Reflux and Projectile Spit-up....HELP!

Updated on September 11, 2010
R.M. asks from Big Lake, MN
18 answers

I'm torn whether or not to call my pediatrician again. At about 5 weeks, my daughter diagnosed with Reflux due to her crying when/after she ate and projectile vomiting afterwards (so bad that it even comes out her nose). She was put on Zantac and we wer told to keep her upright after eating, and not to lay her flat on her back. Well, we've been using the zantac and she sleeps in her carseat. She sleeps REALLY well, but we're still experiencing the projectile vomit...and it's BAD.

She doesn't do it after every feeding, she spits up a little bit but not too bad at each one. night time, normally right after I give her the Zantac (during the feeding right before bed), she gags and then empties her entire stomach contents on me and the couch.

I took her back in to the pedi about a week ago and they said that since she's gaining weight, there's not much else they can do for it and I'll just have to deal with it. I have a good friend that's a pharmacist and she said that Zantac is kinda a waste of time and that she would recommend Prevacid. Other than requesting that, is there anything else that I can do to prevent such a violent spit-up experience?

*****Additional Info: I should have mentioned that I exclusively breastfeed, she refuses to take a bottle. I am not much of a dairy person, I don't drink milk, but take Calcium supplements and do eat some dairy, but not much.

I give her the zantac twice a day, morning and night

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So What Happened?

Well, I can't say that we've done much of anything different except that my daughter is older. I haven't changed anything in my diet and we've been feeding her the same. I'm back to work now and she gets some bottles at day care, and we haven't had a projectile spit-up episode in a few weeks :) So maybe the medicine is working or maybe she's just starting to grow out of it

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answers from Appleton on

Okay, I don't want to scare you and hope that is not what I am going to do, but yes call the doctor and I would look into other causes. I went through two weeks of hell taking my son to the ER to the doctor etc. It was a cold, then reflux and every other thing and found out that my son had hydrocephalus. Has her head circumference changed at all from appointments? Any spikes or jumps. My son is completely fine now but was misdiagnosed for several weeks. The vomiting was projectile, his overall attitude and temperament changed. He cried differently and was more lethargic, i.e. slept more.

I would suggest other tests possibly a CT scan if any of those symptoms sound similar. It was frustrating when I knew my son was very ill and not okay but every doctor said he was fine. Demand more answers. It could be something very simple and not major.



answers from Minneapolis on

My little man was a distance spitter upper as well! I was talking to other moms about it and one mother said to try removing dairy from my diet... ( I was also exclusively breastfeeding)... and what do ya know, it stopped!! Within a day or two of me not eating or drinking any dairy products he stopped spitting up. I was amazed and so thankful that I was give that suggestion. I kinda stunk that I couldn't dive into the ice cream anymore, but it was well worth it to be able to have a happy baby and less spit up. He grew out of it and by the time he was 7 or 8 months old I was able to add it back into my diet. He is now 4 and has no issues. Best of luck!

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answers from Milwaukee on

1st, Listen to your pharmacist friend and get your child on prevacid. 2nd, find a different pediatrician who knows that if Zantac doesn't work you move on to Prevacid! If Prevacid doesn't work you make an appointment with a GI doctor at your local children's hospital. I have 2 children and I expereinced everything you described. The only thing that worked was Prevacid for the reflux and Similac Alimentum formula for the milk protein allergy causing the spit up. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Definitely. Hang in there, it will get better... I promise!



answers from Minneapolis on

My dd is very spitty, but I feel it's manageable (not as bad as yours, but rarely do we both make it through the day in clean shirts). We are on Zantac and I have debated switching to Prilosec but haven't because Zantac seems to do the trick for the reflux. When I was pregnant, I tried Zantac & Prilosec and much preferred Prilosec. As my pediatrician explained it, Zantac stops the acid from traveling up, Prilosec stops the mechanism that creates the acid. Prilosec has to be refilled more often, so it's a little less convenient (and more expensive) however it's one dose per day. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Both my kiddos have reflux and Zantac didn't work for either one. Prevacid, however, has been a DREAM! My pediatrician had to do a prior authorization in order to get the insurance to pay for it, but that was no problem. (We also tried Prilosec which was also worthless) I would try the Prevacid-it works by shutting off some of the pumps that produce acid, and if your child is really pukey, this should help. Not to mention that my kids HATED the taste of the Zantac-I tasted it and it was like taking a shot of pure alcohol! The Prevacid is usually a strawberry flavor, so my kids never thought twice about taking it.
Good luck!!



