41 answers

Vomiting After Eating

My sister just had a baby boy. He is 3 weeks old, and she has had trouble breastfeeding. The baby has been vomiting up all he drinks. Has anyone had this issue and do you have advice?

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Featured Answers

I see you got a lot of advice. Sound like she has a milk protein allergy. Do you eat a lot of Dairy?
Pediatrician should be able to diagnose with a stool sample test. Do you see blood in his stool ever?

my sone went through the same thing, he ended up having acid reflux and was put on Zantac and they also found out that he was lactose intolrent. Hope this helps!

Yes my oldest son had that issue and they told me it was a milk allergy or else reflux...which isn't much fun.

More Answers

You have lots of possibilities in all the wonderful responses. One thing your sister might want to have the ped check in her son is for Pyloric Stenosis. I am not completely sure, but it has something to do with the opening between the stomach and small intestine not fully opening for digestion. My nephew went through this for several weeks in the beginning until the doctors finally diagnosed him at about 7 or 8 weeks old with an abdominal ultrasound. This was after they ruled out both allergy/interolance and reflux. My sister both breastfed him and gave formula. His vomiting rapidly increased in frequency and eventually turned projectile. He wasn't holding anything down. My son was only two weeks older than him, but at almost 2 months old, my nephew looked like a skinny, red-faced newborn because he was getting virtually no nutrients for weeks, and constantly crying in hunger before they decided he was not also colicky (!!!). They quickly scheduled him for a simple surgery that involved making an incision in order to allow food to pass properly. The boys are almost 16 months old, my nephew is healthy as can be and now MY son is the "skinny" one! It doesn't hurt to mention this condition, the sooner they rule it out or resolve it the better. Being only 3 weeks old, he will be just fine if they catch it now. But, because my nephew went undiagnosed for weeks with this Pyloric Stenosis, they continue to periodically monitor his kidneys due to the dehydration they underwent through the period of malnutrion from all the vomiting. Hopefully, this is not your nephew's case, but if it is, rest assured that he will be just fine once corrected! Good luck!

My now 15 year old daughter had that problem, and she ended up projectile vomiting after a couple of days. I took her to the Doctor, she was admitted to the ospital and she had Pyloric Stenosis. It is where the muscle that lets your food go from your stomach to your bowels does not relax so the food does not pass through, but comes back up instead. She had surgery to correct the problem, and she is almost 16 now, and has been healthy ever since. Good luck to your sister and her baby boy!

Has your sister had the baby to the doctor's to rule out any medical problem? If not I would suggest that first then contact La Leche League - www.llli.org - They advicate breastfeeding and I'm sure someone will be able to help her. There are chapters of La Leche League all over the country so your sister should find a chapter close to her. Good luck.

L. M

My son developed an allergy/intolerance to the cow's milk protein's in my breast milk which caused a great deal of intestinal troubles. She should definetly talk to the child's pediatrician and try eliminating milk and all products containing milk from her diet for a few weeks and see if it helps. This is not the same as lactose intolerance. It helped my son alot and I was able to start consuming cooked dairy products when my son was 6 months old, and now he is no longer "allergic"
Also, some babies just spit up a lot more than others...is he gaining weight?

I has this problem with my twins. They were allergic to the protein in milk and soy. So I had to change my diet to continue to breastfeed. I would check with the pediatician. Good luck

Hi K. -

My brother and his wife have a 6 week old and they started having the same trouble. They took her to the doctor and had tests done (mri I believe) to rule out a blockage making her throw/spit-up. Since that was ruled out they said it was acid-reflux, which they said happens quite often and usually the baby will outgrow it anywhere from a few weeks up to about 6months. She is also on medication twice a day to help her. I am not sure what type of medication it is though. I know it is helping, but she still spits up a little - it's a lot better than before though. I would for sure make sure she goes to the doctor and they can rule out anything major or could be really serious though.

Hi K.,
I didn't have this experience but when I had trouble I found the La Leche League very helpful and supportive. http://www.llli.org/WebUS.html Nursing is the best thing a mother can do for their baby and I recommend it for as long as you and the baby like it. I nursed my 4 kids any where from 1 to 2 years before they wanted to stop. Maybe a new position will help with the spitting up.

