Ways to Prevent Baby From Spitting Up

Written by on October 15, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page


Spitting up is often just what babies do, and while it can be fairly messy and lead to quite a bit of laundry and baby bib shopping for you, it rarely means a very serious problem. As long as baby seems to feel okay and is gaining weight at each doctor’s visit, you have no reason to worry about spit up.

Understanding Why Your Baby Spits Up

In most people, the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve between the esophagus and the actual stomach muscle, keeps the food (or milk) where it should be. In babies, though, that valve hasn’t quite had enough time to mature, so it doesn’t always work like it should. This is particularly true during those first three months. As your baby grows, the valve has time to mature, and spitting up becomes less of an issue. Until that happens, though, any time your baby eats too much or eats something too fast, spitting up can occur. Believe it or not, your baby probably doesn’t even notice he’s spitting up. In most cases, it won’t even cause them to choke or cough, even if they’re sleeping when it happens. You should notice this behavior peak as he hits four months of age. By the time he’s one, you probably won’t notice it at all.

Prevention Methods

If you’re looking to keep this problem to a minimum, there are several things you can do to reduce spit up. You likely won’t eliminate it entirely, but following these tips should help.

  • Make sure your baby isn’t eating too much at once. If you’re packing his little tummy full every time he eats, you’re far more likely to have him spit up on you. If you bottle feed, go ahead and feed him less in a session, but feed him more frequently. If you breastfeed, limit the overall time he spends nursing, but do it more often.
  • Sit up. After your baby eats, if you hold him up for at least fifteen minutes, you’ll find his food may settle better. If you need to, use a front pack or a bouncer seat. You should avoid any real active play after a meal as well as the baby swing.

  • Be sure your baby burps. You’ll want to keep the air from building up in his little tummy while you’re feeding him, so stop frequently to burp him. To get the gas out, sit him up on your lap and support his head with one hand. Pat his back with the other, and a burp is certain to come out.
  • Look carefully at the bottle. You need to make sure the hole in the nipple isn’t too large for your baby. If it is, he’s more likely to have the milk flow out too quickly. If it’s too little, he’ll get frustrated and start gulping air. You’ll know if the nipple is the right size if it allows a few drops of milk to escape when you hold it upside down.
  • Think about what you eat. If you’re breastfeeding your little one, something in your own diet may be causing him to spit up excessively. Talk with your lactation consultant or your doctor about which foods to eliminate.

Normal spitting up won’t hurt your baby. It’s just going to be frustrating as you work through the laundry for the next few months.

Image by glenngould on Flickr

This is a guest post.  Pinkchic18 has a special interest in family life and new babies. She frequently contributes to the Parenting & New Baby Advice Blog, where you can find more parenting advice along with neat baby gift baskets.


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