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Why do babies spit up food?

Why do babies spit up food?

Spitting up milk is a common phenomenon among babies. Many parents wonder, "Why does my baby spit up?" However, this is not necessarily a cause for concern. It is a normal physiological phenomenon that can have various causes.

Normal and physiological phenomenon


Regurgitation, also known as "spitting up," is a process where the stomach contents flow back into or out of the mouth. This happens spontaneously and involuntarily. Often, this occurs because the baby has swallowed air or drank too hastily. Additionally, a baby's stomach is still very small, which limits its capacity to hold food.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER)

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) is a common reason why babies spit up milk. With reflux, the contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus, causing discomfort and spitting up of food. This is because the lower esophageal sphincter, which separates the stomach from the esophagus, is not yet fully developed in babies.

Too much food

Sometimes, your baby drinks more than their stomach can hold. This can also lead to spitting up milk. Parents often worry that their baby is not getting enough nutrition if they spit up a lot. However, if your baby urinates sufficiently, has regular bowel movements, is alert, and grows well, there is generally no reason to worry. If you feel uncertain, it is advisable to talk to your pediatrician or midwife.

What can you do if your baby spits up milk?

Here are various measures and tips to reduce spitting up milk:

  • Keep your baby upright during feeding: This promotes digestion and reduces the likelihood of reflux.
  • Keep your baby upright after feeding: Do not lay your baby down immediately after feeding; hold them upright for a while.
  • Wait with bathing or changing: Do not put your baby in the bath immediately after feeding and wait with changing them.
  • Create a calm environment during feeding: If your child is not distracted, they will drink more calmly.
  • Let your baby burp: Make sure your baby burps during and after each meal.
  • Slow down the drinking pace: Your baby may be drinking too quickly. For bottle-feeding, a nipple with a smaller opening can help slow down the drinking pace. A good drinking pace is between 15 and 20 minutes per bottle.
  • Use carob bean gum: You can add a spoonful of carob bean gum to the bottle to thicken the food. This can help reduce reflux. Attention: Consult your pediatrician or midwife before using carob bean gum. Together, you can determine the appropriate amount for your child. Each child is different and has unique needs. Sometimes a pinch of carob bean gum is sufficient. It is best to gradually increase the amount, as too thick food is also not pleasant.

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