6 Month Old Spits up Liquids but Not Solids!

Updated on November 13, 2009
C.L. asks from Carnesville, GA
8 answers

My son was a preemie and has been on thick formula and oatmeal or breast milk and oatmeal since he was one month old. The doctors said it was acid reflux and that would help. I also had to give him zantac. He was fine with the thick stuff but I was mostly breastfeeding at the time and he would spit anything liquid concentrated up. He gained weight fast and caught up to most kids his age. It seemed to get a little better but never completely went away. He even went to a specialist in atlanta. Now it is getting worse again and he is projectile vomiting on everyone and everything. They put him on the zantac again but all it seems to have done is make it smell less like baby spitup and more like puke. He gets a thick bottle in the morning and at night. Baby food in between with a sippy cup of formula and sometimes juice. I don't understand why he can't keep regular liquids down!?!? Has anyone else had this problem? Any help would be appreciated. He has another appointment with the specialist next week.

He goes to a gastrointerologist at the children's center for digestive health in atlanta. Sorry forgot to mention what type before. Also I have quit breastfeeding and he is on soy formula. He still spits up.

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answers from Sumter on

Hey C.,
My son did the same thing. We saw a GI peds doc, just like you are doing and they switched him off the zantac and put him on Prevacid (they make it in a chewable tablet, and we put it in water and sucked it up with a syringe) It made a world of a difference! He was less fussy and he only spit up on occasion instead of all the time after feedings. He is 2 now and we were able to ween him off the meds and he is great.

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answers from Macon on

My son had reflux AND Colic for the first 13 mo! Yes, Dr diagnosed colic for 13 mo!! Teh reflux lasted a little longer but it was still around after that but not so bad most days.
EVERYDAY he would throw up. under 6 mo it was several times a day but then went to mostly once a day. He was born at 7lb 13 oz and he is now 6' 4" tall and doing fine. I worried myself sick about it all the time. I do know that many visits to the Dr didn't really calm my fears.
Talk to the Dr, tell him/her that there is still a problem. My son used Mylicon daily. That was as strong as I would go. He never looked or acted sick or crampy. He would smile while 'spewking'. Yup, he would coat everything within several feet around us.
Make sure the Dr has checked him out for anything medical-blockage, etc. Don't just accept that he has reflux if you are still concerned.
My mother thought I was joking about it and when he finally did it with her, she quit telling me I was crazy! Some kids go through it, and you seem to be the lucky one. I kept thinking something was wrong as none of my friends babies did this. As long as he is gaining weight, and growing and hitting the milestones he needs to be, relax. Enjoy him and carry extra changes of clothes. This, too, shall pass! BTW, we gave up the bottle cold turkey by 13 months and the spewking episodes all but stopped!!

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answers from Atlanta on

My first question is how is his pooping? Is he constipated? If so, then it will be difficult to keep something down if the drain is clogged; it will often come up. I am a Nutritional Consultant, and I would strongly suggest that you not give him liquids with his meals. The liquids wash out the digestive enzymes and the food doesn't digest properly...causing digestive issues, acid reflux (in some moreso than others). Also, that "thick formula" seems to be an issue, esp. if he's constipated. Formula is enough of an issue on its own for many babies. But to keep mixing cereals and things with it for a baby with acid reflux doesn't seem to be helping. It's not digesting well. Another food combining issue that affects some worse in more apparent ways than others (but is still good for no one), is mixing proteins and starches together. That's what's happening with that thick formula mixture. It's not digesting well, maybe even constipating him...and the only other logical option if for the food contents to come back up, esp. when you mix liquids with the meals as well by giving him something to drink with the meal. The solution is to not give him liquids with his meals, and don't mix proteins and starches. If you give him oatmeal, mix it with water, or with apple juice mixed with water. Mix his food up in the food processor with fresh veggies and fruit. He certainly needs the fiber and natural enzymes for digestion. (Also, if he's a blood type O, I wouldn't give him oatmeal. It normally doesn't sit well with this blood type, and can cause issues that are hard to pinpoint the cause...i.e. the issue that he is chronically having.)
I would certainly try these suggestions before trying another medication or continuing long-term on the zantac. That med and others they might give him are trying to wear out his little liver and kidneys at such a young age. Those organs need to last him a lifetime. There's a reason why there's so many dialysis centers these days. And the current patients didn't start out as young as this on those liver/kidney toxifying drugs. There's definitely a solution if you keep searching, stay open, and seek to find the right diet for your little one. His preemie digestive tract initially probably just needed a little bit more time and some natural alternatives to give it a chance to learn how to keep down the breastmilk in the beginning.

