It is not unusual to find your baby spitting up shortly after a feeding. Some babies spit up after every meal whereas some do it occasionally. But, sometimes, you will see them spitting up through their nose in addition to mouth. It is because your baby’s nose is connected to the back of her throat.
It is quite normal if your baby spits up through nose once in a while, but if it happens repeatedly, it is a matter of concern.
Why Do Babies Spit Up Through Nose?
Let us understand some of the reasons behind your baby spitting up through nose.
- Partially Developed Valve: The esophagus is connected to the tummy through a valve, that is still underdeveloped in babies, and sometimes it cannot hold all of the stomach’s contents. If you feed your baby with excess milk or formula or if she swallows too fast it can aggravate the spitting up (1). You may take advice from your pediatrician about how much and how frequently you should feed your little one to minimize the symptom.
- Hiccups, Coughs Or Sneezes: The swallowing process may become little complex if your baby is hiccupping, coughing or sneezing. These conditions increase the pressure on the esophagus, which may exacerbate spitting up through nose.
- Ingesting Air: Your baby may sometimes ingest some air along with breast milk or formula.
Later, when the air tries to expel out, it comes out with milk as it gets trapped in milk. It will thus come out through mouth or nose.
- Distractions: Sometimes, your baby may get distracted while she is feeding (especially if there is someone around or there’s a lot going on) and they will not pay attention to what they are doing. They may forget to swallow when they should, this may choke and cause the milk to come back through the nose.
Impact Of Spitting Up Through Nose:
When your baby spits up, it may irritate her nose, but it will not cause any medical concern. If she often spits up large amounts, there is a possibility that she will not have sufficient nutrients for growth. You have to monitor her growth, weight gain and developmental milestones. Your pediatrician will help you determine if she requires any medical intervention.
How Can You Reduce Spitting Up?
Here are some ways help to reduce the bouts of spit-ups your baby often suffers from:
1. Check The Bottle Nipple:
If you are using a feeding bottle, you should double check the nipple hole to ensure that it lets out a few drops at a time. Doing this ensures that your baby will not get too much milk at a time.
2. Limit The Feed:
If your baby is on breast feed, try to limit the length of each feed. Short and frequent feedings will reduce the bouts of spitting up.
3. Do Not Overfeed:
Overfeeding may cause increased spitting up as the digestive system, and stomach muscles are all developing.
If her stomach is full, she is bound to spit up, especially when she bounces around after feeding (2). So don’t allow her to play immediately after feeding.
4. Feed On Time:
You should breastfeed, or formula-feed your little one on time and do not allow her to get super hungry. She may eat hurriedly when food is given late, which may lead to choking and spitting up.
5. Avoid Distractions:
When you are feeding your baby, make sure that you are in a calm place. Do not feed her in a noisy area or that is prone to distractions, as it may cause spit-ups.
6. Upright Position:
Hold your little one in an upright position during and after feeding. It will allow the feed to pass smoothly through the digestive system and will not cause any disturbances like spitting up.
7. Burp Your Baby:
Take time to burp your little one while and after feeding, as it will restrict air from building up in the tummy. This way the air comes out and will not cause any irritation for your baby.
8. Keep Pressure Off The Tummy:
Do not dress your baby in a tight diaper or clothes soon after feeding the baby, as it may stress her tummy and will make her feel uncomfortable.
9. Put Baby To Sleep On Back:
The risk of choking and spitting up is greatly reduced when babies sleep on their back. Doing this also reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
When Can You Call A Doctor?
Most infants spit up because of improper feeding positions. But sometimes it may also be due to certain medical conditions. You should seek your pediatrician’s help if your baby experiences:
- Spitting up causing discomfort for the baby
- Having difficulty with sucking or swallowing, which may be a problem of soft palate
- Spits up large amounts after each feed, where the doctor should check her weight whether she is gaining efficiently.
- Spits up blood or green color material
- Persistent spitting up through nose, which can also be a defect of palate in the mouth and is not visible through physical examination.
- Spitting up accompanied with choking or coughing
- Continues to spit up even after early childhood stage
When Does Your Baby Stop Spitting Up?
Most babies will stop spitting up by six months or after they learn to sit. But, in some cases, they may also continue spitting up until one year.
Even after you baby stops spitting up, some liquid may still come out of the nose because she does not have control over the swallowing process. As the digestive system develop and muscles grow stronger, she may stop regurgitating the feed and hold it within the tummy.
The issue will not completely curb in older children. Even some adults spit up liquid through their nose sometimes. It happens when they suddenly laugh while drinking. It is the same situation and normal.
Although spitting up is considered to be natural by pediatricians, you should always monitor your baby spitting up patterns to keep her safe.
Has your baby suffered from frequent spit-ups? How did you help her curb the conditions? Feel free to share your experiences in the below comment section.
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