Why babies spit out food?
When will baby outgrow this?
How can I tell if he’s spitting up or vomiting?
Is spitting up ever a sign of something serious?
Almost all healthy babies experience spitting up in the newborn period. This may vary from small amounts of curdled milk to larger volumes of partially digested milk. The crux of the matter is in making a distinction between possetting (the bringing up or regurgitation of small amounts of digested milk) and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The valve between the lower esophagus and stomach, called the gastro-esophageal sphincter, is a ring of muscle that functions to keep the stomach contents in. This valve tends initially to be immature and weak and may commonly take 4 to 6 months to mature and tighten up. However, some babies still continue to experience spitting up until even 1 year of age.
If a baby vomits in large amounts frequently, exhibits symptoms of frequent arching away in discomfort or pain (effectively due to heartburn) or has poor weight gain, gastro-esophageal reflux disease should certainly be considered. Parents should also be concerned if their baby exhibits the following symptoms: vomiting out of greenish or brownish (coffee-ground appearance) fluid, poor feeding, blood in his or her stool, abdominal distension or breathing difficulty.
4 Tips that parents can consider to reduce the incidence of possetting or vomiting:
1. Keep your baby upright or on an incline for 30-45 minutes after each feed
2. Feeding in smaller volumes but more frequently
3. Frequent burping to reduce the buildup of swallowed air in the stomach
4. For formula-fed babies, there are commercially available milk formulas that help with reflux.
By Dr Kenneth Chua
MBBS (S’pore), FAMS (Paediatrics), MRCPCH (UK)
SBCC Baby & Child Clinic (Hougang)
Blk 805 Hougang Central