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11/17/21blog post

why does my baby spit up so much?

my baby is throwing up a lot. is something wrong?

We all know that spitting up is very common in babies. But when spitting up turns into violent vomiting there may be something wrong. If your baby is throwing up violently, it may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux, also known as GER or reflux. We sat down with Krista McNeice, nurse practitioner in our gastroenterology department, to learn more.

what is GER and how common is it?

GER is when contents from the stomach come back up through the esophagus (pipe that our food goes through). GER may cause forceful vomiting in babies.

GER is quite common in infants under two years old, and very common in the first 3 months of life. Most babies grow out of GER by 12-to 14-months-old.

what is normal for a baby with reflux?

It is common for babies with GER to throw up after feeding. As long as they are gaining weight appropriately for their age, eating without excessive irritability, and reaching developmental milestones they will most likely grow out of GER.

It is normal for reflux to get worse around 5 months of age before it gets better, which is around 7- to 9-months old.

what are the best ways to deal with GER at home?

  • Avoid overfeeding your baby. Try modifying your feeding volumes and frequencies (according to age and weight) to help your baby digest their feeding better.
  • Try thickening formula with rice cereal with low or no arsenic (1 teaspoon per oz).
  • Avoid exposing your baby to second hand smoke. Tobacco may be aggravating to babies with reflux.

If the options above don't seem to be working for your baby, it is best to speak with your primary care provider.

when should I be concerned about my baby's reflux?

Red flags for GER include:

  • Poor weight gain/weight loss
  • Persistent forceful vomiting
  • Refusing to eat
  • Throwing up blood or bile
  • Adbominal distention

If your baby is showing any of the above signs and symptoms, they may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a long-lasting type of reflux that is more serious, and should be evaluated by a pediatric gastroenterologist.

If you think you child may have GER, schedule an appointment online with one of our pediatric gastroenterology specialists here.


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Krista McNeice, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

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