throwing up vs spitting up - Mothering Forums

throwing up vs spitting up

purplerose's Avatar purplerose (TS)
12:53 PM Liked: 431
#1 of 14
12-19-2011 | Posts: 899
Joined: Dec 2010

If you have a spitter, how do you know when she may be throwing up? And at what point would you decide to have her treated for reflux?(what factors would you look at?) My 10 week old has been a spitter-a volcano!-since birth and nothing has made it better! But she doesn't seem in pain, uncomfortable, losing weight, everything else seems fine.


I did have a similar question a few weeks ago(not asked on here but I did try to reasearch it) about poop- when bf babies poo is watery and explosive to begin with, how do you know when it's diahrrea, if there are no other symptoms? We went through a few days where I actually thought it was a fore/hind milk imbalance, but it turned out to be diahrrea. Nothing I did changed it, and the other kids had a stomach virus. Dh even googled her symptoms and it looked like a milk imbalance.

JollyGG's Avatar JollyGG
01:14 PM Liked: 1071
#2 of 14
12-19-2011 | Posts: 1,617
Joined: Oct 2008

Cannot tell you on the poop end.


However as for the spit-up vs vomit, I went by smell. My son did have mild reflux that as an infant wasn't worth getting a diagnosis or medication for. He spit up a lot, both volume and frequency. However as long as it just smelled like milk he was fine. If it smelled like vomit, it was vomit. They both smelled very different to me.

purplerose's Avatar purplerose (TS)
01:25 PM Liked: 431
#3 of 14
12-19-2011 | Posts: 899
Joined: Dec 2010

Ok, that's pretty basic! Her spitup always smells like milk so that is reassuring. She's on long-term antibiotics, and I have been sorta worried that her spitting may turn into vomit as a reaction without me realizing it. What I've read says it will be more often, or more coming out, and there really can't be that much more coming out more often LOL Thanks!

ErinYay's Avatar ErinYay
03:49 PM Liked: 76
#4 of 14
12-19-2011 | Posts: 678
Joined: Aug 2008

As long as weight gain is good and baby seems alert and happy (well, as happy as a wee one can be) I probably wouldn't worry too much about treating reflux. At 12-weeks Arya started urping up a little, but her spitting up is soooo passive- she just kinda opens her mouth and it drools down her front, or, unluckily, my face.



Astraia's Avatar Astraia
05:36 AM Liked: 129
#5 of 14
12-20-2011 | Posts: 2,389
Joined: Dec 2008

How about overactive milk supply? It can lead to a hind/foremilk imbalance, but if she's taking in a lot and then spitting it all up (or throwing it up) and then eating again then it would balance itself out.


My daughter- my first- I thought was an excessive sptiter. She was a volcano. Fountains of it. It all smelled like spit up, but the quantity of it was extreme- we're not talking teaspoons, we're talking quarter-cups. I would have to change her clothes, my clothes, and put a towel down on whatever furniture piece I was sitting on because we were all soaked. But she would nurse and and nurse and nurse and get too much milk, throw it all up, then nurse again and again and again until she threw up- which lead to MAJOR oversupply and then I started having hind/foremilk imbalances. I did block feedings to reduce the amount of milk she was getting and to decrease the supply.


I think I'd be considering reflux if baby was particularly fussy/inconsolable, seemed uncomfortable after feeds. A happy spitter (or vomiter, as the case may be!) wouldn't require medication. Most babies spit at least a bit <shrug>



Megan73's Avatar Megan73
06:20 AM Liked: 82
#6 of 14
12-20-2011 | Posts: 2,488
Joined: May 2007
I agree with PPs - if baby is (relatively) happy and gaining well, spitting up is a laundry problem not a medical problem. But you have my sympathies. Both of my sons have been major spitters and it is a total PIA.
The good news is that both of them got much better by six months when they were sitting alone. Apparently it just takes a while - especially for boys, according to my LC - for the esophogeal sphincter to tighten up and do a good job of keeping food in the stomach.
RiverTam's Avatar RiverTam
10:02 AM Liked: 23
#7 of 14
12-21-2011 | Posts: 929
Joined: May 2009

My youngest son had pyloric stenosis and was a champion barfer. He had surgery at 3 weeks to correct it.


When he threw up, he threw up everything he ate. It seemed like a quart of fluid came out of that baby after every meal. His abdomen pushed in when he did it.


People who tell you to look for weight gain are right on. He stopped gaining weight. We caught it early, so he didn't lose weight, but he stopped gaining.


You can also look for dehydration. Babies who are throwing up a lot tend to get dehydrated. No wet diapers in 12 hours is a problem. We avoided dehydration by feeding him again in small amounts after he barfed. He was hungry all the time!  If your baby is willing to take a second meal after she spits up/throws up the first, I would talk to the doctor. Babies who spit up probably aren't hungry again right away. Babies who throw up usually are.

