19 answers

Excessive Spit-up- How Much Is Too Much?

This last week or two my breastfed daughter has spit-up . . . a ton. Sometimes I feel like she spits up everything that she just ate. My first daughter spit-up a bit as well, but nothing compared to this. We go through so many clothes, bibs, and burp cloths! We have an appt scheduled for next week with the doc for a weight check and consult. At two weeks she had gained quite a bit. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions would be appreciated!

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Featured Answers

Hi H., I am a a mother of two boys. They are now 13 and 7. My 7 year old spit up all the time, so I now exactly what you are going through!! My baby thrived just fine, but anyone who held him had better be dressed for it!! It is a bit messy, but my pediatrician told me that by six months, he should stop. And, he did. So just be patient and prepared for the spit up. It doesn't last forever!

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This happens frequently i had 2 girls and both were csection babies -- dont know if that had anything to do with it but the youngest spit up a lot i thought all she had eaten -- now i hear that this happens when a valve into the stomach does not close keeping the feeding down -- take heart they outgrow it at about 10 months to a year

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More Answers

Both of my daughter's have had dairy allergies and this sounds familiar. You'll want to cut out all dairy from your diet, and should see results in 2 weeks.

Avoid:
casein (dairy protein)
whey
lactic acid (some is from beets, but will say on pkg)
cheese
butter
yogurt
milk
creams

you can google all the names for dairy.

Also be careful of dairy hidden in items- rotisserie chickens, any baked goods, sweets, smoothies, coffee drinks, etc.

Good alternatives for cooking and baking are
rice milk
hemp milk
almond milk

soy is okay too, but sometimes it can make your hormones imbalanced, and i find the taste of it unpleasant.

hope this helps!

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H.:

it is difficult to tell... but... often spitting up is just a laundry issue/ if you are concerned then it is important to seek assistance... you md or maybe a lactation consultant.

P., RLC, IBCLC
Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions

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Alternative possibilities:
1) You may have oversupply, which can cause a breastfed baby to consume a lot of milk quickly, but then have to spit up later. From what I understand, the baby eats a lot of foremilk, which promotes good weight gain, but sometimes doesn't get enough hindmilk, which creates a satisfied feeling from fats. So she'd want to eat a lot, could gain a lot, and often spits up.

2) Your baby may have reflux, and might need a combination of a med like Zantac, which helps lower stomach acidity, and physical changes, like keeping her upright and relatively unjiggled following a feeding. Those together could help her keep her food down better, and would also make spitting up less of a discomfort for her.

I don't discount the possibility of allergy that others have brought up, but when we faced this problem with my now-17-monther, it turned out that we needed a lactation consultant more than an elimination diet (which I did, for weeks and weeks). If I were you, I'd bring all these ideas in to the doctor on your next visit. Good luck!

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Could she possibly be allergic to your breast milk. My nieces both did the same thing because they were allergic and had to be switched to soy milk.

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In my experience some kids are just barfy. I would take your cues from her. Is she happy? Does she seem upset by the barfing? Is she gaining weight? If it doesn't seem to be bothering her or affecting her weight gain, I would avoid any medication. Keep her upright after meals and consider giving her smaller meals.

I would also check your diet. Is there something new that you've added in the last week or so? She may be reacting to something you ate that doesn't agree with her.

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Hi, H..

The last 3 of my 5 kids had bad cases of reflux. My littlest is still on medication for it and he just turned one. It seems to be diagnosed somewhere around 2 or 3 weeks, so that seems about right. I would check with the pediatrician. I myself would be careful with a diagnosis of milk allergy. With my kids, I cut out all of my milk, cheese, etc. and this was successful for the most recent guy. One of the others needed intestinal surgery and the other one, it made no difference. But I will tell you, if you are insistent on breastfeeding, you may be discouraged from doing so on many different levels...I was told by my pediatrician more than once that I should switch to formula which I did not do. But just know that if you are hell bent on it, there is a way, probably with meds, to continue the breastfeeding. You just may have to work really hard at it and sacrifice some foods.

Good luck!

