brings in a change in our minds but also to babies.
#10 Avoid overfeeding
One of the most common problems all mothers go through is the dilemma of figuring out if their babies have been fed enough. Feeding a baby more than he can consume can also be a reason for vomiting. Try to avoid overfeeding them. Don’t assume that each time a baby cries is because he is hungry.
Is spitting up a sign of something serious?
By following the tips mentioned above, moms can curb vomiting & spit up in babies. There is no baby in the world, who has not gone through a phase of vomiting in their life. If your baby is vomiting or spitting up persistently, it is always advisable to consult a doctor and follow their recommendations.
Want to share your mommy experience with other moms through words or images? Become a part of the Moms United community. Click here and we will get in touch with you