24 answers

Large Amounts of Spit Up

My son has been spitting up basically his whole bottle on average once a day. Before everything comes up he cries and kicks and moves his head all around for long periods of time. I feel bad he is so uncomforatble. I have tried different types of formula including soy and none seem to make a difference. The dr office doesn't seem to be concerned as long as it is only happening once a day and he is gaining weight. Should I be concerned? Anyone have recommendations or answers?

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Two of my sons did that from a few weeks of age to about 3 months. They would projectile vomit large amounts about once a day, but they were otherwise healthy. The doctor was not concerned and they outgrew it on their own. They were breast fed, so it wasn't the formula.

Hi M.:
My son did the same thing from the age of 2 months to 8 months. Sometimes, their stomachs are just so small at that age and they down the whole bottle too fast. It helped when I gave my son small amounts at a time and didn't allow him to drink too fast. The doctors suggested testing him for acid reflux, but we never got the test. Now he is a happy, healthy two year old with no reflux problems. I personally think it's just the way that they drink the formula. If it persists and you are still concerned, you might want to push for a reflux test.

First of all it might seem like he's spitting up the whole bottle, but he's probably not. Second, it sounds like acid reflux. Have you tried carnation good start formula? My second daughter spit up a lot and we switched her to that and it worked much better. You can ask the doctor about putting a little rice cereal in his bottle. Does he do it for the same feeding everyday? Also propping him up in his car seat carrier after he eats will help. Good luck.

M.

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My son did this all the time (with breast milk). Turns out he was taking too much into his stomach. I would try Laura R.'s advice before you worry about a diagnosis for some condition. At least with a bottle you can see how much he is drinking and try to find the amount that doesn't trigger this reaction!

The most important thing is that he is gaining weight and is healthy.

First of all it might seem like he's spitting up the whole bottle, but he's probably not. Second, it sounds like acid reflux. Have you tried carnation good start formula? My second daughter spit up a lot and we switched her to that and it worked much better. You can ask the doctor about putting a little rice cereal in his bottle. Does he do it for the same feeding everyday? Also propping him up in his car seat carrier after he eats will help. Good luck.

M.

Hi M.,

Not sure how old your son is, but my daughter was the same way, never happy with her bottles. Her doctor ended up testing her poop, and found that she was allergic to milk, so we had to switch her formula to allimentum. Or he might have acid reflux. Hope this helps, good luck!

Hi M.. You can try Alimentum. It is VERY expensive, so ask your pediatrician if you can get your insurance to pay for it.
My nephew was also formula fed and had reflux, GI problems, tons and tons of allergies including corn and soy - which is in ALL formulas. Poor kid! BUT - he is now 8 and does just fine (so this too will pass) :)
Do you breastfeed at all as well? You might want to give him more BM, but you'll more than likely need to eliminate dairy and nuts from your diet it does not upset his belly.

Also, Dr. Brown's bottles help a ton with gas.

Good luck! I know how worrisome our little ones can be for us.

Try a different type of bottle and burp him frequently during feeding as long as he is gaining weight and its not happening several times during the day its probably nothing but air bubble during a feeding

How old is your son? My daughter used to do this a couple times a day as an infant. The Dr also didn't want to treat it because she was still growing well. I don't really have any advice, but wanted to tell you that she outgrew it on her own. Around the 3 month mark it stopped.

Take him to the doctors. With boys there is this condition that is very common. I am not sure how old your son is but you should have him checked. I think it is called Pyloric stenosis but I am not sure if that is the correct term. I can ask my brother. He had it when he was born and also his first born son had it. It is a problem were the stomach connects to the intestine and forms a mass. His son started vomiting after every meal when he was about three months old and it was him who told the doctor that he was born with a problem and they then checked his son and found he had a mass the size of a golf ball. It was removed and now his son is 9 months old and very healthy. The doctor said it is very common with first born boys.

Good luck!

Maybe he has large amounts of air in his stomach perhaps at that time. Have you tried using a different bottle? Playtex bottles with liners worked really well for my son. Also, try feeding him in smaller amounts. Then take a break. Let him burp etc. Then finish feeding him. Don't let him drink too much all at once. Is he doing this with is first bottle or his last?

Two of my sons did that from a few weeks of age to about 3 months. They would projectile vomit large amounts about once a day, but they were otherwise healthy. The doctor was not concerned and they outgrew it on their own. They were breast fed, so it wasn't the formula.

hi M. I would seea gi doc soundslike reflux to me. L.

When my son was an infant he used to do the same thing. It sounds to me that it may be acid reflux. He is 3 now and has outgrown it. He had to be put on meds for a little while. Your pediatrician should ask for an upper GI, mine did and confirmed the acid reflux. Hope this helps.

