Spit Ups: Why They Happen + How to Manage Them

December 13, 2017

Look down – is that a little spit up on your shirt? Has your baby started wearing a bib as a permanent accessory? Are you doing laundry all…the…time? Babies spit up a lot. And while it’s one of the not-so-pleasant parts of having a new baby, it’s also completely normal. But by understanding what causes spit ups, you can learn how to prevent them from happening too frequently.

Why Does My Baby Spit Up?

  • Spit ups usually happen as your little one is getting the hang of feedings. As a baby begins breastfeeding, they commonly swallow air as they master an efficient sucking pattern.
  • At the same time, your baby’s digestive system is still developing, so spit ups may happen even if they don’t take in a lot of air.
  • Sometimes, babies nurse faster and more frequently than their little digestive system is used to (but that cry was DEFINITELY the hunger cry…), so they may spit up excess milk.

How Can I Reduce Spit Ups?

  • Hold baby as upright as possible during and after feeding. We know it’s not always possible to keep them completely upright while nursing, but if your baby is especially prone to spit ups, try to nurse in the cradle position or football hold instead of lying down.
  • Don’t wait until your baby is extremely hungry to nurse. Frenzied feedings can cause baby to swallow air while feeding.
  • Keep your baby calm. Many new babies spit up when they are over-stimulated. Try to eliminate distractions during feedings. Frequent interruptions in a feeding may cause your baby to swallow more air and slip out of proper positioning.
  • Try burping after every feeding. Give your baby a chance to release any air bubbles that were created during a feeding.
  • Avoid tummy pressure. After your baby has eaten, try to give them some time to relax in an upright position instead of moving straight to play time, which could cause an unexpected spit up.
  • Allow baby to finish nursing on the first breast completely before offering the second. It’s OK if they don’t take the second breast as babies regulate their own feedings and eat just what they need. Additionally, the fattier hindmilk your baby gets from nursing longer at the breast may even help them keep the milk down better. Switching to shorter, more frequent sessions on both breasts can cause your little one to get the thinner foremilk, which has a higher lactose load and can cause them to spit up, bloat, and cry more.

When Should I Call the Doctor About Spit Ups?

While most spit ups are normal, if you’re concerned about it at all, talk to your pediatrician. You should also contact your pediatrician if your little one is projectile vomiting, if there is green bile in the spit up, if your baby isn’t gaining weight, or if your baby seems in pain or is crying frequently with spit ups.

How did you manage or prevent spit ups with your baby? Share your tips in the comments below.

One thought on “Spit Ups: Why They Happen + How to Manage Them

  1. Pingback: Single & Breastfeeding: Tips for the Super Mom | Medela Moments

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