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Why do Babies spit up?

Updated at: Jan 28, 2013
Newborn Care
Written by: Vatsal AnandPublished at: Mar 24, 2011
Why do Babies spit up?

Many parents are bewildered as to why do babies spit up. In most cases, babies spitting up food is a natural occurrence. Read on to find out if your baby is what experts call a 'Happy Spitter.

Cute Baby SpittingBabies spit up often but mostly it is not because of any medical condition. While it may be a nuisance for you but it is not always due to what is called gastroesophagael reflux; a disease. Other than that, your baby is most likely to be what paediatricians call a “happy spitter”. A happy spitting baby's lower part of the swallowing organ, the oesophagus is not developed enough to tighten for preventing the swallowed food from moving back up to the mouth.

How to know whether my baby is a 'Happy Spitter' or not?


Babies spit up or vomit from time to time. There are some who do it after every feed. After a spit up, look for the following symptoms.

  • Your baby is contented.
  • Shows no uneasiness.
  • Your baby does not have any breathing problems due to vomiting.
  • S/he has had a normal growth all through his few months of life.

If your little bundle of joy displays all the above symptoms, then she is a "a happy spitter" and does not need any treatment. You can expect this problem to end after 4 to 5 months or at most by the time she celebrates his first birthday.


Does your baby suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


If you find that your baby’s spit up is accompanied with great discomfort, it may be diagnosed as GERD. Its symptoms are

  • Pain from heartburn caused by acidic  stomach contents in the oesophagus.
  • Choking, gagging, wheezing or coughing or any kind of breathing problem. In some extreme cases, pneumonia is caused by stomach contents getting sucked into the lungs; a condition called aspiration.
  • Poor growth as all nutrition is lost due to vomiting.


You need to visit your paediatrician who will diagnose and treat this condition.


For those parents who are worried about this problem, the following tips are handy:

  • Keep the baby upright during and after his feeding. Let gravity help the food in staying put in the stomach.
  • Try not to do anything which puts pressure on the baby’s stomach after his feeding. For instance, wait for 30 minutes after his feed if you want to put him in a car seat for driving out.
  • Try to thicken the baby’s food by adding cereals like rice. They are heavier than milk and are likely to stay down in the stomach. However, try and avoid this method because rice is not as nutritious as milk for the baby, rather it just helps to keep the food from moving up the oesophagus.


Babies spitting up may not be the most pleasant part of parenting, but if one is a “happy spitter”, it is not advisable to use medication for stopping it. It should be taken as a normal routine occurrence.




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