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My son spit up a ton as well. The Doc said that as long as he is gaining weight he was not concerned. My mom, MIL everyone said that he was spitting up too much but the fact was that he was gaining the amount he was supposed to. So as long as she is gaining wt, you might have to deal with the spit up. Contact your lactation consultant for help as well. I went once a week for a few months they weighed him and then I could find out how much he was getting.

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All my kids were spitters...my first the worst...people actually brought a change of clothes when they came over! It gets better with age....we tried everything...smaller meals, proping her up after eating, I changed my diet by eliminating certain things like dairy....nothing worked she was just a spitter...by 1 she was basically done

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for my dd it was a dairy allergy (not sensitivity or lactose intolerance) - she did not have weight gaining issues though

for other kids it can be any food she or you (if bf) eats.

children's memorial allergists are great - 800-kids-doc

as is www.kidswithfoodallergies.org

use your instincts. i knew it was dairy at 2 weeks. switched to soy formula (supplemented w/ bf). my breast milk gave her eczema. It wasn't confirmed until 10 months (4 hrs vomiting straight) when we introduced milk. Dr. ignored it said try again at 11 months. Same thing. Went to allergist and confirmed.

green poop is another indicator

good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

This happens frequently i had 2 girls and both were csection babies -- dont know if that had anything to do with it but the youngest spit up a lot i thought all she had eaten -- now i hear that this happens when a valve into the stomach does not close keeping the feeding down -- take heart they outgrow it at about 10 months to a year

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with everyone who said as long as your daughter is gaining weight steadily, she is fine. She may have a dairy sensitivity, so I would try cutting that out of your diet for awhile, but it's possible she's just a spitter. My son went through several burp cloths a day for the first several months of his life. He is 13 months old now and very occasionally still spits up a tiny bit.

I read something that said spitting up is not a health problem, it's a laundry problem. I wouldn't worry too much, as long as your pediatrician says she's OK.

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Has this been happening since she was born? Sounds to me like a dairy sensitivity. My older son would projectile vomit. My other son would spit up a lot and had green watery stool. They too were still gaining weight. If it is indeed a dairy sensitivity and you would like to continue bfing, you need to remove ALL dairy from your system (including chocolate, bread that has dairy in it, etc...) After you've done that, you could have a day of eating dairy like crazy to see how it affects her. It's possibly that she may be able to tolerate yogurt and kefir in your milk, but my sons could not.

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Hi H., I am a a mother of two boys. They are now 13 and 7. My 7 year old spit up all the time, so I now exactly what you are going through!! My baby thrived just fine, but anyone who held him had better be dressed for it!! It is a bit messy, but my pediatrician told me that by six months, he should stop. And, he did. So just be patient and prepared for the spit up. It doesn't last forever!

1 mom found this helpful

My 3-month-old never really spit up much until a few weeks ago. Now it amazes me the volume he is able to spit up and still gain weight. I asked my mom and she said there's nothing to worry about. Apparently my little sister was quite the spitter too. Unless you see color in it (green, red, black), there's nothing to worry about. It looks like more than it really is.

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Hi H.!

I have seven-month-old twin boys who are both breastfed without supplementation. One of them would spit-up one to two ounces after every feeding for about four months. My pediatrician said not to worry about it since he was still gaining a healthy amount of weight. As long as your baby is still gaining enough weight at the next check-up, she's doing well. The doctor said it's more of a laundry problem than a health problem.

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I think you're right to check with your doctor. When my son was 5 weeks old, at one point he spit up enough to fill the space between my thighs with my legs pressed together. He was breastfed too. It started with foul smelling burps. Then large quantities of extremely foul smelling spit-up...sour, curdled breastmilk. He would throw up but didn't seem sick- no fever and he was our first so he didn't seem out of sorts to us. In hindsite he preferred being held verticaly and wasn't very comfortable on his back. This went on for about a week before we went to get checked. When we visited our pediatrician, his weight was ok, but they decided to do an abdominal ultrasound just to be on the safe side. He was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis, a narrowing of the pyloric sphincter which is located where the stomach empties into the small intestine. It was too tight, so the breastmilk was not getting through. It required surgery to be corrected, but it was very simple. When he was admitted to the hospital the day of the ultrasound, he had lost a few ounces. We spent the night in the hospital after the surgery and went home the next day. He was much more comfortable afterwards. It all happened quickly- vomited Sunday, doctor Thursday, ultrasound Friday 7:30am, surgery 11:30am the same day, home Saturday. He has no residual effects and just a small scar on his upper abdomen.

