Your Guide to Baby Spit Up: What's Normal, What's Not


Baby spit up can be stressful. Many new parents worry whether their baby is getting enough to eat, and spitting up after feedings can leave parents wondering if nutritional needs are being met. There are various reasons why babies spit up, but most likely, everything is normal. Sometimes, though, certain symptoms warrant a further look from your pediatrician.

Why Do Babies Spit Up?

Did you know that about half of young babies spit up on a regular basis? Getting the hang of feeding can be tough, whether your baby is breastfed, bottle fed, or a combination of both. As baby swallows air with liquid, this air can become trapped with the liquid. Therefore, when the air is released, the liquid can often accompany it. Sometimes, too, babies can take in too much milk and be slightly overfilled, also resulting in some spit up. 

Can I Prevent Spit Up?

Unfortunately, you can't prevent spit up entirely. There are certain steps you can take to minimize it, though. Try these tips:

  • Feed your baby in an upright position
  • Don't wait until your baby is too hungry to feed her
  • Make sure the bottle nipple is the appropriate size
  • Adequately burp your baby after each feed
  • Minimize activity after baby eats
  • If breastfeeding, consider a food diary to see if certain foods are triggering spit up

Is My Baby Still Getting Enough to Eat?

Likely, your baby is still getting adequate nutrition regardless of spitting up. In order to ensure this, it is best to work with your pediatrician and make sure you are tracking baby's growth. Pay attention to the number of wet and dirty diapers your baby makes, too. This is a good indicator or whether or not she is adequately hydrated and taking in enough nutrients. 

What is GERD?

There are some cases that warrant a call to the pediatrician. Though GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is very common -- even in healthy babies -- sometimes it can cause pain, irritability, projectile vomiting, or even respiratory problems as a result of aspiration. Talk to your pediatrician about having your baby tested for GERD and to see if he or she is a candidate for antireflux medications. 

What is Pyloric Stenosis?

Pyloric Stenosis is a more rare disease, especially in babies over three months. Essentially, it is a condition in infants that blocks food from entering the small intestine. If your baby vomits forcefully and has trouble gaining weight, talk to your pediatrician about ruling out this condition. 

Parents, take heart that spitting up is often normal and expected. In fact, most babies are what we call "happy spitters," where they seem to spit up on a regular basis but are still happy and thriving. If your baby's spit up is accompanied by blood in the stool, weight loss or failure to thrive, difficulty breathing, or the regular refusal of feeds, be sure to contact your pediatrician to see if further action should be taken. As always, we are here for you. Please feel free to reach out to us at with any questions.