Spitting up is common among babies. From the age of 0-12 months, you’ll see your little one spitting up after every feed or sometimes after every meal. In most cases, this happens because your baby has an immature digestive tract. There are also few other reasons, but once your baby turns 1 and starts to sit properly, the reflux will disappear on its own.
While growing up, babies go through many phases. For parents, some of them are beautiful while some are fearful, and spitting up is one of them.
We know it may be terrifying for you to see your tinny one spitting up frequently. But don’t worry! In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about this reflux.
Why does my baby spit up when laid down?
Every newborn baby, formula-fed or breastfed, tends to spit up shortly after having milk.
According to the statistics, more than 50% of babies regularly spit up in the first few months after being born.
It usually happens because their digestive system hasn’t been matured or fully developed. This is more commonly known as acid reflux.
However, there are 2 types of these refluxes, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD).
What is Gastro-Esophageal Reflux (GER)?
Gastro-Esophageal reflux happens because the infants have a weak lower esophageal sphincter.
Due to this, the stomach content in your little one’s stomach comes back to the esophagus, a tube that connects the mouth and stomach, and he becomes unable to digest food.
As a result of all this, babies spit up when laid down or, in other words, regurgitate. However, this kind of reflux is considered harmless, and once your baby’s muscles start to mature, the spitting up with grow less and less.
What is Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)?
The GERD happens when the esophageal sphincter becomes weak and does not function properly. It is considered a more severe kind of reflux.
Here are the signs of babies suffering from GERD:
- Will not eat enough or refuse to eat.
- Have weight gain issues.
- Irritated, especially during meals or even while breastfeeding.
- Crying for more than 3 hours a day, without any medical reason.
- Frequent and forceful vomiting.
- Spits up more than 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
- Unable to sleep properly.
- Have fewer wet diapers than usual.
When you notice 4-5 of these signs, it’s better to consult your pediatrician. The doctor may check if your baby has breathing issues or not. If he thinks the reflux is severe, he may prescribe medication or other valuable tips to help your little one feel better.
Other reasons why babies spit up when laid down
Besides GER and GERD, several reasons can become the cause of your little one’s frequent spitting up.
One of the most common reasons babies spit up is because they are overfed. Most parents believe that by filling their baby’s stomach full, he might sleep a little longer.
But by doing this, you’ll make him more uncomfortable, and you might get to suffer more throughout the night.
Feeding quickly, especially before bed:
Feeding babies too quickly before their bedtime is nothing but a recipe for disaster. Babies tend to swallow air when if they are fed quickly, which soon turns into air bubbles.
Afterward, when you put down your baby for a nap, the air rises and pushes out the food in the form of a spit-up.
Heavy milk supply:
This may sound weird, but an excessive milk letdown can also cause trouble for your tiny one. When you have a heavy supply of milk, it becomes tough for him to swallow.
As a result, he will move his mouth away from the breast to take a deep breath and sallow down the air. And this can again become the reason for him spitting up.
Fail to burp after feeding:
Burping is very important after you feed your child. It ensures that any excess gas comes out of your little one, and he sleeps peacefully throughout the night.
Your baby may also spit because of your food allergies or sensitivity. It is proven that when a mother breastfeeds her baby, all the allergies that a mother faces are transferred to the child through breast milk.
Essential tips to help ensure babies doesn’t spit up when laid down
As mentioned earlier, in cases of GER, you have nothing to worry about because, with time, your little one will outgrow it. Nevertheless, you can use these tips to make sure the spitting up doesn’t become serious.
- Feed him before he gets super hungry.
- Feed your baby in an upright position.
- After feeding, hold him or keep him in an upright or inclined position for at least 30 minutes.
- Avoid moving around your baby too much right and limiting the playtime for 20 minutes after feeding.
- Feed him less milk but more frequently.
- Burp him after every 1-2 ounces.
- If your baby is formula-fed, use the right kind of feeding supplies. The hole in the bottle must not be too large because then the milk will come out quickly. It should not be too small as well because then it can cause air bubbles to form.
- Try changing your little one’s formula if you’re giving him one.
- You can incline one side of the bed. It means to keep his head a little higher than the rest of his body, as it helps babies sleep more peacefully. But only do this after consulting with your doctor.
- You can also give your little one a pacifier while he sleeps because, according to WebMD, “pacifiers do the same job as chewing gum does for adults.” But keep it as your last resort as pacifiers come with long and short-term complications.
What if a newborn spits up while sleeping?
There is nothing to worry about if your newborn spits up while sleeping. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “babies who are put to bed on their backs can protect their airways if they spit up.” But if you’re concerned about it, then you can elevate their sleeping mattress a few inches to keep their head high than their body.
Does spit up count as burp?
Yes, some babies tend to spit up when you are burping them. While feeding some of them sallow air which ends up making them fuzzy and uncomfortable. During this, if you continue to feed them, they are likely to sallow even more air which can lead to spitting up.
Can baby choke on spit up with pacifier?
No, there is no evidence found that pacifiers can cause any harm to the baby while spitting up. In fact, AAP recommends giving it to the babies during nap time and bedtime. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, “pacifiers should be used when placing the baby on bed to avoid the incidence of SIDS.”
All and all, spitting up is fine among babies. My son was a big-time spitter, but gladly he never had any severe reflux issues.
Wherever I go, I also took plenty of outfits and burp cloths. And as he grew older, the reflux settled down eventually. Not only this, but plenty of friends also went through this phase, but all of their kids are doing just fine now.
Some of them used medicines while some carefully followed all the tips. Hang in there! This too shall pass. But if you see no improvement in your baby’s condition, then do consult the doctor right away.