answers from Minneapolis on

My twin sons had this problem as well. For us it really peaked around 3 months old and they actually started vomiting blood. I cut dairy and soy completely out of my diet. I nursed them until just recently (they are 18 months old) and they are now able to tolerate dairy products. They also took a few different reflux medications while we were trying to work it all out, but in the end the diet change made the biggest difference. That certainly isn't the easiest answer, but it worked for us.


answers from Johnson City on

Research the differences between Zantac and Prevacid. Be certain you want her on Prevacid first before you push the issue with the pedi. Some meds are blockers and some are actual acid preventers. My son was on Zantac for several months and the dosage had to be adjusted quite frequently as it is based on weight of the baby.

Also, how many times a day do you give her the Zantac and when? It might help to give her a dose of Zantac an hour or so before the last feeding. That seemed to help my son with the vomiting. You have to give the medicine a little time to work before you put something on their stomach.

I know you have been told this before but burp, burp and burp her some more. If you don't get every little bubble out of her tummy, she will throw up.

How much are you feeding in her nighttime bottle? Is it more than her other bottles? If so, it might be just too much on her stomach and that's why she is throwing up that bottle and not the others.

You can also talk to your pedi about changing her formula but honestly that doesn't work very often. Another suggestion to ask the pedi about is adding a little bit of Maalox or Mylanta to her meds. I think they need to be a certain age before you should give it to them, but when I went thru this with my son, a lot of the Moms I talked to swore by giving it to them before their last bottle at night.

Good luck! I know how hard it is to watch them go thru this and not be able to make it go away. Hang in there and definitely make an appt with the pedi to discuss any and all options for her. And if you don't like the answers this pedi is giving or feel they are not doing enough, then by all means go to a different one! You are her mother and her advocate and YOU know what is best for her!



answers from Minneapolis on

really?? back when my kids were babies-the best we could do for this was-feed less,keep sitting upright,give a bit of peppermint water to settle tummy-im sorry-but i think these drs.are pushing way to many drugs on these babies-i read so much of this its all about ol bringing infants into chiropratcters-geeze their babies-do the therapy at home...anyone notice the cost of climbing ins.these days?? when your child gets older-whats going to be the next drug to settle being upset or sick??..jmo....drugs have taken over to much of our parenting.



answers from Harrisburg on

Is your daughter breastfed or formula fed? I would say that you first need to look into her diet/your diet before you can solve this problem. Both of my kids were strictly breastfed & I had to alter my diet to their needs. My son had a dairy intolerance until he was 12 months old, which caused him to suffer from severe reflux just as you described. We tried sitting him upright after feedings for 30 minutes, sleeping in his car seat, but the only cure for him was for me to stop eating any dairy product. The biggest factor in most infants that causes reflux is dairy products. I quit dairy & within a few days my son did not have any reflux symptoms. It takes 11 days for dairy to be completely eliminated from your system so be patient. When the time comes to slowly reintroduce dairy into your diet only try a small amount at a time. Good luck



answers from Kansas City on

My first baby was a defineatly a projectile vomiter. Our walls were covered. So gross. I cried everynight because I couldnt imagine anything left in his belly after all that stuff came up. Our neonatologist (he was preemie) said that (just like yours) he was gaining weight so not to worry. It was the immature flap and nothing but time and eventually solids would help. I did find that giving reflux meds too close to feedings caused more harm than good. It was a little rough on a full belly to try and utilize the meds properly. Also, have you tasted the Zantac? It makes ME gag!! It's horrible. Again, this is why I would make sure it's at least an hour before dinner.

