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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
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Spitting Up by Infants - Brief Version

What is spitting up?

Spitting up is the effortless loss of one or two mouthfuls of stomach contents. Milk just rolls out of the mouth, often with a burp. It usually happens shortly after feedings. Spitting up usually happens between birth to 1 year of age. More than half of all infants spit up to some degree.

Babies spit up because the valve (ring of muscle) at the top of the stomach does not close very well. Your baby will stop spitting up as he gets older.

How can I help my child?

  • Feed smaller amounts.

    Overfeeding always makes spitting up worse. If the stomach is completely full, spitting up is more likely. Give smaller amounts (at least 1 ounce less than you have been giving). Wait at least 2 and 1/2 hours between feedings.

  • Avoid pressure on your child's stomach.

    Avoid tight diapers. They put added pressure on the stomach. Don't let people play roughly with your baby right after meals.

  • Keep your child in an upright position after meals.

    After meals, try to keep your baby in an upright position using a frontpack, backpack, or swing for 30 minutes.

Call your child's doctor right away if:

  • Any blood is seen in the spit-up material.
  • The spitting up causes your child to choke or cough.

Call your child's doctor during office hours if:

  • Your baby doesn't seem to improve with this approach.
  • Your baby does not gain weight normally.
  • You have other concerns or questions.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems