It often comes as a shock to most moms when they see their babies vomit. The sudden eruption of curious smelling, whitish fluid from the little one’s mouth often puzzles young mothers.
- What could this be?
- What can I do about this?
If this scenario seems familiar then we have great news for you. You are not experiencing this alone. Every mother before, now and in future has and will experience this just like you have. Baby vomiting is also called gastroesophageal reflux in babies (GER).
Causes of Baby Vomit.
Knowledge of possible causes of baby vomit can help every mother prepare herself to handle it properly. Here are a few reasons:
1. Baby’s digestive system still adjusting.
Your baby lived like royalty in a cosy womb before birth. His little stomach is still adjusting to life outside the mommy’s body. One reason for baby vomiting, therefore, is that the newborn’s digestive system is trying to get used to the environment outside the womb. This can be more perplexing if your baby is being bottle-fed.
Also, note that the baby’s organs are still being formed and trying to adjust to the environment outside the mother’s womb. The adjustment of the digestive system will be ongoing for at least 24 months. Be careful to ensure that the baby eats foods that his/her digestive system is equipped and matured enough to handle. Don’t be in a hurry to try new formula or push solid food into your baby’s mouth. This will go a long way to reduce this occurrence in your newborn infant.
2. Your baby is a fast milk drinker.
Your baby might be a fast milk drinker but what this implies is that the baby is gulping down the milk too fast – for a bottle-fed or breastfed baby. It is also possible that the baby’s feeding bottle has too many holes than it should have at this stage. Even for a baby on formula (6 months and above), drinking too fast can produce this same effect.
When the milk or formula enters the stomach from the mouth too fast it causes substantial pockets of air to be swallowed along with the milk/formula. The air bubbles then grow gradually into large air pockets and eventually try to push the food back out of the stomach. This comes with some form of discomfort. The force of the air pockets makes the vomited food seem forcefully thrown out of the mouth, with accompanying stains on clothes and furniture.
3. Burping is extremely important.
Newborn burping is a very satisfying sound for both the baby and the mother. A burp is considered a sign that the milk the baby just ate will not come out. Your baby could vomit because he/she was not ‘burped’ after feeding. Correctly adhering to burping techniques can assist remove pockets of air in your baby’s tummy. This helps to retain milk in your newborn’s stomach. Parents and caregivers should consistently burp their babies and if habitually carried out, chances of baby vomiting after feeding is greatly decreased.
4. Your baby could be suffering from some other illness.
A possible fourth reason for baby vomiting is due to illness or some other stressful situation that the baby might be experiencing. If your baby is feverish or is suffering from some other illness vomiting may be the way your baby’s body tries to regulate itself. In many cases, vomiting may not continue beyond 24 hours. However, if the vomiting still continues and you observe it having adverse effects on your baby, you should seek medical attention immediately. If your baby is older than 6 months, your doctor might prescribe foods such as fluids, bananas or yoghurt, in addition to medication.
Baby vomiting can also be caused by colic when the baby cries until he/she vomits the milk taken in. Colic is due to a combination of several factors among them digestive immaturity and possible food allergies.
Ensure to keep the baby well hydrated to retain useful electrolytes in his/her body.
5. Medical Conditions.
One of the reasons a newborn may throw up his milk might be due to Newborn Acid Reflux. If the baby’s vomiting contains sufficient acid it can damage the baby’s oesophagus. This condition is also called G-E-R-D (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease). If your baby is having this condition quickly see a doctor.
Another medical condition known as ‘Galactosemia’ can also cause a newborn baby to regurgitate the milk he intakes. This is a rare metabolic condition that prevents a baby from processing ‘galactose’ (one of the sugars found in breast milk and formula). If left untreated it can be a life-threatening situation. Good news is it is easily diagnosable and relatively treatable. A good paediatrician can help your baby overcome this very easily.
Now that you know these 5 reasons for your baby’s vomiting, I am sure you are now equipped with information that will help both you and your precious little baby.