She should also touch base with the pediatricians office and make sure he is gaining weight. If he is then he is keeping something down.

One of the best bits of advice I received was to nurse one side at a time. So the first time you nurse the baby in the morning you nurse the right side only, the next time the left, instead of the 10 minutes on one side and then switch. I never got engorged when nursing with this method.

Best of luck with your little girl and your sister's boy.
D. C

Hi, K.. I'd recommend that she take him to the doctor to get checked for reflux. But a very likely culprit could be allergies or sensitivities to food/drink that she is eating. The most common allergens are dairy, wheat, egg, and soy products. It's a strenuous diet, and takes about three weeks of reading labels at the grocery store, but she could eliminate those things from her diet completely, and see if he improves. There are some really great websites that list all the names of dairy and wheat products (things like casein or whey or gluten) that she will have to look for. But on the plus side, she'll be eating a really healthy diet (!) and will lose all her baby weight! I ate nothing but meats (with salt and pepper -- grilled is best) and fruit and veggies and tons of rice cakes (the apple cinnamon ones).

But get the baby checked by a doctor and maybe a gastroenterologist, too. And my doctor, great though she is, didn't catch the food allergies. A lactation consultant from a new moms' support group did, and so I did all the research on my own and it was a fait acompli by the time I saw the doc. Best of luck! K.

I would have her talk to her pedi ASAP. It could be reflux.

I agree with everyone here - my daughter had the same symptoms and it was reflux... but in some cases, vomiting can indicate a more involved medical condition, so she should have it checked out. We tried feeding for only 10 minutes at a time and letting her rest in between while doing frequent burp checks during this time, she was on zantac, and she also had to be upright for 30 minutes after each complete feeding. Feeding her took FOREVER because of all of this, but it did help. Oh, we also had to have her sleep upright in her car seat for a few months. I hated that cause I imagined she wasn't too comfortable, but she did just fine... in fact, it was more comfortable for her since she didn't have to deal with as much reflux burn! Good luck to your sister and her new baby!

My son had that. She should talk to the pediatrician, it is probably reflux. They will usually prescribe medication such as prilosec or zantac for it.

sounds like reflux.. keep him upright for 1/2 hr after each feeding. ask ped about mylicon or something similar to help lower the gas in his tummy. They usually outgrow it by the time they can sit up or eat regular food.. good luck.. both my kids did this.. makes for lots of laundry!

Hi K., Congratulations to your sister! At around 2 1/2 weeks my son started spitting up more and crying after feedings. I too eliminated dairy from my diet and he nursed beautifully after that for 14 months. Tell her to keep in mind that dairy can also be called casein and is found in some hot dogs, many packaged products and even bread. I did reintroduce dairy back into my diet at around 6 months and he was fine. I actually lost a lot of my pregnancy weight right away because of it, I think because it forced me to eat healthier! My son also had slight reflux as others have mentioned and went on Axid, the mildest reflux medicine and that helped a lot too. He stopped needing that at around 4 months. Just keep encouraging your sister and tell her to speak with her pedi and a lactation consultant and they can help her. She really should talk to the pedi right away, especially if it's vomiting and not spitting up and because the sooner the issue gets addressed, the smoother breastfeeding will go. My best to her! D.

Is it vomiting or spitting up? MY son would spit up after he nursed which was caused by two things. The first was an easy fix. I was over feeding him. We thought he wasn't nursing well because he was only nursing for 5 minutes at a time. I had a lactation consultant come over for advice as well as consulted with his pediatrician. Everything I read said he needed to nurse longer (I think it was 20-30 min but that was 4 years ago so I don't remember). It ended up that he was just a super efficient nurser and he got everything he needed in about 5 minutes and he was spitting up the extra. He also had reflux. This lasted until he was about a year. He was medicated and it helped but it was still messy. Have her check with the pediatrician.

Hi K.,

My second son is 7 months old and still spits up after he breastfeeds if I have had any milk. He was projectile vomiting until he was about 6 weeks old, which was when I finally figured out that what I was eating caused the vomiting. Also, I realized that he was very gassy and needed to burp much more often. I kept him upright for a while after each nursing session too. He is on solid food now, but still requires burping during meals. In addition, we give him gas drops (Little Tummys) a lot in order to help him get the gas bubbles out.

