Excessive Spit Up

Updated on May 17, 2016
H.G. asks from Cleveland, OH
23 answers

Hello everyone! I currently take care of a 5 month old little girl who has excessive spit up. It can be hours after she has had a bottle and out it comes. We go through nearly 5 soaked bibs a day. The parents have asked their Dr. about it and the Dr. has put the baby on various formulas and Zantax (sp) all which have not helped. Now they are telling the parents that she will just grow out of it. The parents are very frustrated. Does anyone have advice? Should I suggest to the parents that they get a 2nd opinion? Could there be something more wrong? I feel for both the baby and the parents...to me it seems like the Dr. should be exploring all causes and remedies...thanks for your input...

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So What Happened?

Wow...I am overwhelmed by the responses I received!! Thank you all soooooooo much! I have copied and pasted the info for the parents to see. They are going to the doctor later this week and will present their concerns and some of your suggestions...it certainly will help them as first time parents having info from experienced ones!!! You are all wonderful. I will let you know what the conclusion is.....

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L.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

My daughter had this until she was about a year old. We even had to take her to children's for testing. She was spitting out up to eight oz of bottle at a time. It was so bad. They put her on Zantac too and we had to switch to soy formula instead of the regular stuff, but to be honest, nothing helped. Until she started eating more solid foods, like peas and carrots, that kind of thing, she was just miserable. Just hang in there. She will grow out of it, I promise. At 5 months, she should be able to eat the more solid foods, I would try that route first and forget all the medicines!!!

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B.T.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi H.,
My daughter who is now 2 went through the same thing and yes she grew out of it. We tried soy formula, regular formula... she even started throwing up breast milk after 3 months. It was a difficult time few months but she did grow out of it. Trust me, we went through several bibs as well as clothing throughout the day. The last formula I tried was Nestle Good Start and it did seem to help but we were also toward the end of the spitting up. I have known others that had the same problem and a few of them actually had some intestinal problems and were put on Reglan (Rx medication) as well as Zantac. Hope things get better!

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M.

answers from Cincinnati on

I'm going to depart from most other moms who've responded so far and really encourage the parents to consider that their daughter might have a reaction to the cow's milk and soy proteins in the formulas they've been giving her (I've even seen this in exclusively breastfed babies who've had major spit up like this as long as the mom is eating dairy and soy, but as soon as she removes it from her diet, the baby stops spitting up, skin gets clearer, sleep improves, etc.). I do not feel that it is normal for a baby to be spitting up that often - I strongly feel that there is almost always a physiological reason for the spitting up.

Also, reflux and allergies can co-exist. Reflux symptoms can greatly improve with the removal of dairy and soy from the baby's diet. Has this 5-month old been given a hypoallergenic or elementa formula that is free from dairy and soy (Alimentum, Nutramigen, Elecare)? If not, that would be my first suggestion is to insist that the doctors let them have a 2-4 week trial on a hypoallergenic formula.

My son was allergic to dairy (cow's milk) and soy via my breastmilk, and he was exclusively breastfed. A friend of mine has a son the same age and exclusively formula fed him, and he too had a dairy and soy allergy (ended up doing well on Nutramigen). The only thing that helped either of our babies was to remove the offending foods from their liquid diets (for me, that meant going dairy and soy free, whereas for her that meant switching formula). Just something to keep in mind... Also, pediatricians tend to under-diagnose infant allergies ("colic" or "reflux" are two common misdiagnoses).

Hope that this little baby girl gets some relief soon from the repeated spitting up... can't imagine that would be too comfortable for her!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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A.N.

answers from Cleveland on

I think they should get a second opinion from either another pediatrician or a gastroenterologist. From what you described, she may have reflux, which some babies do grow out of rather quickly and some DO NOT (like my 16-month-old daughter who needs daily medication to control her reflux).

My daughter was also on Zantac for several months, which helped the pain (and constant screaming) but did not control the spitting. Prilosec finally worked for her to control both the pain and the spitting. It is a stronger drug than Zantac. The doctors only put her on this when she stopped growing between six and nine months. She just couldn't keep enough nutrients down. She also got an upper GI study done that showed the reflux and determined that nothing was abnormal with her anatomy.

I wish I knew at five months what I know now. I would have demanded more attention from our doctors. It would have saved us months of worry, excessive laundry, frustration, and money spent on an expensive drug that did not work for my child's problem. Good luck to you and the parents!

T.H.

answers from Cleveland on

As a cargiver to an almost 9 month old, we have gone thru a similar situation. Finally about two months ago, the parents of this child went to Soy Milk and the little guy has had little to NO spit up since. As a child myself who drank soy milk before all the "special" formulas...this could be a thing to try for these parents too!! Good Luck!

