Why Do Babies Spit Up?

Spit up: It’s a fact of life for parents of young children. Some babies spit up more than others, or at certain times, but they all do it! But, why do babies spit up?

Causes Of Spitting Up

Babies typically spit up after they gulp down some air with breastmilk or formula. A baby's stomach is small, can't hold a lot of milk, and air can fill it up quickly. Additionally, when your baby has a full stomach, any change in position — such as bouncing or sitting up — can cause them to spit up. 

How To Reduce Spit Up

Healthychildren.org, the resource created and maintained by the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggest 5 things you can do to help reduce your baby’s spit up:

Avoid Overfeeding

It can take some time to figure out the right amount your newborn can eat. If your baby's tummy gets too full too fast, it may come right back up.

Burp Your Baby More Frequently

Extra gas in your baby's stomach can definitely cause spit ups. Burp your baby if they “pop off” the breast or bottle before finishing the feed, and then continue. You can also burp your baby in between sides (if breastfeeding) and at each ounce (if bottle feeding).

Hold Your Baby Upright after a Full Feed

Tummy time is very important for newborns' development; however, placing them on their tummy right after eating can cause spit ups. Give them some time after eating to digest, then play away!

Consider the Formula

Certain formulas can contribute to spitting up. Some babies do better with one formula over another without having an allergy or intolerance. Spitting up may be one of several signs that it may be time to consider a formula switch. Speak with your pediatrician if you have formula concerns.

Breastfeeding Diet

Cow's milk and soy in a breastfeeding mom’s diet can worsen spit up in infants with Cow Milk Protein Intolerance/Allergy (CMPI and CMPA). Removing these proteins may help to reduce or eliminate spit up. 

Understanding Why Babies Spit Up

Knowing why babies spit up and how to help them through it is an essential part of parenthood. Whether it's due to overfeeding, gas, a full stomach, or the type of diet, there are many reasons why babies spit up.

Remember, it's completely normal for babies to spit up, and usually not a cause for concern. However, if you notice that your baby is spitting up excessively, it's always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician to rule out any potential health issues.