H.

Hi M.,
This happened to my daughter while she was younger, probably between 2-4 mths. I think it is worse for the mom and you really do want the docs to tell you something helpful. I got the same from our docs...not to worry. It did pass and I ended up trying to give her smaller amount of formula, more frequently and that seemed to lessen this spit up. As for the tummy gas, you can try mylicon or gripe water. How old is your son?

Once she hit 14 lbs though, she got much better with it all.

If your doctor isn't worried, I wouldn't worry either. It is not fun for you but there is no harm being done to your baby. When he gives you the signs that this is about to happen (or even when he doesn't) do you keep his body upright? That can cometimes help food from comming back up.

sounds like reflux.. trust me, his whole bottle isn't coming up, it just looks that way! Try keeping him upright for 1/2 hr after he eats.. you might want to talk to his ped about adding mylicon or some gas reducer to help with that too.. be sure to burp him well.. both of my kids had it, and I found that once they learn to sit up on their own, they sort of out grow the worst of it. good luck

yes you should be concerned. How old is he? can you still breastfeed if possible? He obviously has a very sensitive digestive tract (like most babies) and has a problem with formula. Soy is especially problematic for babies to digest. also what are you mixing the formula with? I would find a formula that is especially for sensitive stomachs, and experiment with goats milk, which is much more similar to the composition of breast milk. other alternative milk products that you could try like almond and hemp, are extremely nutritious and easily digestible. Soy and milk are very harsh for babies. The book Nourishing Traditions has recipes for homemade formula for babies as well. Sounds like your baby has a very sensitive digestive tract, the crying/kicking and spitting up are all signs of that. There are remedies to help for gassines, like gripe water and homeopathy, but these just relieve symptoms. Also most babies have some acid reflux as infants, this should go away as they get older, if not then this is also a sign of digestive troubles! Be weary if your dr. wants to put him on a horrid medication to relieve it, reflux is a sign of imbalance! I would first address the formula and find one that works on his sensitive system. Good luck!

At one point when my daughter was still an infant she would have these issues too. The DR actually told me it looks like all they ate but it isn't. That they have retianed some and as your DR said, as long as they are eating and gaining weight its fine. I know that doesn't make a Mom feel any better. One DR I heard made the child stay in his office until it happened right in front of him. Sense yours only happens once a day I don't think it can be the same but worth checking into. What it was, was the nipple whole was too larger and practicly drowning him with his food. Once she found a nipple with a smaller whole and less was being sucked in at once, he stopped. So maybe you could just look at the nipples and see if the whole has gotten to large. It's worth a try.
The best of luck!

M., I'm surprised they're not more concerned. But, it's true that as long as he is staying hydrated (peeing every 6-8 hours, drooling, has tears, and his skin has that baby elasticity!). But, clearly he's uncomfortable so of course you would want to fix that, and they're not helping it seems! Could it be acid reflux? My four and a half month old is on her third refill of Renitidin for that. Every time she'd finish it, she gets squirmy and uncomfortable while eating and then spit up. This may be a dumb question but when you switch formulas, do you try each kind for at least a week, or just a few days? Sometimes it could take at least a week to notice a change. The fact that he moves around so much & cries after he eats is probably what's making him spit up too. Crying causes spit up. But if it's the acid reflux, that could be making him uncomfortable leading to moving around, crying, and then the spit up. Good luck with your little one. It's so hard to see them in pain.

Hi M.,
Just my opinion, but I don't get the impression that YOU are happy with this situation and your doctors lack of concern - and I've always found that MOMs know best! Having said that, it sounds to me like your son has acid reflux. I base that on the fact that my daughters both had it. It infuriated me when we saw one doctor who thought that simply because they were gaining weight and growing well we didn't need to manage their pain - when clearly they were in pain! Further, there are serious issues with acid reflux - damage to the asophogus (including cancer that has a low cure rate) - and so why take a chance with that? I'd recommend you see a pedi gastro doctor that you feel has taken your concern seriously. We see Dr. Russell at Mass. General - he's also at North Shore Children's Hospital in Salem. It's easy to see how doctors become lax about these things - they see sad cases with "failure to thrive" and kids not growing - but nonetheless your child does not need to be in pain. Good luck!

