I don’t think there is one single baby in the world that has not had a ‘spit up’ been sick or vomit at some time.
Baby vomit like cottage cheese is a search term that gets used often, its perfectly normal baby sick and is explained further down this page in my What should baby vomit look like paragraph.
I would put baby vomiting into two different groups:
The first is through illness and the second is through feeding. So I’m going to break them down into these groups to explain what’s normal baby vomiting and what may need checking out by your doctor.
1)Baby vomiting due to illness:
The most common cause of baby vomiting due to illness is an infection in the gut. This is mainly caused by a virus or bacterial infection.
Most babies immune systems will fight off the infection itself but I would ALWAYS get your baby checked out by a doctor or nurse to get a proper diagnosis.
If your baby is diagnosed with a tummy bug, then offer them their regular feeds but don’t push for them to drink it all.
You could offer them cool boiled water in between feeds as well to keep their fluid levels up.
They may want to feed little and often. If this is the case then offer more milk in between their regular feed times. Doing it this way will make life easier for you when they are well again and you want to get the routine back on track.
2)Baby vomiting related to feeding.
If your one of the lucky parents whose baby only vomits a little or ‘spits up’ after a feed then that’s wonderful and well done baby!
However, most babies tend to have some baby vomiting problems.
I get asked all the time, how much and how often is normal baby vomiting and how much is ok before there is a problem with baby vomiting? What should it look like and what to do if you think your baby has a more severe problem which needs medical help?
How much and how often is ok baby vomiting?
The amount your baby vomits can vary from day to day or baby to baby.
Many of my babies go through sickier stages when they are on a growth spurt.
While their tummies are growing they become a little sensitive when full of milk. When this is happening I often joke with my parents that the baby should have a handle with care label when full attached!
The amount they sick up can be just a teaspoon or it can be the full feed!
If your baby is only vomiting a little dribble or a small amount,for instance up to an ounce of his feed while you wind him that’s ok and please don’t worry.
It may be a bit messy, but if you cover yourself and surrounding furniture with muslin squares then you can minimise any mess.
Signs that baby vomiting is ok and not something to worry about are:
-If your baby is lasting in between feeds and not needing more, then that’s a positive sign they have eaten and kept in enough.
-If your baby is being a little greedy and over feeding at each feed his tummy may be getting rid of any it can’t cope with.
-If your baby is gaining enough weight each week then they are digesting enough milk at each feed.
-If they are usually feeding and keeping in most milk but occasionally sick up the whole feed then as long as their weight is good then that’s fine.
-If baby does vomit the whole feed, then after a little 10 minute break, I tend to offer more milk.
I have had a few babies where they have been very sick, covered everywhere and me and then seemed very hungry and promptly polished off another bottle of milk!
What should baby vomit look like?
Baby vomit straight after a feed should look just like the milk itself. It won’t have been in the stomach long enough to become digested and therefore baby vomit looks like cottage cheese.
Baby vomit an hour after a feed looks just like cottage cheese as its already begun to be digested. It will also smell more like sick.
Babies have a very loose muscle at the top of their stomach which in older children opens and closes well when they eat to keep food in.
With some babies this loose muscle can cause a problem when they lie down as it lets milk flow back up the oesophagus and causes baby vomiting. This is a form of reflux, if you think your baby may have a reflux problem then please take a look here
Propping up their cot or mattress so they lie at a 40 degree angle helps to keep the milk where it should be.
Keeping then upright for 30 minutes after a feed can also help keep milk in the tummy.
What to do with more severe vomiting.
If your baby is vomiting more than one full feed a day, for a day or two I would take them along to the doctors to get them checked out as it may be a tummy bug.
If you are given the all clear by your doctor or nurse but they continue to vomit more than usual, it may be due to reflux. Please go back to get your baby looked at again. Reflux can be very tricky to diagnose, especially if it’s your first baby.
If you think your baby has reflux please check out my baby reflux page.
Babies get dehydrated very quickly so quick action is best. The signs of dehydration are as follows.
Sunken soft spot (foltanelle)
No tears if they cry
If you are worried about your baby vomiting then please seek medical advice quickly.
I hope you have enjoyed reading all about baby vomiting and I hope it has helped to put your mind at rest.
Please help us by clicking the facebook like button at the bottom of this page.