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  • Writer's pictureKristan Jennings

When Is Baby Spit-up Too Much?

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


As a parent or caregiver of a little one, it's not uncommon to experience moments of concern when it comes to spit-up. After all, it can be quite alarming to see your baby bring up what seems like a significant amount of milk or formula. Over the years, I've had my fair share of experiences with babies spitting up, ranging from small dribbles to more substantial amounts. In this blog post, I'll discuss the typical amount of spit-up, symptoms that indicate your baby may be uncomfortable, and when it's time to reach out to your pediatrician.



Understanding Spit-up: How Much Is Normal?


First and foremost, it's essential to understand that spitting up is a normal part of a baby's development. As their digestive system is still maturing, it's not uncommon for some milk or formula to come back up after a feeding. In most cases, spit-up is harmless and shouldn't be a cause for concern.

The amount of spit-up can vary between babies, but generally, it should be no more than a tablespoon or two. It's also quite normal for babies to spit up several times a day, especially during the first few months of life. As long as your baby is gaining weight, feeding well, and appears content, there's usually no need to worry.


Symptoms of Baby Being Uncomfortable


While spit-up is a normal part of a baby's development, there are situations when it may cause discomfort. Here are some signs to look out for:


1. Arching their back during or after feedings

2. Crying or fussiness during or after feedings

3. Gagging or choking during feedings

4. Refusing to eat or difficulty latching

5. Frequent hiccups or coughing

6. Persistent congestion or respiratory issues


If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to monitor your baby closely and consider discussing the issue with your pediatrician.


When to Contact the Pediatrician


While spit-up is typically harmless, there are instances when it's necessary to consult with a pediatrician. Reach out to your healthcare professional if:


1. Your baby's spit-up appears green or bloody

2. The frequency or volume of spit-up suddenly increases

3. Your baby is losing weight or not gaining weight as expected

4. Your baby exhibits signs of dehydration, such as dark urine, sunken eyes, or lethargy

5. Your baby has difficulty breathing or turns blue during or after spitting up

6. Your baby's spit-up is accompanied by severe projectile vomiting


These symptoms may indicate an underlying issue, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pyloric stenosis, or an allergy or intolerance to a component of their milk or formula. Your pediatrician will be able to evaluate your baby and recommend appropriate treatment or management strategies.


Navigating the world of spit-up can be challenging, but it's essential to remember that, in most cases, it's a normal part of a baby's development. By familiarizing yourself with the typical amount of spit-up, recognizing the signs of discomfort, and knowing when to contact your pediatrician, you can help ensure your baby's health and well-being. And remember, as your baby grows and their digestive system matures, spit-up will gradually become less frequent. If in doubt, reach out to your pediatrician for peace of mind or a plan of action.

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