I am willing to talk to your friend if she would like to. My friend talked me through that time and it was very helpful. Please email me and I'll send you my contact info. if wanted.

Good luck!

Jen M.

A little about me: I am the proud mom of two cute boys, ages 3 and 7 months. They are the light of my life!

my youngest also did alot of this in the beginning. I found if i nursed off of one side at a time it was easier for him to digest and i experienced less vomiting. Obviously he was still gaining weight too so I wasnt overly concerned after his Dr had weighed him every week for the 1st month of his life.

I had this issue with my daughter. It turned out to be acid reflux. She was also very squirmy and got to the point where she would not breast feed at all. I supplemented for a while and attempted to pump to no avail. I was on a strict diet of completely bland foods and no dairy. I could not live like that anymore since I aslo had a 2 1/2 year old in the house. I was breast feeding, cleaning up vomit, dealing with a squirming cranky child and pumping all the while trying to be entertain and care for a 2 1/2 year old.

I ended up using Alamentum by Similac and adding 1 teaspoon of rice cereal for every once of formula to her bottle. This was per doctors orders to make the formula thicker to hold down the liquid in her stomach. She was also put on Zantac which she took before her bottle 3x a day. It was never easy to feed her a bottle or get her to eat but a least she started gaining weight and life was better. She was less cranky and much happier. She ended up giving up the bottle entirely around 11-months when we increased her solid food consumption. She is extremely heathly, bright and happy now but still does not take milk.

Breast feeding is important, however so is feeding your child. If you have to use formula your child will grow up happy and healthy. You can't starve your child. I breast fed my first child and it worked out wonderfully, he was even on the cover of the Breast Feeding Support Group Pamphlet for the hospital I delivered him at. Breast feeding did not work out at all for my daughter and she is fine and just as healthy as him. It was more important that she eat and get the nutrients she need than me breast feeding. Talk to your dr. and good luck!

Hi K.,

It could be food allergies...dairy is a big one. Have your sister eliminate the common food allergens for a few weeks to see if the baby improves. Do a google search for a list...dairy, soy, eggs, fish, nuts, wheat ect...

My son, who is now 5, was exactly like that. It started by vomitting and then eventually rejected the breast all toghether. We now know that it's because he had severe food allergies (to milk, eggs, peanuts, treenuts and melons). With hindsight, I now know it's what I was eating that was bothering him. He also had really bad cradle cap...

Your sister may want to really look at her diet. Perhaps cut out all cows milk and milk/cheese products.

My son was very fussy and had difficulty breastfeeding when he was a newborn. I elimated dairy from my diet without any change. At 4 weeks old, the doctor put him on raniditine for reflux. Within the next few days he was much calmer and breastfeeding better. He didn't spit up a lot, but it is one of the most common signs of reflux. He is now 8 months old and still on the reflux medicine. I've tried a few times to discontinue the medicine, but he vomits and then I know it is time to start it again. Good luck to your sister.

your sister may have tried this already, but have her eliminate all dairy from her diet. also, is she producing a lot of milk? if so her let-down reflex could be pouring too much milk down her baby's throat at once. this happened to me and i had to express a little milk before i fed my daughter when she was an infant so that she wouldn't gag. it could also be that your nephew has gastric reflux. i would say that your sister should seek two opinions: one from her pediatrician and one from a certified lactation consultant. she can find one through la leche league. tell her she is doing the best thing for her baby by breastfeeding and that she can figure this out! it's not clear in your message whether she is supplementing with formula- if so then her son could be reacting badly to the kind of formula she is using, which is not uncommon. she could try switching to soy-based formula. but breast milk is best so have her try a lactation consultant first!


