Happy Spitters

Posted 10.21.10 | Christine Graham-Garo

We often get calls from parents asking about their child’s “spitting up” habits. If your little one has had vomiting problems in the past due to food allergies, it may be hard to know when it’s a regular spit up or something more serious. Every baby spits up or vomits occasionally, and some do quite often or even with every feeding. If, despite the spitting, your baby is

  • Content
  • In no discomfort
  • Growing appropriately
  • Experiencing no breathing problems from the vomiting

then your little one is what pediatricians call a "happy spitter" and no treatment is needed.

Infant Reflux and GERD

Reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back up into the esophagus. When reflux is severe, it can progress to a more serious condition such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation of food or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing, coughing, wheezing and chest pain. Typical reflux should not be causing any pain for your baby. If you notice your little one is in discomfort, please see your pediatrician.

Reflux Remedies

Infants are especially prone to reflux because 1) their stomachs are quite small and are easily distended, and 2) the lower esophagus valve may be immature and may not tighten up when it should. Typically, the lower esophagus valve tightens up sometime in the first year, usually around 4-5 months of age, at which time the spitting up may go away. For any spitter, there are a few things that might help:

  • Keep your baby upright for a half hour or so after a feeding (to let gravity help out).
  • Make sure there's no pressure on the stomach after a feeding. For example, try to wait at least 30 minutes after feeding before putting baby in her car seat.

If your child has more serious reflux or GERD, your pediatrician may also prescribe some medication to help control the acid.

What remedies work for your little spitters?

- Christine

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.