T.K.

answers from Cleveland on

My son was the spit up king when he was a baby. He was on the Smililac Isomil (milk and lactose free), which is supposedly the best for spit up. It didn't really help. My son's pediatrician doesn't like to keep switching. So he said to put cereal in his formula because it helps stabilize the stomach acids. He also recommended keeping him straighter when feeding him and keep him upright an hour after feedings. That did make a difference. He still spit up, but not as frequently and not as much.

I ended up switching formula's by accident; my sister watched my son when I worked evenings, and she accidently bought the Lactose Free Similac instead of the Isomil and had already opened it, so we couldn't exchange it. After checking with the doc first, we gave that to him. And the spit up actually got way better. We could go days without spit up. He eventually did grow out of it, around 6 months.

Good luck!

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H.P.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi H.,
I went through a similar thing with my son. Have them try "DR. Browns Bottles". The are pretty expensive, but it seemed to do the trick for my son. I had to purchase them at Babys r us. YOu can find them online also.
~H.

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J.F.

answers from Cleveland on

My son has reflux, he is now 6, it started at birth and got worse. He would spit up everything he ate. Out side of being on prevacid, after he eats we would make sure he was upright for about 30-45 minutes, propped his crib up when he was an infant, most people use a phine book, and still have him sleep propped up. I would encourage the paents to ask the dr to refer them to a Gastroenterologist and they can get more testing done in necessary.
Good Luck!

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M.R.

answers from Columbus on

Hi there.
In all reality, the doctor is probably right. Kids usually do grow out of this, my friends daughter is the same way, she's almost a year old and it's slowing down dramatically. They also use Enfamil Gentlease formula, that and solid food have helped a lot. If the baby is not in distress (as in it seems to bother her and she cries) when she spits up, she's what they call "a happy spitter". Those kids do grow out of it. Probably if it's still going on at a year, they will do more testing. It's not worth putting a healthy infant (especially if she's growing appropriately) through the tests that would be needed to check for GERD - those are pretty invasive, even for an adult. Also, doctors prescribe a lot of Zantac, and it's not FDA approved, nor ever been tested in kids! While it does certainly have it's place, most kids on it don't need to be. A pediatric gastroenterologist at Children's hospital in Cincinnati actually did a large study on that, and found that it doesn't really help!
Good luck, and good patience!

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K.R.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My daughter spit up like this until she was able to walk. If it doesn't seem to bother or upset the baby then he/she might just have to grow out of it. As a parent/caregiver it is very trying on your patience, but when it finally stops it will seem like it never happened. Hope this helps.
-K.

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

Is the spit up pure formula as if no digestion has taken place hours later? Are there any hard knots in the stomach area?
I would suggest implementing reflux precautions. Basically, hold the child up right or as close to it while feeding, and keep the child propped up for 45min-1 hour after feedings. You can put a pillow under the head of the matress of the bed the baby sleeps in so that the baby sleeps on an incline. Roll a blanket or a towel up and put in a U shape around the buttom of the baby in bed to kind of hold the baby up in bed. If you have a boppy pillow, that can be used to help position the baby in a propped up position. Make sure the child is not eating too fast, and still burping often.
It may not hurt to get a second opinion, but I'm not convienced that it's absolutely necessary.

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J.F.

answers from Cleveland on

My daughter had this from the time she was born until she was about 13months. The doctor told me that some babies just do this. As long as the baby is gaining weight and doesn't cry when it happens, they are fine. My daughter constantly spit up, it became very embarrassing. We went through what seemed like hundreds of bibs, wipes, etc. The doctor told me she would grow out of it when she started walking on her own, and what do you know as soon as she started walking on her own she stopped spitting up. It was unbelieveable. I did find out though that when I gave her regular milk she would start spitting up again. She does excellent on Soy "Silk" Milk. I tried the Soy Formulas but they never helped.

M.H.

answers from Lima on

my son had the same thing. when he was about 2 months old, i was finally fed up with it and went to the doctors and told them they better do something about it. so, they checked him out and said he had pyloric stenosis which is another word for reflux. its good to get it taken care of because i guess they can die from that. =[

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M.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

The tips Kathy B. gave are right on the money.

There is such a thing as a 'happy spitter'. My baby is a happy spitter, but it is decreasing significantly now that he sits up unsupported. Sometimes babies have immature digestive systems and they spit up, unfortunately some more than others. I worked closely with my doctor and we came to the conclusion that it was something he would outgrow - which he has begun to do.