Yes, it sounds alot like reflux. Even though he is gaining weight if he is sooo uncomfortable then why put him through that. You can get a little medicine once a day and he will feel better and stop throwing up. My daughter had that..so we thought.. but a little bit of meds can make him feel a whole lot better. Good luck and i hope he feels better. B.

how old is your son. my son had problems too. since he was 6 weeks old... he's wake up in the middleof the night screaming.. i'd pick him up and could feel/hear spit up come up and he'd swallow it back down. we tried elevating his mattress... making sure he was in an upright posistion for 1 hour after he ate etc....

finally by like 3 - 3.5 mos... i insisted my dr. prescribe Zantac (ranitidine). b/c he was getting up liek every 2 hours all night long b/c of the reflux. he's been on it twice a day since then (aroudn thanksgiving) and we switched from similac to good start w/ comfort protiens for easy digestion (orange can). he's almost 8 mos now and he barely spits up (only when he's been on his belly for a while, which is all he wants to do lately). at 4 mos when he could start on rice/food... i make sure his last meal of the day is the rice and little to now liquid.

at 7.5 mos he gets 3tbsp of rice and 1 container of babyfood. i do have a 4oz bottle on hand if he wants it but usually he's full after the food. he eats about 6:30 and his in bed between 7:30 -8

My son did this and it always looks like a lot more than it is. If he's gaining weight, he's obviously getting nourishment. You'll hear a lot of things about reflux, telling you to do GI testing and getting meds. You'll also hear a lot about so-called allergies (to soy, to dairy). If you have watched the news recently about the peanut allergies that have been misdiagnoses and improperly treated, you heard that they have discovered that testing positive for an allergy doesn't necessarily mean that the child really has that allergy! So all kinds of nutritional programs that have kids avoiding certain things are now called into question. If your son is spitting up once a day and not constantly, it's hard to believe he has a true allergy or major medical problem.

You can try burping your baby more frequently during feedings. Another thing to recognize is that all formulas are not the same - even if they all say "soy" for example, what type of soy is it? Whole bean? How is it processed? What else is in it? You can't really tell from the label where the product is manufactured and you certainly can't tell what process is used, where the soy comes from, etc. Since soy is nature's protein and has been used by the world for 5000 years, it's highly unlikely that your child really is allergic to it! More likely, something else that's in there.

You could use Now for Kids from Reliv. It's used worldwide feeding over 40,000 kids per day - for many, it's the only meal they get. It's made here in the US and uses top quality nutrients. It's a fantastic supplement that clears up a lot of those digestive issues by giving kids what they need in the right balance and in a highly absorbable form. It was formulated by the same scientist who was on the team that developed ProSoBee and Enfamil formulas. He also was the consultant for Weight Watcher's foods so he is highly regarded as an expert on nutrition, and particularly infant nutrition. The product is safe and carries no warning labels. I would think you might want to start there rather than putting drugs into one so little! It will keep you from worrying about him getting enough nutrition even if he spits up for a while yet until he outgrows it. Let me know if you want more info - I know so many moms who use it and their pediatricians say it's perfectly fine.

Ask your dr about hyperallergenic formula. My daughter was a spitter. Your description sounds just like her and my doctors said the same. As long as she gained weight it is just something she will grow out of. It was difficult but changing to Nutramigen or Allementum really made a difference. She is 10 months now and is doing great. We recently switched to a gentle formula and has done well. She spits up maybe once a week now. Good luck! It does get better.

I'm not sure how old your son is, but in some babies it takes a little longer for their sphincter muscle (the muscle that separates the stomach and esophagus and keeps food down) to develop. This causes reflux (food backing up into the esophagus). My son had this problem from birth to about 18 mos.

Consider yourself blessed if it's only happening once a day. Sounds like a mild case. My son threw up ALL the time. He had to go through GI testing and ultimately was put on medication (I surrended to the idea of meds after learning that the stomach acids can damage the esophagus in CHRONIC cases. But that's a whole other story.)

There are sensible things that help: Propping him up for a good half hour after he's eaten. Raising the head of his mattress slightly so that's he's on a bit of an incline when he sleeps (not so much that he slides to the bottom - ha!) Avoid bouncing and rocking, of course, while his food is digesting. Feed him smaller, more frequent meals--it's easier to digest smaller doses. And keep LOTS of bibs on hand.

If it's not allergy related, changing formulas won't really have an effect. However, some may be easier to digest than others.

Don't worry. He'll get through it. And you will too!

Hi M.:
My son did the same thing from the age of 2 months to 8 months. Sometimes, their stomachs are just so small at that age and they down the whole bottle too fast. It helped when I gave my son small amounts at a time and didn't allow him to drink too fast. The doctors suggested testing him for acid reflux, but we never got the test. Now he is a happy, healthy two year old with no reflux problems. I personally think it's just the way that they drink the formula. If it persists and you are still concerned, you might want to push for a reflux test.

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