Feeding and Digestive Issues: Vomiting
Every baby spits up, usually after a feeding, but it usually comes out effortlessly and without any noticeable discomfort. Vomiting, on the other hand, is more forceful and upsetting – but thankfully it usually looks scarier than it is. Vomiting can, however, be an indication of something much more serious, depending on the other symptoms that accompany it:
- Vomiting (spitting up) during or after a feeding is fairly normal, due to overfeeding. If this happens, simply give smaller portions, burp the baby more often and be careful not to bounce him or her around too much after a feeding.
- If the baby also has congestion, sneezing, coughing and a fever, this is most likely a cold. The accompaniment of more serious symptoms like diarrhea and a loss of appetite could indicate the flu. If you notice phlegm in the vomit, clear out nasal mucus with an aspirator.
- Vomiting could also be sign of motion sickness if it happens during or after a car ride. If this is the culprit, try and make frequent stops throughout your trip to give your baby some fresh air.
- The additions of diarrhea and a fever could mean your little bugger caught a stomach bug.
- Vomiting after a long crying spell is fairly normal during colic or even sleep training.
- Projectile vomiting, coughing and gagging can be signs of reflux.
- Projectile vomiting, excessive hunger, dehydration and weight loss could be pyloric stenosis, a serious condition where the pylorus muscle in the lower part of the stomach thickens and blocks food from entering the small intestine. This needs to be addressed immediately and will only be fixed with surgery.
- If the baby also has bloody or smelly urine, irritability, pain during urination and fever, this is probably a urinary tract infection.
- Vomiting with a fever, irritability, diarrhea and ear pain (often indicated by pulling at the ear and/or fluid draining), possibly means the baby has an ear infection.
- Vomiting after a head injury could be a concussion, in which the baby should be brought to the emergency room.
- More severe symptoms like lethargy, respiratory problems, sensitivity to light, cold hands and feet, rash, jaundice and seizures warrant a trip to the emergency room immediately, as it could be anything from meningitis to a blood infection.
- Unexplained vomiting could possibly be due to poison ingestion. Although this probably won’t apply to your newborn, keep it in mind when your little one starts to become mobile.
When to call the doctor:
- The baby has been vomiting for more than 24 hours.
- You see a large amount of dark blood or green bile in the vomit, of which the doctor might want a sample. (Gross, we know.) Green bile means there might be an intestinal blockage.
- The baby vomits more than once after a head injury.
- You notice dehydration:
- More concentrated urine that looks darker and smells stronger
- Six hours or more without a wet diaper
- Dry lips
- Unusual lethargy
- If your baby has sunken eyes and cold, splotchy hands and feet, take him or her to the emergency room immediately.
- The vomiting is violent and projectile.
- The baby has a rash, jaundiced skin, seizures or any other serious problem.