My son was diagnosed with pyloric stenous at about 3 weeks. He was doing the same thing - spitting up my breastmilk every time I feed him. I am not sure if this is what your nephew has but make sure your sister is pushing the doctor. We went to the emergency room and they sent us home. My doctor was persistent and sent us back in for an ultrasound. They diagnosed it right away. It was fixed with surgery. First born males are most commonly diagnosed with this condition. The surgery fixes it completely and my son is almost 2 now - eats plenty and about 35 lbs. It is hard to believe he went through it. Make sure your sister does not give up nursing. No matter what breastmilk is easier to digest and prevented my son from getting dehydrated.

my sone went through the same thing, he ended up having acid reflux and was put on Zantac and they also found out that he was lactose intolrent. Hope this helps!

yes!!!! my son will be one next sunday, and the same thing happened to him! not everytime he ate, but it was still enough to bother me! i would limit him to his feedings. i didnt know if maybe he was getting too much at once. i would stop him on the first side after 5 mins, and then only let him nurse for 2-3mins on the second side. this did help some, although not completely. my pediatrician didnt seem too concerned with it, said it was a little spit up, however, he completely covered himself as well as me when he did it. they also thought he was sensitive to dairy, so i stopped completely consuming it. my sister in law had the same problem with my niece, and they put addison on some reflux medicine. so, maybe that could also be the problem. have her talk to the doctor and see what they think. my little guy didnt stop doing it, and i eventually just put him on formula, and it stopped. he still will spit up some, but nothing compared to what he was doing!!! wish her luck for me!

I am just wondering what your pediatrician is saying? I know when my son had a similar issue we were at the pediatrician constantly looking for answers?In saying that , I would ask the pediatrician to look into pyloric stenosis. This would cause projectile vomiting after eating. This is diagnosed by ultrasound.My son did not have pyloric stenosis , but did have severe acid reflux and was put on zantac .

I see you got a lot of advice. Sound like she has a milk protein allergy. Do you eat a lot of Dairy?
Pediatrician should be able to diagnose with a stool sample test. Do you see blood in his stool ever?

Both of my boys have been big spit-uppers, especially my 3 month old. I thought he was spitting up everything he ate, too, and then I read in the Sears Baby Book that it looks like more than it really is. Take a tablespoon of water and pour it onto your shoulder or wherever the baby spits up most. It looks like a lot of liquid when it's spread out like that. The baby is probably getting enough to eat as long as he is gaining and is wetting.
If he's really projectile vomiting, well, that's another issue that she should talk to her pediatrician about.

Have him checked for pyloric stenosis (sp?). Sounds like there is an obstruction somewhere and this should be addressed immediately, since he is not getting any nutrition while vomiting all his food.

Good luck and prayers for your family,

30yo full-time working, single mom of 4.5 year old girl.

She should definitely call the pediatrician. My son was projectile vomiting at 3 weeks old. The doctor did an ultrasound to rule out pyloric stenosis. Thankfully, he did not have it. It was just a very bad case of reflux. He was put on zantac. I struggled to keep weight on him for about 6 months, but then he did outgrow it. Hang in there, but have her call the doctor right away and let them know. This is not something to wait on.

Yes, yes, yes, agree with pps. She should consult both a lactation consultant (most MDs really don't know about breastfeeding these days) and an MD. It could be overfeeding or feeding him in the wrong position, or it could be something serious like intestinal problems or food allergies.

Yes my oldest son had that issue and they told me it was a milk allergy or else reflux...which isn't much fun.

Hi K.,

First, Congratulations on your new nephew... Your poor sister must be exhausted, and worried. I can only tell you of my experience, I had a baby boy in November(my second) he had a hard time with holding food down as well. He would eat then throw then want more. It was vicious cycle. I'm not sure about your nephew but my son was very fussy, sometimes turning into hours of screaming. It was pure torture, nothing I ddi helped. Finally after changing formula and trying gas remedies, he was diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis. I was not familiar with it at the time. He had surgery to correct the problem and has become a different baby all together. There are so many things to rule out before that, it could be as simple as an allergy to something she's eating or a supplement she may be taking. He may just have reflux, or may just be a spitty baby....My advice would be to talk with her pedi and rule out everything. It doesnt' hurt to ask quetions, technically that's what they're there for. I know how she must feel right now (overwhelmed_) but tell her in time, it does get better. My heart goes out to her, I hope all turns out well, soon.... J.

I would advise her to visit her pediatrician and have him/her witness what happens after nursing. Maybe it is just spitting up, reflux, or that your sister has a fast let down that is overwhelming her baby at first- if it is the latter, she can try pumping one breast for a minute or so first, then try nursing from that breast and see if it still happens. Regardless, it is important the doctor knows as soon as possible to monitor that her baby isn't losing weight.

has she seen the baby's pediatrician? it sounds like it could be something called pyloric stenosis (can be fixed by surgery)
tell her to keep up the breastfeeding, it is VERY rare for the breastmilk to be the cause of the vomiting.