Skippy918's Avatar Skippy918
05:32 PM Liked: 31
#8 of 14
12-21-2011 | Posts: 562
Joined: Jul 2008

At least once a day till my DD was 4 months old, she would do the volcano spit up where everything would come up.  She liked to cluster feed and it would usually occur afterwards.  It smelled like milk.  She gained just fine.  I took her to the doc anyway.  Lots of laundry.  Now she has a bit of a cold and when she coughs she induces her gag reflex and up comes all the milk.

USAmma's Avatar USAmma
04:01 AM Liked: 2637
#9 of 14
12-27-2011 | Posts: 18,573
Joined: Nov 2001




But she doesn't seem in pain, uncomfortable, losing weight, everything else seems fine.


This is probably your answer. :-)


Do you take her for regular check-ups, and is she following her groth curve, sleeping well (as well as expected for a baby), meeting milestones, and generally happy? These are what they will look at.


It might be a good idea to take her in for a check-up and express your concerns. Professionals who deal with babies a lot are pretty good at determining normal baby stuff from medical issues.



xzaviers_mama's Avatar xzaviers_mama
12:49 PM Liked: 26
#10 of 14
12-27-2011 | Posts: 209
Joined: May 2009

I actually just logged on because of this same thing.  My 2 month old is a massive spitter!  Actually, all of my boys have been.  With my first son, his dr. put him on Zantac at one point, but it didn't help.  (This was long before we switched to a naturopath, and I'm certain that he didn't have actual reflux.)  My 2 month old seems to be worse than my other 3 boys were, so I talked to my pedi about it recently.  After reading what Astraia wrote, I'm betting that is a huge part of our issue now.  My 2.5 year old is also nursing, and I have an enormous milk supply!  My milk will sometimes let down 3 times in one nursing session.  And I don't ever let my 2 month old switch breasts.  He can't seem to keep what one breast is giving him down...

My son is also not losing weight, and generally seems happy.  (He went from 9.4lbs to 11.4lbs in 3 weeks, which shocked me!)



Our pedi recently gave me something called Peplic.  We're supposed to put 1/8tsp. in a little bit of milk twice a day.  I have to admit, I'm not very good about giving it to him.  I have to use my pump to try and get a little bit of milk to mix it with, and it takes me forever just to cover the bottom of the bottle.  My milk will not let down for a pump... at all.  I'm going to try to be diligent about it for the next 2 weeks, and see if it helps him at all.  The amount of laundry I do, just because of spit-up.... it's insane!  He always has to have a towel under his head... he's destroyed our couch in his short 2 months of  Nighttime is especially hard, because I'm up and down changing his clothes, finding a new towel to go under his head, etc.


If the Peplic makes a difference, I'll come back here and update!

purplerose's Avatar purplerose (TS)
01:08 PM Liked: 431
#11 of 14
12-27-2011 | Posts: 899
Joined: Dec 2010

During the night in bed is when my daughter spits the least! But the evenings before bed is the most. I will wait and see what you have to say about Peplic. I don't like the idea of giving Zantac, especially when this isn't bothering her. It would be nice though to wear clean clothes in public LOL Only one of my 4 kids didn't spit. I blamed #1 on the fact that I put her on formula because she didn't start until then, but then #3 and 4 spit pretty good even being ebf :)

purplerose's Avatar purplerose (TS)
01:11 PM Liked: 431
#12 of 14
12-27-2011 | Posts: 899
Joined: Dec 2010

I tried to google Peplic and can't find anything! I'll keep looking.

xzaviers_mama's Avatar xzaviers_mama
04:19 PM Liked: 26
#13 of 14
01-06-2012 | Posts: 209
Joined: May 2009

Well... I'm still not doing very good at giving him the  I feel like it's pointless.  I spend all this time trying to pump out a little bit of milk, then DH gives it to him and he spits it up.  


I feel the same way you do about the Zantac.  He doesn't seem to be uncomfortable... he's gaining weight...  The spitting up is really just annoying, more than anything else.  


This is exactly what my pedi gave us... but I can't really find any other info on it.

purplerose's Avatar purplerose (TS)
07:20 PM Liked: 431
#14 of 14
01-06-2012 | Posts: 899
Joined: Dec 2010


my daughter takes antibiotics and i give them to her when she first falls asleep. she doesn't spit when she's asleep for the first stretch at night. maybe you can try giving the peplic to your son when he"s falling into a deep sleep, if he doesn't spit then. peplic is really hard to find anthing on it regarding infant use! i'm usually good at finding info lol.

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