35 answers

Coughing Until Throwing Up

I am having my first sick baby experience and it's freaking me out!
My five-month-old girl has a cough, and sometimes she coughs until she throws up - she did it last night and tonight. She just suddenly starts gagging and coughing, and today she started turning blue so I turned her over and she threw up. Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do?

I've been running a humidifier and put a wedge under her crib sheet to elevate her at night, to help her sleep. She coughs a lot during the night so we don't get too much sleep. This has been going on for about two weeks now.

Your advice is very much appreciated!

UPDATE: She has gone about 24 hours without having a coughing fit, so no throwing up today, thank goodness! I actually took her to the dr. about 2 weeks ago for diarrhea and a stuffy nose - he said she had a virus and hay fever. Also, about a week ago I called the dr. at night after a long day of coughing and she said to use a humidifier and to have her sleep in an elevated position, but not to bring her in. Since it has been another week, I'll call again to see if I need to bring her in. Thanks for all the suggestions and advice!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

The pediatrician said throwing up episodes were most likely related to mucus drainage due to hay fever. Since then, my daughter contracted a cold virus and has been sick all over again! But no more coughing/gagging spells, thank goodness. Whew. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice! It was very helpful. I didn't know about the Baby Vicks etc. which is great to know. And I don't have family around, and my friends don't have kids, and I was extremely worried and feeling kind of out there by myself.

Featured Answers

The doctor gave my daughter a nebulizer with abuterol prescription. Another child in daycare has a similar problem and was given a nebulizer with a pulmicort prescription. Good luck. db

she could have a dairy allergy- -My kids used to do this-- seriously coughing & then puking in their beds 2-3 nights a week--- it ended up they were allergic to milk & eggs...once we cut them out, the coughing stopped

You didn't say, but I would call the Dr. could be nothing, could be something. I'm just scarred that the mucus could build up and impede her breathing, that happened to my friend and she had to do CPR. Just call the Dr.

More Answers


My 4 yr old son has asthma since he was 2ish. He also has always coughed until he throws up. From what I've seen through his experience, although uncomfortable, this is good b/c they get the Flem(sp?) out of their little lungs.

I would suggest a pill or something behind and in front of the child so that they don't turn over on their tummy or back therefore avoiding choking on their throw-up.

Elevation is good, pillows, humidifier and be sure to have her sleep on her side so that if she does cough up, she will not choke. Just keep an eye on her through the night.

Although its not a good practice, when my son was sick, we'd keep him in our bed between us and with a box of tissues and a bunch of towels up-top-by our heads incase he'd start coughing and throw up.

My son is now 4 and he doesn't throw up anymore (crossing my fingers) and his asthma is actually getting better, he's what I classify as a "Weather Asthmatic"...only gets sick with the change of weather and year by year, we've noticed that his immune system has grown stronger...

Hopefully its the same for your baby...

Let me know if you need additional advice.

Take care and good luck.


1 mom found this helpful

You may want to take her to her dr. to make sure she doesn't have RSV, which is a serious respiratory infection.


She might be allergic to something in her bed and/or bedroom. If you want to explore that avenue, I suggest you take her to someone certified in NAET (a technique that cures allergies). My Grand daughter when a baby was treated by Dr. David Karaba in Fullerton with awesome results.

Best wishes,


Hi R.....yes, I agree that the doctor needs to evaluate her. She could have RSV. It's very common for infants this age at this time of year to get it.

I agree with your only other response! Get her to the Dr. IMMEDIATELY! Please let us know what happens!

Hi R.,

What I did with my baby was to place baby vicks in her chest, back and feet. Make sure you cover her feets with socks. This does work. I known it sounds funny but I was desperate like you and then I remember my mom use to do this with me. It will get better.:P

Take her to the doctor.....2 weeks is too long.

Call your dr.-croup has been going around.

The doctor gave my daughter a nebulizer with abuterol prescription. Another child in daycare has a similar problem and was given a nebulizer with a pulmicort prescription. Good luck. db

i was told yesterday that the croup is going around in los angeles. i would get her to the dr asap, and maybe start adding minute doses of powdered or crystal vitamin C (sodium ascorbate) to her milk or formula. be careful not to give to much because it can cause diarrhea at large doses.

See your ped. We had the same problem with my son and he was able to give us a decongestent (i know i spelled that wrong!) and a cough syrup that was safe for that age.

she could have a dairy allergy- -My kids used to do this-- seriously coughing & then puking in their beds 2-3 nights a week--- it ended up they were allergic to milk & eggs...once we cut them out, the coughing stopped

I agree with the other mommies....Doctor time!! It seems mucousy and drippy, which needs to get dried up with meds. It's goig down her throat instead, making her throw up. Get her on some meds for that.

You did not mention she has seen a doctor, if she hasn't go take her, before it ends up really bad ( geeze )

My daughter did this too, like every time she got sick it happened for weeks. Put her to sleep in her infant carrier so her head stays elevated, forget the wedge, they just roll off of that. If she is formula fed, switch to a soy formula. When my daughter was older, we gave her soymilk instead of cows milk and it helped tremendously. Give her a very long, hot shower before bed and first thing in the morning, this will help to drain all of the mucous. slather on the vics vaporub (they have a baby version) and suck out her nose all the time. Good luck

I just took my 6 month old in for the same reasons, and they told me it was just viral (a cold). The Doc. said often times babies will cough till they vomit. But she did say if she is having trouble breathing or has a fever to bring her back in. We have been putting her in her bouncy chair to sleep and putting the chair in a pack n play, it really helps to keep her up right as well as the humidifier, tylenol and I even bought baby vicks to put on her chest (recommended for babies 3 months and up)
Hope this helps, also you had mentioned this has been going on for awhile, I would take your baby to the Doc. if it's been more then a week. There could be something else wrong.
Good Luck I know it's so hard to see babies suffer.

