Many babies will vomit after they are born. They will vomit when they are a little excited. Vomiting is a common occurrence in newborns that often leaves parents feeling distressed and concerned. While occasional vomiting after feeding is normal, persistent or forceful vomiting could point to an underlying health condition.
Vomiting accounts for up to 36% of neonatal visits to the emergency department. Sometimes it's just a little bit of spillage, but sometimes it's a lot of vomiting all over the nostril and mouth...At the scene of such a large-scale disaster, mother is always scared and collapsed. Why does baby vomit frequently? Is this abnormal? What can I do to prevent baby from vomiting milk?
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the causes of vomiting in newborns, tips for managing it at home, and guidance on when medical attention is warranted. Read on for insights into caring for your vomiting baby. Let me tell you!
Why does a newborn vomit?
Baby vomiting is divided into physiological vomiting and pathological vomiting.
Most of the vomiting is physiological, mainly because the baby's digestive system is not yet developed, and the cardia is relatively loose. After the milk is consumed, the abdomen is slightly forced, and the vomiting will occur. In addition, the mother's incorrect feeding position to the baby and the baby’s intolerance to the formula (need to replace part of the hydrolyzed formula) can also cause vomiting.
Physiological vomiting is very common. As long as the baby is not uncomfortable, the mother does not have to worry too much, usually, it will be much relieved after 6-8 months.
However, pathological vomiting will cause more vomiting and may be accompanied by fever, crying, etc. Mothers must learn to judge. Here are the common issues.
The immaturity of a newborn's esophagus often leads to reflux, causing milk to back up and spill out. This common condition, also called spitting up, usually resolves as the baby grows and the esophagus matures, especially after introducing solids.
Gastrointestinal infections like viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) as well as other infections can prompt vomiting in babies. Watch for accompanying symptoms like diarrhea and fever that indicate sickness.
Food Allergies and Poisoning
Allergies to ingredients in formula or a breastfeeding mother's diet can cause allergic reactions leading to vomiting. Also, accidental poisoning from contaminated foods or chemicals can irritate the stomach and cause vomiting.
In general, vomiting or stomach cramps starts 2 to 4 hours after eating high-risk food. Therefore, you will have to go back a little bit earlier in the day to see if you have eaten any impure food.
Know more here: Feeding Baby: How to Avoid Food Allergies - WebMD.
Overfeeding and Congenital Issues
Overfeeding either breastmilk or formula is a common cause of newborn vomiting. Congenital conditions like pyloric stenosis also frequently lead to projectile vomiting in infants.
Intussusception and Serious Conditions
Intussusception, where part of the intestine telescopes into another, causes vomiting along with other concerning symptoms. Any serious condition like infections or bowel obstruction can result in vomiting too.
Intussusception is most common in babies 5 to 9 months old, but older children also can have it. Boys get intussusception more often than girls.
When to Seek Medical Care for Vomiting
While occasional vomiting after feeds is normal, some circumstances warrant medical assessment:
- Vomiting lasting over a day or occurring repeatedly
- Projectile or forceful vomiting
- Vomit that is green/yellow, bloody, or resembles coffee grounds
- Signs of dehydration - dry lips/mouth, sunken eyes, reduced tears
- Unusual diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Fever over 38°C/100.4°F
- Lethargy, difficulty breathing, or other concerning symptoms
If vomiting persists, it can lead to dehydration and aspiration pneumonia. Seeking timely medical care is crucial.
Home Remedies for Mild Vomiting
For babies with mild vomiting after feeds, try these remedies after consulting your pediatrician:
- Feed smaller volumes more frequently
- Burp after every few ounces or every 5 minutes of breastfeeding
- Keep baby upright for 30 minutes after feeding
- Use small-hole nipples to control milk flow for bottle-feeding
- Try different feeding positions to minimize reflux
- Discuss oral rehydration solutions if vomiting persists
Home treatment focuses on preventing dehydration and gently settling the stomach while monitoring for worsening symptoms.
Preventing Vomiting in Newborns
Parents can employ various feeding techniques and lifestyle measures to minimize regurgitation and vomiting episodes:
Feed Smaller Volumes
Overfeeding is a prime cause of infant vomiting. Watch for cues of fullness and refrain from forcing more food when the baby turns away. Smaller bottle size will help.
Slow, Proper Feeding
Feed slowly, keep the nipple full, and ensure a tight latch when breastfeeding. This prevents the baby from swallowing excess air, which can lead to vomiting. More bottle feeding guidance here.
Burping between and after feeds releases built-up gas bubbles, providing relief from gastric pressure that induces vomiting.
Keeping the baby upright, whether held or in a seat, facilitates digestion after feeding and minimizes reflux. You can check this blog for more position guides: 7 Breastfeeding Positions for Nursing Moms.
Special Bottles and Positions
Small-hole nipples control the milk flow from bottles. Experimenting with different positions can help find the optimal one for reflux-prone babies.
Find the breast pump flange size guide here.
Frequently Asked Questions about Baby Vomiting
Q1: Is occasional vomiting normal for newborns?
It is common for newborns to vomit small amounts after feeding. However, excessive, forceful, or consistent vomiting requires medical evaluation.
Q2: How is vomiting different from spitting up?
Vomiting refers to forceful ejection of large amounts of stomach contents, sometimes projectile. Spitting up is gentle and involves a small amount of milk.
Q3: What are signs of vomiting from food allergy?
Allergy symptoms like hives, facial swelling, and rashes accompanying vomiting after eating particular foods indicate a possible food allergy.
Q4: Can a mother's diet cause vomiting?
Yes, foods like dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy in a breastfeeding mother's diet can cause allergies and vomiting in some babies. Eliminating suspect foods helps.
Q5: When should I introduce solids to help with vomiting?
Introducing solids between 4-6 months, as guided by a pediatrician, can help reduce reflux-related vomiting in infants. Starting solids early without assessing developmental readiness can be counterproductive.
Vomiting is quite prevalent in newborns and is often self-resolving. However, persistent or bilious vomiting, dehydration, dietary issues, and congenital conditions can underlie the problem in some babies. Being vigilant about symptoms, following safe feeding practices, and seeking timely medical care when required can help manage vomiting effectively.
Maintaining a detailed record of feeding and vomiting patterns aids the healthcare provider in determining the appropriate course of action for your baby. With the right mix of care, awareness, and treatment, the issue can be tackled with minimal discomfort for your little one.
Fact Checked by Momcozy Nov. 15, 2023.