When his spitting up was at its worst, he would spit up 12-15 times a day (only 5 bibs for you? lucky!). He would always laugh and smile after spitting up and want to play in it (yuck!). It never bothered him, nor did we see any negative physical effects (yes, we checked the mouth and esophagus for acid damage, etc.). He was just a 'happy spitter'. Seeing as how there were no adverse physical effects we did not want to unnecessarily medicate our child (not all children are happy spitters though, and I realize that some do have medical problems that need addressing).

It's disgusting, I know. Just know that it won't last forever. Ours started when he could roll over and now that he is 7 months he only spits up about once a day, if at all.

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H.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

I hate to say it, but that sounds pretty normal. If they really want to push it they should either insist that the Doctor do some tests (like an upper GI) or get a second opinion. My sister and best friend went through something very similar with their children and when I worked in Daycare I had several kids with similar problems. Some kids are pukers. To my knowledge there aren't a ton of remedies - I think Zantac is the strongest meds they can give to such a young baby. More than likely they will grow out of it. Have they started solids yet? I have heard some people have had more luck once they started adding some solids like rice cereal, others said it just gave them more ammunition. I doubt it is anything serious, mostly just a gross nuisance.

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S.F.

answers from Dayton on

One of my twin sons had severe spit-up problem and as you described, it could be at anytime. Two doctors at our peditrician's office, as well as his GI doctor at CMC, said the smae thing, the medicine for reflux is not to stop the spitting up but to make it less painful. So that's how you get the "happy spitter". He eventually out grew it and we are currently weaning him from the Prevacid.

The suggestions about the formula are worth considering. My other twin would vomit as oppossed to spitting up and it turns out he is lactose intolerant so we switched to a soy formula and had no problems.

D.S.

answers from Columbus on

HI H.,

My son also had a lot of spit up and was on Zantac and others, and my doctor also said that he would grow out of it at around 6 months, and he actually did.

If they're not happy with their doctors treatments, maybe they should change, but in regards to the spit up I think he may be right.

Regards,

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S.K.

answers from Cleveland on

here's a few things to consider....
is she bouncey right after eating? does she sleep all the way on her back? it may be better if she sleeps inclined, like in a baby swing or car seat. i noticed that with my son a few times and it's helped inclining him. hope this helps a little

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P.R.

answers from Dallas on

My son would spit up so much that he I would have to change his clothes 5 times a day and his sheets everytime he layed down. He ended up having very bad reflux. Zantac, and Axid did not work for him, he's on Prevacid now and we thicken his formula with rice cereal 1 tablespoon for every ounce of formula. It has made such a difference! He was not diagnosed until he was 4 months old. I had to keep calling the doctor and finally they sent us to a specialist, so I think maybe the parents should call the doctor again too.

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K.N.

answers from Cleveland on

my middle son had GERD and was put on zantac and we went through all the same things. something that helped significantly was not letting him lay down flat. not easy to do but gravity helps keep all things down including spit up. i put a large pillow, UNDER his crib mattress at the head, so he slept on a slope and before that he slept in his carrier or his swing just to keep him upright. we also thickened his formula with rice cereal and switched to soy. luckily he outgrew it in his first year and never had any real problems, it can be very serious. hopefully this helps you all out a little bit at least.

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J.B.

answers from Mansfield on

my daughter has the same problem and she was diagnosed with acid reflux which will make the baby spit up more. the reason it will come up more is because the formula is thin my daughters dr told me that the thicker the food the better it will stay down. my daughter takes prevacid and reglan for it and is on special formula called neocate. my daughter has tried the zantac medication and all it did was make her spit up more than before. if the baby is soaking 5 bibs a day than they need to take her back to the dr. my daughter started doing that before and dehydrated very quickly. her specialist told me to sit her up for 30 min after she eats. also she takes 1 tsp per ouch of formula in her bottle to thicken it that does help. they are right though when they say that they will outgrow it because my daughter is now almost 8 months old and she is doing alot better with it. what i was told is once they start going on their stomachs and trying to lift their selves up that muscle will tighten up and they will start doing better also she went on stage 2 baby food earlier and that helped as well i hope this will help you some if you have any questions feel free to get ahold of me my email is [email protected]____.com

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S.W.

answers from Springfield on

My son 4weeks old was spitting up most of the time and nothing was going to help unless I started him on babies magic tea.

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K.P.

answers from Columbus on

Have the parents tried weighting the formula with a little baby cereal? This is the old fashioned way of doing things, but it worked well for my son who had a hiatel hernia and would projectile vomit after EVERY bottle.

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