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Why Does My Baby Throw Up Formula? It's Not Always As Serious As It Sounds

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We all know that babies can be pretty unpredictable. Especially with their food. This is why mothers find themselves guessing most of the time when it comes to their baby’s feeding needs. While breastfeeding comes with its own concerns of latching and milk flow, bottle feeding is not far behind. It is not something that infants take to easily. With formula rejections galore, it’s no surprise when a mother gets worked up every time the little one throws up.

However, have you ever wondered why your tiny tot vomits the formula? Though it’s not really a calming sight, there might be a reasoning behind it. The most important thing to realize is whether your baby has thrown up or just spat the food out? What’s the difference, you might ask? Vomiting out the food usually requires more energy than the effortless spitting out, and is also much more in terms of volume.

Why Do Babies Spit Out The Food?

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Spitting up the feed is pretty common, especially during the tiny one’s first year. It mostly happens because either the baby has been fed too much or has mistakenly swallowed the air while feeding. Also, this can happen while the baby does his/her regular burps. As per the board-certified pediatrician Alison Mitzner, this happens due to the sphincter muscle, present between the esophagus and stomach, being weak (1). With age, the muscle gets stronger and the spitting-up automatically reduces.

What will relieve you of a little bit of worry is that these spitting-out moments do not bother your little one at all. It is usually never that serious. But, if it still worries you, you can try to minimize this by decreasing the quantity per feed, frequently making your baby burp during as well as after the feed, and by keeping your baby in an upright position post feed.

On The Other Hand, If It’s Vomiting

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Most of the times, vomiting can be just a fluke. However, if it continues on a regular basis, it could be a result of a few things. It might be because of milk protein allergy, or a gastric infection or reflux. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one of the more common reasons for vomiting is the gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more familiarly known as reflux (2). It is not as forceful as you would imagine vomiting to be, but almost the entire fed content does come out. The primary reason for this occurrence is that the muscle at esophagus’s lower end becomes too relaxed allowing the stomach contents to go back up.

It is advisable to consult your pediatrician regarding reflux so that he/she can guide you to make the feeding process smoother. Providing small but more frequent feedings to your baby can help, giving him/her time to digest. Thus, keeping the food down. One more thing that can help is using small-sized nipple for the milk bottle. This will reduce the milk flow, as a stronger flow can be difficult for toddlers to keep up with. Also, try keeping your baby in an upright position for 20-30 minutes after the feed.

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Obviously, there are chances that it might not be reflux. Then, it is a possibility that your little one might have got an infection. It’s good to be on a lookout, especially during the illness season. The bug might be in the digestive tract, thereby, making the baby throw up at times. It can even cause other symptoms such as nausea, lethargy, and fever. This might result in dehydration. So try and prevent it. Your doctor can provide you with a rehydration schedule, which can really help your baby’s recovery.

Most importantly, it is advisable to consult your doctor the minute you see an increase in frequency or volume, forced spit-up, or any other symptom along with vomiting. Don’t worry, just follow the aforementioned guidelines and everything should soon be alright. Rather, let us hope it’s not something serious at all!