Is he gaining weight? If he is, then he's probably just a spitter. I could have sworn that my two kids weren't keeping anything down, but they still packed on the pounds, so they must have been getting a whole bunch. Also, is he just spitting up a lot or is he really vomiting? The first thing that she should do is bring him in for a weight check. If he's gaining weight, he's fine. If not, they'll do more tests.

Hi K.,
the baby could have acid reflux, which makes eating painful and can cause vomiting. What does the Dr. say about it?
My friends baby was vomiting up all the she ate, (she was formula fed) and they put her on reflux meds and switched formulas and now she is doing fine. My daughter also had reflux, but not with the vomiting; she would just scream in pain after eating. It took a few trys, but we eventually got the medication right and my daughter went back to being her sweet, happy self. Also, many babies have problems with Dairy, (my daughter had problems with Soy), so your sister might want to remove those items from her diet and see if that makes any difference. I know any soy that I ate was really causing a problem for my daughter. Good Luck!

Is he vomiting or spitting up? I would contact the doctor immediately if it is vomiting. Mine spit up a huge amount everytime I fed him for the first three months (and still does a little at 6 months) but my doctor said it was perfectly normal and that he was fine because he was gaining weight so well. The best thing for me was buying extra burp cloths and bibs and having them ALL OVER the house!!!

Hi K.,

With my first baby, she spit up all the time. It took us a while and lots of tests, but luckily we found out that all she had was reflux. I can say that now because I know how many other things could have been the cause, but by no means am I belittling what it is like to have a baby with reflux. It was horrible. I did not realize that she was actually throwing up. I thought that it was all spit-up. Now that I have another baby who spit up normally, I realize how much my first one really was throwing up.

It is important to know how the baby is growing. If he is gaining weight, there may not be any problem at all. Are there any other symptoms beyond the trouble breastfeeding (which I also had) and the throwing up? Is he crying a lot? Could be severe cramping with the reflux. Is he latching/unlatching/latching/unlatching throughout his feeding? Could be the valve at the top of the stomach going through spasms that are painful, so he lets go, but is hungry so tries to re-latch.

Your sister really needs to go to the pediatrician and describe in great detail every little thing that goes on during the breastfeeding sessions and how her son reacts afterward--even up to 30 minutes later (just to be on the safe side). It took us a couple of months before we figured out what was going on--including a visit to the children's hospital for advanced tests. It would be so nice for your sister if she could get this solved well before we did.

This is something that needs to be evaluated by a doctor. If he truly is vomiting up all he eats he may have a condition called pyloric stenosis where the sphincter at the top of the stomach is too tight and stiff and doesn't allow milk to pass so it has to come back up. It could also be an allergy. It is important to find out. Pyloric Stenosis is fixable and actually is fairly common.
He needs to be gaining weight at this stage and it's important to make sure he's getting the nutrition he needs for his new little body. Good luck!

He needs to see a doctor. He may have a blockage of some sort. They need to rule out everything including food allergies. He should not be vomiting up all he drinks. Please have her consult her doctor and if he can't find anything to consult a specialist.

My oldest used to vomit at lot at first...i switched how i was breastfeeding...i thought i was supposed to start with breast that was near empty, to make sure it was empty, meanwhile the other one was so full by the time baby got to it that it spouted out big time and i think it caused her to feed too fast...duh...not sure but i began starting with the fuller breast and it pretty much stopped...
I think there's a wide range of what's normal at first with the vomiting and spitting up, but baby can have pyloric stenosis or cardiac stenosis (actually not as bad as it sounds, cardiac is just a muscle), I think pyloric stenosis requires surgery...not sure; sometimes i think some babies just need a bit more time developing their little tummy, not that my baby was small or early. She was over 8 lbs, only 6 days early. Anyhow, it just stopped for us without much fuss and no problems with her weight gain. It stopped at 5 or 6 weeks. I'd tell your sister to mention it to her dr., which she's probably already done.

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