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How to Deal with Baby Spit Up


Spit up is a way of life for your baby's first year. What should you expect and how can you keep your baby comfortable?

Your baby can give you the sweetest smile, then proceed to have a small fountain of formula come out the side of their mouth. This is why parents generally have burp rags and towels ready to go whenever they are feeding their little one. Most babies will do it. They typically peak at four months, then most babies will grow out of it before they are one year old. How can you tell when spit up is vomit? Is there a way to reduce your baby's spit up (and your clean up)?

Difference Between Spit Up and Vomit

Spit up can be like drool or a small amount of formula that comes up. Your baby will have little, if any, reaction to the incident because there will be no effort on their part when it happens. It can happen during feedings and even an hour or two after.

Vomit is more forceful. It can appear as if the whole bottle is coming out all at once, and your baby may appear more alarmed by the sensation. Projectile vomiting, green bile in the vomit, and weight loss due to vomiting are reasons to contact your pediatrician sooner than later about your baby.

Why Babies Spit Up

There are a number of reasons why babies spit up. It does not matter if your baby is breastfed or formula-fed because it has more to do with your baby's digestion than the food they consume. The following can help you predict when it may happen and how you can minimize the occurrences.

Eating Too Fast

You may have a quick milk letdown or a bottle nipple that is too fast for your baby. When it is too fast, your little one is trying to keep up with the pace and may gulp down air as well as milk. The right nipple can help your baby swallow more formula than air. If it is too slow, however, they may still swallow air in frustrated attempts to get more food. The right balance is a good start.

Eating Too Much

Guidelines are great for recommendations, but your baby will know when they are feeling full. They may turn their head, push the bottle away, or give you some sign that they do not want any more. Do not force the last few drops or else you are setting yourself up for a spit up mess to come. Your baby's digestive system is still developing. Even the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach is trying to get stronger so that it will let food in and not let it back up. When the stomach is too full, the only place it has to go is up.


When your baby starts drooling during teething, the natural reaction is to swallow. The more they swallow, the more likely they are to spit up. This is normal and is not a cause for alarm.

How to Reduce Spit Ups

  • Keep feedings calm and relaxed. Try to start feedings before your baby's cries are frantic. A quiet, one-on-one time together will keep them calm and less likely to spit up.
  • Position is important. During feedings, prop your baby's head slightly. When they are done, help them maintain an upright position and avoid tummy time for at least 30 minutes.
  • Burp. When you burp your baby every few ounces, it relieves any air or gas they may have swallowed. Even if you purchase a bottle set that reduces the amount of air your baby swallows, continue burping.
  • No pressure on the belly. Not only refrain from tummy time for a while, but do not apply anything that can press down on their full stomach. If possible, do not put them in a car seat right after a feeding because the buckle can make their stomach uncomfortable.
  • Consider a different formula. Frequent spit ups can be a sign of reflux. Your pediatrician may recommend a different formula that will stay down and help your baby grow and thrive. Hipp Anti Reflux is a thicker formula because of the organic locust bean gum that helps keep the food down. It is also organic so that there are no artificial ingredients or by-products that can add to your baby's discomfort. If your baby is too young to start cereal, Hipp AR is for babies from birth on. It is easy to digest and helps them feel satisfied.

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