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Why is my baby vomiting?!

When cradling your newborn, it can be hard to keep a smile on your face if your little one is constantly vomiting down your blouse. Rest assured, it is very common for babies to vomit in the early days as they adjust to feeding – so much so that a hand towel will become part of many a new mummy’s wardrobe.

As opposed to spit up, you can tell when your baby is vomiting, as he will be bringing up copious amounts of milk, and because this is a new and frightening sensation for him, he is most likely to cry and wail.

The good news is, baby vomit is usually not something to be concerned about. Your baby will eventually grow out of it, so to speak, at around six to eight months as they adjust to this new habit of feeding. As soon as your baby begins to sit and spend more time upright, gravity becomes his friend  by keeping his food where it should be.

RELATED: When is baby spit up something to worry about?

Possible causes why babies vomit

Baby vomit can be contributed to any number of causes, of which most of them are not serious at all. Your little one’s digestive tract is still very fragile, so everything from car sickness to indigestion can cause him to expel his food.

  • Baby vomit is nothing strange in newborns as they bring up mucous from their stomachs. This can be quite distressing to you as the mucous appears to be rather thick, but it is nothing more than the remnants of amniotic fluid your baby swallowed while in your womb, combined with his own mucous lining.
  • Once your baby starts consuming more milk, you will also notice that he regurgitate some of the milk. This kind of baby vomit is also referred to as “positioning” and occurs right after a feed when some of the milk is brought back up through a pocket of air.

RELATED: Ouch! What do I do about my sore nipples while breastfeeding?

  • Another common reason for baby vomit is down to simple biology; the valve at the top of his stomach in control of keeping the food down is not quite as developed yet. This little valve does close, but not as tightly, so it only takes the slightest pressure to open up. If you push too hard on your baby’s full stomach as you hold him, all that milk will come right out.
  • Even excessive crying can trigger you baby’s gag reflex and cause him to throw up.

When baby vomit is a cause for concern

If your baby is vomiting violently and consistently, take him to your doctor to find out if further treatment is necessary. Your doctor will see to it that your baby is comfortable and recommend the right course of action. More serious concerns include;

  • Blood or bile in vomit. Shortly after birth it is not unusual if you notice slight traces of blood, as your baby swallowed some blood on his way out. Also, if you have cracked and bleeding nipples, it is understandable where the blood comes from. This will not harm your baby, and is no reason to be worried. However, if your baby is on formula milk and the amount of blood is increasing, call your doctor immediately. Green bile can also indicate that his intestines are blocked.

RELATED: 7 harmful foods NOT to feed your infant

  • The sudden onset of vomiting can be contributed to a tummy bug like gastroenteritis, so if it goes hand in hand with diarrhoea, have him treated.
  • A cold, urinary tract or ear infections in the ear and urinary tract can also cause your baby to be sick.
  • Pyloric stenosis is a rare condition that causes baby’s stomach lining to thicken so much that the said valve won’t up enough to let any food through. This is easily rectified by minor surgery, but does require immediate attention.

An attack of vomiting will generally clear up within 24 hours, but while your baby is sick, keep a close eye on him and be on the lookout for signs of fever, dehydration and shortness of breath.

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