Spitting Up in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Almost all babies spit up, especially newborns. Spitting up decreases when the muscles of the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach, become more coordinated. This process can take as little as 6 months or as long as 1 year.

Spitting up should not be confused with vomiting. Vomiting is forceful and may be repeated. Spitting up may seem forceful but usually occurs shortly after feeding. It is effortless and causes no discomfort. A baby may spit up for no reason at all. But vomiting may be caused by a more serious problem.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Feed your baby smaller amounts at each feeding.
  • Feed your baby slowly.
  • Hold your baby upright-head higher than the belly-during and after feedings.
    • Don't prop your baby's bottle.
    • Don't place your baby in an infant seat during feedings.
  • Try a new type of bottle, or use a nipple with a smaller opening. This can reduce how much air your baby swallows.
  • Limit active and rough play after feedings.
  • Try putting your baby in different positions during and after feeding.
  • Burp your baby often during feedings.
  • Do not add cereal to formula without first talking to your doctor.
  • Do not smoke when you are feeding your baby.
  • If you think a food allergy may be the cause of spitting up, talk to your doctor about starting your baby on hypoallergenic formula.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your baby appears to be vomiting instead of spitting up.
  • There is yellow or green liquid (bile) in your child's spit-up.
  • Vomit shoots out in large amounts.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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