On this page
– Types of Vomiting
– Causes of A Baby Vomiting
– Other Symptoms To Look Out For
– Treatment For Your Baby Vomiting
– Reducing Reflux Vomiting
– Signs That Baby May Be Allergic To Foods
– When To See Your Doctor
– Things to Remember
Is your baby vomiting after eating? Is it happening after introducing solids? Are you concerned? Don’t worry, we’ve gathered some helpful advice for you here!
Vomiting in young babies and small children is very common. This is especially true in the early weeks of introducing solids and new foods (so around 4 months old), and as their small bodies develop. A baby vomiting may seem quite scary at first, but if your baby is generally happy and healthy then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Vomiting can be a symptom of many different minor illnesses in babies, but it’s usually nothing serious, and they normally recover quickly. The amount of vomit can look like a lot, too much to come out of your little one, but remember it’s only what when in that’s coming out!
Types of Baby Vomiting
There are three different types of baby vomiting which include the following:
- ‘Posetting’– is when your baby brings up small quantities of milk or food after a feed. Its not really vomiting as it’s normally a gentle, burp-like movement, which causes your baby no stress.
- ‘Reflux’– occurs when food backs up the food pipe, or oesophagus, from your baby’s stomach. This will cause your baby to vomit gently, or spit the food up. Reflux is rarely a problem and your baby should grow out of it by the time they are around 18 months old.
- ‘Projectile’– is when your baby is vomiting in a more forceful way rather than just bringing up small quantities of food. A baby vomiting is quite natural and can be caused by simple things like car sickness, indigestion or even something as simple as crying too much. A baby vomiting may seem scary for both you and your baby, but rest assured, it is very normal. But if your baby is projectile vomiting after every meal then we recommend consulting your doctor.
Causes of A Baby Vomiting
A baby vomiting is often the sign of a minor illness or infection. It can be caused by:
- a minor infection like the common cold,
- a dose of ‘gastro’ or gastroenteritis, which is very common,
- car or motion sickness caused by travelling in a moving vehicle.
More serious illnesses that can cause your baby to vomit can include the following:
- urinary tract infections,
- ear infections,
- food allergies.
If your baby’s vomiting is accompanied by fever or diarrhoea, it’s usually a sign of a virus infection. Plus if your baby is vomiting for more than 12 hours then dehydration will be a major concern. If your baby is showing these signs then it’s time to see your doctor.
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Other Symptoms To Look Out For
Keeping in mind that vomiting in babies is normal and mostly no cause for real concern, you should be on the look out for the following symptoms:
- stomach or abdominal pain
- weight loss
While not all are a cause for any immediate action, it is important to take note, and be aware if the symptoms improve or get worse.
Treatment For Your Baby Vomiting
While a baby vomiting can be a very unpleasant experience for both you and your baby, they usually recover quickly. Vomiting can be easily treated with rest, lots of fluids and plenty of reassurance and comfort. To prevent dehydration, liquids should be given little and often. Checking your baby’s nappy will give you a good indication; if it’s drier than normal then your baby is not drinking enough.
Don’t give your baby over the counter medicine or any medication that has not been prescribed by your doctor.
Reducing Reflux Vomiting
While reflux vomiting is normal for young babies, the following tips may help to reduce his or her discomfort:
- holding and feeding your baby in an upright position,
- trying smaller and more frequent feedings,
- avoid bouncing or getting your baby excited after feeding,
- trying thicker foods like cereals,
- give your baby milk or water after feeding to reduce acid and indigestion,
- make sure feeding time is a quiet time with no outside stimulation.
Signs That Baby May Be Allergic To Foods
Food allergies may cause vomiting, but are often accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhoea and skin rashes or hives. Keeping a record of what you are feeding your young baby is recommended. If you suspect a food allergy you can consult your doctor about what may be the cause. Foods generally associated with food allergies include eggs, wheat, nuts, some berries, milk, fish and seafood. Most of these you should avoid feeding your baby until they are at least 12 months old.
When To See Your Doctor
While we’ve mentioned that a baby vomiting is normal and children will mostly get over vomiting very quickly, there will be times when you need to consult your doctor or health worker. It’s time to see your doctor when any of the following symptoms occur:
- your baby has been vomiting for more than 12 hours,
- there is blood or bile in the vomit,
- your baby is not gaining weight,
- there are signs your baby has stomach pain or a swollen abdomen,
- your baby has persistent indigestion or heartburn,
- your baby seems generally unwell.
Use your instincts, if your baby is showing signs or symptoms of being unwell, go and see your doctor.
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Things to Remember
In general, symptoms found in babies are similar to those found in adults, so you don’t need to panic every time your baby throws up. Vomiting can lead to diarrhoea, fever, and sometimes abdominal cramps. However, the symptoms can be easily treated by allowing some time to rest, lots of rehydration and maybe some soft foods.
Please keep the following in mind:
- mild vomiting is normal in most babies and improves over time,
- most babies need simple treatment, or none at all,
- having an upright feeding position may help,
- never give any medication unless prescribed by your doctor,
- after vomiting, try to give your baby a small amount of liquid or a little food,
- if your child seems unwell or shows any worrying symptoms, see a doctor!
You shouldn’t use over-the-counter medications to stop vomiting in children. The side effects of these medications can be very serious. Sometimes doctors prescribe medications to stop vomiting, but they do this only after proper medical review.
This guideline has been adapted for statewide use with the support of the Victorian Paediatric Clinical Network
Sreedharan, R., & Liacouras, C.A. (2016). Major symptoms and signs of digestive tract disorders. In R. Kliegman, B. Stanton, J. St Geme & N. Schor (Eds), Nelson textbook of paediatrics (20th edn, pp. 1758-1767). Philadelphia: Elsevier.
Alex, G., Gibbs, S., Hardikar, W., & Nightingale, M. (2015). Gastrointestinal conditions. In A. Gwee, R. Rimer & M. Marks (Eds), Paediatric handbook (9th edn, pp. 90-105). Melbourne: Wiley-Blackwell.