My son used to do the same thing, he would cough until he threw up but not that young. We later found out that he had asthma. It would get really bad when it rained. He would also cry until he coughed and eventually threw up. My advice is to ask the doc to check for asthma.

Many times it can be attributed to the increased mucus production that dairy causes. Decreasing or stopping the dairy for a week might help. Is she bottle fed or breastfed? And this combined with a gag reflex can do it.

We had that with my 3rd. She is allergic to mail (dairy) and at one point had pneumonia (walking). We didn't know she had pneumonia because she seemed fine but I took her to the Dr. upon my SIL's suggestion and it turned out she did. Take her to the doctor and explain what's going on.

The mucus was causing her to cough, especially at night with the pneumonia and because she was coughing so much and so hard, it caused her to vomit.

I experienced similar symptoms when my daughter had a sinus infection, especially the coughing at night and throwing up when coughing forcefully. It is difficult for sinus infections to be detected in infants and toddlers, which as a result gives the infection time to build up in the sinuses to the point where it drains backwards and the mucus comes up when coughing. If the mucus irritates the lining of the lungs it can also cause respiratory symptoms. I am not diagnosing your daughter by any means, but you may ask your pediatrician do a thorough exam of her ears, nose and throat to eliminate that possibility.
Also, as challenging as it is to deal with the anxiety of not knowing what is causing your daughter's symptoms, be patient and open. If you trust your daughter, listen to your gut/intuition and get information from your pediatrician you can't go wrong in trying until you find what works.
Best wishes,

my nephew did that and we found out that he had asthma

Vomiting after coughing spells is a sign of pertussis. I don't mean to scare you, but it is serious and you should definitely get to the doctor fast! I hope she is better soon.

You didn't say, but I would call the Dr. could be nothing, could be something. I'm just scarred that the mucus could build up and impede her breathing, that happened to my friend and she had to do CPR. Just call the Dr.

I hope everything works out!! Please let us know if she is okay...

Like everyone knows, the first time is so hard! Good luck, and don't be afraid to just go to your doctor's office...even when they say to wait. Follow your gut and your heart. I think I was at the doctor so much, and am glad I did insist. My son, had terrible ear infections and we found out they were a result of his allergies, and ashtma! Four months of colds, and exhaustion, but be persistent and you'll get answers to those hardpressed questions.

I would call a doctor right away and tell him/her about the incident where she turned blue - not to freak you out anymore, but this could be more than your typical cough.

I'd call the Dr. She could have Croup. Especially if you notice symptoms are worse at night.

Visit www.askdrsears.com and read what they say about croup to see if it sounds like your daughter.

I hope she is feeling better soon!

i just saw your update. i hope she is feeling better. as im reading this i am listening to my 4 yr old cough in her sleep. she just started last night but tonight was complaining that her ear was hurting. i will be calling the dr. in the morning. :)

Our children's doctor said that if a child coughs to the point of throwing up, there could be respiratory issues involved (asthma, for example). Call your doctor asap--she may require medication.

Take her to the Doctor.... she is also under 6 months old... you want to make sure she does not have pneumonia or anything... and just to check to see what it is exactly.

Also, make EXTRA sure that she does not aspirate anything into her lungs since she is gagging/throwing up/coughing.. this is very dangerous.

Take her right away! Or to the ER if you have to.
2 weeks is too long to be waiting and trying things that don't work. Don't guess. Just have her looked at by a Doctor.

All the best,

Dear God you scared me thinking of my child turning blue and just happen-chance checking on him to find him this way. Please go see your doctor. If the mucus is so thick that she is turning blue then I would suggest having her checked out.

If you haven't done so already, I would recommend calling your pediatrician. They always want to know if a child is turning blue.

I know this sounds weird, but trust me, it really works. Befroe you put her to bed at night (or even during the day since she isn't walking) put some vapor rub on the sole's of her feet and cover them with socks. You can use the baby version of the vapor rub if you want. My daughter use to have a really bad cough, especially at night, and I found that somehow this actually stops the coughing. Also, when I finally did take my daughter to the dr the dr said that if I child coughs for more than 1 week it could very well be a sinus infection and should be seen as soon as possible. She will have no other symptoms (such as a fever or discharge).
If you have any questions you can contact me by e-mail at: ____@____.com Good luck and keep me posted...

I have 4 kids and 2 did this. I think some just have a strong gag reflex or something. I had twin girls, now 4, and one always did it when she was little. She grew out of it by about 2.

My on who is now 6 still does it. Anytim he would get a cold if he coughed enough he would throw up. It is actully more of a spit up, then a throw up at this age.

I would just put them in my bed when they were sick. Then I didn't have to worry about them choking and I could get a decent night's sllep. If they started coughing in their sleep I oould prpr them up which would help and I would have a tupperware bedside I could grab just incase.

Good luck!

R., sweetie....for future notice. Two weeks is too long for any kind of cold. after seven days if something isn't clearing up there is a possible infection. You were doing all the right things but don't second guess yourself. Trust your gut. Don't be afraid to call your doctor! That's their job. And never let them bully you! You are your child's only advocate and they get paid a lot.

God Bless

My pediatrician told me to give my daughter either black tea iced, or unfiltered grape juice from Trader Joe's. He handed me a whole report about tannins effect on this coughing-so-hard-they-vomit thing. Both remedies WORKED!

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