Baby Spit Up After Feeding: What’s Normal, When To Worry

Be prepared to dedicate a considerable amount of time to feeding, burping, and changing your baby. It is common for your baby to spit up during these activities, and you may even find yourself getting doused in spit up on multiple occasions. This is a frequent occurrence during burping.

Does spitting up count as burping? Spitting up can happen when you are burping a child, and it does count as burping. Spitting up and vomiting are different, with spitting up being a simple side effect of a burping session when a baby may have consumed too much milk during the feeding. 

It’s important to know why spit up occurs and when it’s actually something more than an innocuous occurrence. 

Baby Spit Up After Feeding – What To Know

Babies love to eat, and then they love to offer some of their meal back to you in the form of spit up. 

What Causes Babies To Spit Up

Spit up is usually just a matter of a baby needing more time for physical development.

A muscle between the esophagus and the stomach is meant to keep food from coming up, but it’s not fully developed in many babies in those early months of life. That means their food can make its way back out relatively easily.

Spit Up vs. Vomit

Spit up tends to look like a dribble or slight flow of liquid coming from your child’s mouth.

Vomit is much more aggressive and will shoot further away from your child’s mouth. Your child will likely also express more discomfort when vomiting.

How Much Spit Up Is Normal for a Newborn?

Not that you’re actually going to measure it, but you can eyeball spit-up amounts and see that it’s about a tablespoon coming back up, two at the most. This is for each spit-up session, not the entire day.

Baby Spits Up After Every Feeding

If your baby spits up after every feeding, that doesn’t mean something is wrong. This is just a sign that their digestive system is still maturing.

As long as the chronic spit up is not causing your child to lag in growth, it is probably perfectly normal.

Does a Baby Who Spit Up Still Need To Burp?

You can still try to burp your baby after they spit up if they seem uncomfortable. However, spitting up may be all they needed to do to feel better.

Does Spit Up Mean Overfeeding?

Spit up does not always mean overfeeding. It can just mean that your baby’s digestive system is still developing and needs some time.

However, overfeeding could be a factor, so try feeding your child from one breast and then burping him before feeding him from the other. Smaller meals may help slow the spit-up reaction.

When Does Baby Spit Up Peak?

Those first few months may be a doozy since spit up tends to peak around the 4-month mark. Have those burp cloths ready.

When Does Baby Spit Up Stop?

The spit-up action usually stops around the 7-month mark, but every baby is different. If your child continues to spit up for longer than feels right, you can always ask your doctor if there could be another issue.

What To Do if Baby Spits Up While Sleeping

Don’t panic if your baby spits up while sleeping. Your child will cough out or swallow whatever they spit up while sleeping out of reflex, even if they are on their backs.

If you’re still concerned, simply hold your baby upright for about half an hour after his bedtime feed and before you put him down for the night. Make sure you burp him as well.

When To Be Concerned About Spit Up

If your child is not growing, seems listless after spitting up, or isn’t making dirty diapers, it’s time to get your doctor involved to determine if there is an underlying issue.

A young mother holding and kissing her baby who has some spit up on his mouth.

Common Concerns About Baby Spit Up

Even though spit up is a pretty normal occurrence, there are reasons you might be concerned. 

Baby Keeps Spitting Up but Still Wants To Eat

You can feed your baby again after they spit up, but this may lead to more spit up. If your child eats too much, spits up, and then eats again, they may get overfull and have to spit up again.

Take it slow, and burp your baby often during feedings to help them hold onto the milk.

If Baby Spits Up, Should I Feed Again?

If your baby is still hungry, you can try feeding again. If they aren’t showing signs of hunger, you can wait until the next feeding time.

Why Does My Baby Spit Up After Burping?

For some babies, the burping pat releases more than just air. If the muscle separating the esophagus and the stomach is not fully developed, your baby will spit up because there is no way for the milk to stay down easily.

Baby Spits Up Breast Milk but Not Formula

If your baby only spits up breast milk but is fine with formula, there could be very logical reasons.

You may be eating something that is not agreeing with your baby’s belly, and this is causing them to spit up the milk. However, it may have nothing to do with your diet at all.

Breast milk is thinner than formula, so you feed your baby much more often when you breastfeed. This means more burping sessions and more opportunities to spit up on mom’s shoulder.

Baby Spitting Up a Lot All of a Sudden

Remember that spitting up the first few months of life can ebb and flow in frequency. It’s likely nothing to be alarmed about if your child starts spitting up more often at certain times.

However, if your child is in pain, lethargic, or failing to grow, seek medical attention.

Baby Spits Up When Laid Down

It’s a good rule of thumb to keep your baby in an upright position for 20-30 minutes after each feed.

This gives you time to burp the baby and to let the food make its way down for a bit before your baby is put down. This may reduce spit-up sessions that occur after your child is laid down for rest.

Baby Spitting Up Curdled Milk

Breast milk or formula plus stomach acid equals spit up that has a curdled milk consistency.

The longer your child waits to spit up after a feeding, the more likely it is that you will get a very curdled milk experience.

Thick Spit Up Breastfed Baby

Your breastfed baby may have thicker spit up if the milk has had time to mix with stomach acid before coming back up during burping. This can change the consistency.

Closing Thoughts

Spitting up is a normal and messy part of having a baby. Invest in those burp cloths, and remember that all too soon your little one will leave their babyhood behind.