Babies and Spit-Up
Erica Martin, M.D.
Boys Town Pediatrics
Spit-up is very common and all babies will have some sort of reflux. The top of the stomach is just not tight yet and as they grow it will get tighter and you won't see that.
We start to worry about spit-up when babies aren't gaining weight because they're spitting up too much or it seems like it's causing them pain.
You're watching for the arching of the back, pulling away from the bottle, turning their head away from the bottle and not wanting to eat. Those would be the main symptoms that we would see with painful reflux.
If it's just a reflux, the baby is happy, one of those happy spitters, then what we recommend is frequent burping and also after eating, keeping them elevated either up on your shoulder or in your arms at about a 20 degree angle. We don't want you to put them in car seats or any type of bouncy seat because that puts pressure on the belly and they spit up more.
For babies that have reflux that seems painful, we need to hear more about the story and what symptoms they're having. We would want you to come in and we'll decide if we need to just start a medication to help with the acid so it doesn't burn when it comes up or do we need to change a formula or have mom modify her diet if the baby is breastfed. In that case we really need to see the baby and decide what the best course of action would be.
Spitting up is normal and completely harmless for most infants. Dr. Erica Martin, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, explains why babies spit up and the signs your baby may need some treatment for their reflux.