Pyloric stenosis is most common in first born males (doesn't have to be in males or first born though) and is actually pretty common- I don't remember the exact rates (1:100?).

I don't want you to be scared by this. I just want you to be aware that there are things out there other than just reflux that cause excessive amounts of spitting up. The classic finding for pyloric stenosis is projectile vomiting and weight loss, but if you catch it early, it is less distinct.

Remember, you know your daughter best, so if she doesn't seem right to you, follow-up with your doc. Best wishes.

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Sadly for you, so long as she seems comfortable there is probably not much you can do. My daughter was the same way and nothing changed it (not changing my diet or supplementing w/ formula) except time. At her high point we were going through about a dozen bibs per day and using burp clothes like they were going out of style. A lot of people are going to tell you she has reflux. Unless she's in pain (arching her back, crying when she spits up, etc), it's more likely to be an immature sphincter at the top of her asophegous (I can't spell!). Our doctor called it a "laundry problem"; she also warned us to avoid medicating her b/c of this and said that as long as she was gaining weight and acting fine there wasn't much we could do. She used to spit up on the hard wood and splash in it--how's that for acting fine! We got a front-loading washer to be a little more eco friendly given that I was doing at least a load of laundry every day :)

As to suggestions, we found that doubling the burp clothes w/ a traditional cloth diaper first covered with one of the "birdseye", thin ones worked pretty well in terms of protecting ourselves. Also, if she's still spitting up a lot when you start solids, avoid yogurt and squash as both smell VILE coming back up!

Our daughter's spit up petered out at around 11 months... Sorry that I don't have better news for you!

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Both my daughters did this. My first one actually projectile vomited. The second one just was fussy and spit up a lot. Both turned out to have acid reflux (docs tried zantac first with both, wasnt strong enough, switched to Prevacid and problem solved- though its not approved for babies under one, it was the only solution and both were just fine). The first one also needed an additional medication to help push food through her stomach and into her small intestines, but that doesnt seem to be your baby's problem so I wont go further into that.

The antacid stopped some of it but not enough. The next solution was devastating to me both times. It turned out they were both lactose intolerant. They could not have my milk. The first needed hypoallergenic formula, the second just lactose free formula. Soy formula didnt help, we dont know why, perhaps they had an intolerance to soy protien too.

It may also be something you are eating, that's what I was told and tried both times because I wanted to nurse (and was blessed with tons of milk, something many women struggle with- it was really truly a shame). I eliminated all dairy from my diet, nothing. But that was just my own expirience.

Being lactose intolerant is extremely common, so is acid reflux. In fact with the reflux one peditrician told me almost all newborns have it to some degree or another, but many not enough to warrant medication. My nephew had it and was on medication for only a couple months and he grew out of the problem, which is very often the case.

One note, if your doctor dismisses your baby's problem, find a new doctor. It took SIX doctors with my first one before one took me seriously. I persisted because my mommy-instincts told me something was wrong. Again, projectile vomiting isnt your baby's problem, but would you believe that the first five docs simply didnt believe me? The vomit could fly 4-5 feet, hit the wall, but they thought I was just being an over protective over reacting new mother. I remember one said "Have you ever knocked over a 6 oz bottle? Its a LOT of liquid!" to which I replied "Yes I know, I clean that much up off my floor and walls five times a day.", but no, she dismissed me. Still makes me mad, making my baby suffer for 6 months... Anyways! :-)

Hope you find the solution, whatever it ends up being.

p.s. Both my babies gained ample weight. Both were near 30 lbs by their first birthday (which #2 will have in 3 weeks). Does not mean something isnt wrong, just means that whatever it is isnt extremely serioud/deadly.

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She may be sensitive to some things you're eating. Check with a lactation consultant or kellymom.com

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