BABIES WHO SPIT UP A LOT

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Over half of all babies spit up, including those with no problems at birth. Milk comes up from the stomach and out the mouth. Why? Because the sphincter muscle, a ring-shaped muscle that prevents food from coming back up the esophagus, isn’t working very well. The situation improves with time, as babies grow older. By corrected age 4-6 months, they spit up less. Spitting up is also called reflux. Spitting up is generally outgrown by 12-24 months’ corrected age.

Tips to reduce spitting up:

  • Feed more often and give smaller amounts at a time
  • Change the baby’s diaper before feeding, rather than after, if possible
  • If the diaper has to be changed during or after a feeding, try doing it with the baby on her side, so that the stomach (which is full) doesn’t have to be compressed by the feet being held upward (see film or picture of a sideways diaper change)
  • Keep the baby upright for 20-30 minutes after each feed
  • Try not to put the baby in a car seat for 30 minutes after feeding, as sitting compresses the stomach
  • Seek the advice of a nutritionist – she may suggest thickening the milk with baby rice cereal

How to change a diaper with a baby on his side

Consult your doctor if the baby seems in pain when spitting up, isn’t gaining enough weight, or coughs during and/or after feedings. A baby with severe esophageal reflux may benefit from changes in feeding techniques as well as medications to make him more comfortable. As medications have side effects, however, these are generally reserved for the more severe cases.

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