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answers from Atlanta on

You mentioned that he went to a specialist, but do not say what type of specialist....my sister is a speech pathologist, and when our mother was post-surgery and having difficulty with liquids, mentioned that there could be many reasons for it, of which medical doctors either overlook, or are unaware. It may be worth your it to consult a speech pathologist, not a speech therapist though. You want someone who has specifically, extensively, studied the anatomy of the throat musculature. Yes, doctors do receive this type of training, along with a host of others, so they often spend only 1 day in med. school on specifics.
I hope that you find the cause soon, as I know it can be very disconcerting.

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answers from Augusta on

sounds like a milk allergy to me. I was allergic to milk and this sounds like what my mom went through with me. My mom had to go with Goats milk with me.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi C.,
He may have a milk intolerance. If so, you should get him off the formula and milk products. Just do a two month trial. If he is under 1 year, you will need to add minerals and cod liver oil (for fat and vitamins) to rice or almond milk. If he is over 1 year, just take away the milk products and give the rice milk alone. Be sure to shake the container as the calcium sometimes settles to the bottom, unlike regular milk. You will get rid of all the hormones and junk in the typical milk anyway. Many people are intolorant of milk and the immune can get really upset and inflammed about it. Give it a shot - nothing to lose.



answers from Atlanta on

My ten month old also has reflux. We saw Dr. Marcus at the Children's Center for Digestive Health Care. LLC (http://www.ccdhc.org/). He was wonderful. He explained to us that reflux is usually caused by a weak muscle that controls the valve at the top of the stomach. The Zantacs, Prilosecs, and Prevacids only reduce the amount of acid in the stomach (and consequently the amount of acid in the spit-up) so that the reflux/spit up doesn't erode the lining of your child's esophagus. They don't do anything to reduce the amount of vomit and spit up. As of now, there is no available medicine to control the valve at the top of the stomach. There are some meds that make the stomach drain faster, but they have scary side effects and should only be used in children who are failing to gain weight.

My son also throws up liquids much more than solids. Dr. Marcus said that thicker foods stay in the stomach better, as they take more force to expel. For that reason, he has had us increase the amount of solids we give our son and suggested we change him to a thickened formula (such as Enfamil AR). We did not put him on formula (he is breast-fed), but we have upped the amount of solid food we give him, and that helps.

Dr. Marcus said that eventually the muscle will get stronger, but until then, we just have to put up with the spit up. As long as your child is growing, thriving, and not really fussy, I wouldn't worry about it.

Dr. Marcus also tested my son's stool for microscopic blood to rule out a milk allergy.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi C.,

My daughter was spitting up for 8 months, initially breastmilk and then formula and breastmilk. By spitting up, I mean projectiles of milk, which seemed like everything that she just ate. I stopped breastfeeding at 7 months, and at 8 months we acidentally decided to try soy formula. The first day she spit up only once. The second, the third day there was no spit up. I was sitting there with my towels waiting for her to cover everything around with milk. When she was spitting up initially, doctors said it's normal, so I never changed anything in my food (I love yogurt and I eat other dairy products as well). But from my experience, it appears that she could not digest the milk protein (in breastmilk and formula both), which is difficult to digest. But she did fine with the soy protein. So, there are two things you can try if you want: Soy formula instead of regular formula, and also cut the milk protein from your diet if you are still breastfeeding. You need to do both because a tiny bit of milk protein upsets their digestion. Try this for a week and see if there is any change. No one ever suggested this to me, and the doctors told me that as long as she is gaining ok, the spitting up is not an issuse and would stop at some time.

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