I suggest giving the meds earlier if possible...definatly not right before the feeding. And (this won't be much help either) stock up on bibs. We probably went through seven or eight after every feeding. But not to worry. My projectile vomiting, not good eater is now 7 and eats (and keeps down!!!) everything in sight.

As hard as it is, you just have to ride it out.


answers from Santa Fe on

My daughter (10 months old now) was a projectile vomiter also. She was always gaining weight as well. It was no fun but she grew out of it at about 8 months. Just keep burping your baby often, feeding small amounts, and putting her to sleep upright. I hope you find something that works. We never did.



answers from Minneapolis on

My son had the same problem. We tried Zantac for a month and it didn't help at all, so his pediatrician switched him to Prilosec. That made a huge difference, but he continued to spit up more than usual. We have also switched him to Similac Sensitive for Spit-up and the combination of that with the Prilosec seems to be the answer for him. It used to be that I would only wear sweats everywhere because it was guaranteed that I would be covered in vomit by the end of the day, but now we can both dress in nice clothes again without worrying.

I agree with the other posters that if your pediatrician isn't willing to help any more than they have, it might be time to find a new one.



answers from Duluth on

My son was the EXACT same way. I refered to him as the exorcist baby. Zantac did nothing for him. I did find that when I switched to Similac Sensitive from breastmilk that it helped a TINY bit. He's still projectile puke at least once a day though. We started giving him rice cereal when he was 3 months in hope it'd didn't. Baby food didn't help much either. We were told that he'd just need to outgrow it, and that's exactly what happened. When he turned about a year and a half he just stopped. Along with the puking he also had a stuff/runny nose all the time. They blamed that on the reflux and he also outgrew that at the same time. So I guess really all I can say is to wait it out, try a little formula if she'll do it eventually. They had me eliminate dairy out of my diet while nursing and that didn't help at all either. Just a lot of trial and error! Good luck! On another note, I use Zep carpet cleaner and it works great! It's in a red bottle (and there are refill jugs) at Home Depot. It's a commercial strength and so far has done great on puke stains...cuz you'll have a colorful carpet once she starts eating baby food!



answers from Davenport on

My son had the same problem. Zantac did work for him. However, I agree that Prevacid is the next option. Personally, I would be a little PO'd that the pediatrician basically told you to deal with it. Obviously, they have never had personal experience with projectile vomit from a baby. I would call them and tell them you want a prescription for Prevacid called in to your pharmacy. If they will not do it, call your pharmacy and ask them to call your doctor to get it. (Sometimes, MD's will listen to the pharmacist, more than the patient). I hope the Prevacid works for your little one.


answers from Missoula on

My brother projectile vomited after EVERY feeding. One day my mom was told to take him to a chiropractor and when she did, the chiro adjusted him and he never vomited again. He is now 19 years old. My sister has a baby who spits up and has reflux and as soon as she took her daughter to the chiro, she started to keep her food down. Alot of times acid reflux can be fixed by chiropractors over time.



answers from Minneapolis on

My son was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis when he was five weeks old when they did an ultrasound of his stomach. They referred to it as the bottom belly muscle being too thick, feeling like there was an acorn in the belly. He had surgery and then everything went through him like it was supposed to. The projectile vomit was very scary. Best wishes for an answer soon!



answers from Des Moines on

Ask for a referral to a pediatric gasteroenterologist. It will be worth it to help figure out what medication she should be on and to rule out any other problems. I have had two "pukers" but they don't have reflux (no fussiness with spit up). Also exclusively breastfed; I tried eliminating all kinds of things from my diet with the first and nothing helped, but he did outgrow it around 6 months. Good luck, and as another person suggested, if nothing else stock up on some cloth diapers (for wiping up) and good carpet cleaner!



answers from Boston on

There is a great book that will help you understand colic vs reflux, and how to treat them. It's called "Colic Solved" by Bryan Vartabedian, M.D.. I've heard him speak at conferences & I was very impressed with him. I think this book will help you decide how to best handle the situation.

Good Luck,
K. Abbott, IBCLC

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