Among the many things about babies that rob new parents of their peace of mind, is constant vomiting. If this is what is going on with your baby, you need not be alarmed. This article will help you pinpoint exactly why your baby keeps throwing up after feeding and how to effectively tackle the issue.
Vomiting after feeding can be the result of many problems and they may not necessarily be serious. This is actually a very ordinary problem which faces a lot of infants.
At times what you might mistake for vomit is in reality spit-up. There are some key differences between the two, as explained below:
Is your baby vomiting or simply spitting-up their feed?
Younger babies who feed only on milk spit out or vomit a fluid that looks pretty much the same. However, you can focus on the way they release it through their mouths and decide if it’s spit-up or throw-up.
Spit-ups take place because babies’ guts are still in the stage of development. Babies mostly spit-up before or after they burp and it simply oozes out like drool without any effort. Furthermore, spit-ups are also more common among babies who are 1 year old or below.
On the other hand, vomit comes out with a force that adults are also familiar with. Vomit looks milky for younger babies and it has small fermented bits of milk too.
Babies also commonly cough or produce unusual noises before a fit of vomit, while that’s not the case with spit-up.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s explore the reasons why your baby keeps throwing up after feeding;
Possible reasons why your baby keeps throwing up after feeding
Trouble digesting feed
Babies, especially those who are only a month or below old have not yet learnt to digest their feed. Their stomach is still very immature and so not fully functional. If your baby is very young, one likely cause of their incessant vomiting might simply be their inability to digest.
This is supposed to become better on its own, typically after the first month of life. One strategy you could try to make it better is feeding your baby smaller amounts at a time.
This is also known as “stomach flu”. Gastroenteritis is a sickness of the stomach that may be the reason why your baby keeps throwing up after feeding. The following are some of its symptoms:
- Lack of appetite
- Constant crying/throwing of tantrums
Babies with gastroenteritis usually vomit in cycles of 24 hours. Even though gastroenteritis is to recover on its own as it is not that critical, a severe spell of it can lead to dehydration in your child. You must contact a doctor if any of the following symptoms of dehydration show:
- Parched mouth
- Dry skin
- Crying with no tears
- Dry diapers for 8 or more hours
- Crying weakly
Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux might be one of the causes your baby keeps throwing up after feeding.
GERD results in vomiting in babies when the muscles at the top of their stomach are completely relaxed. These muscles develop with time and GERD recovers by itself, but in the meantime you can do some things to make the situation better for your baby;
- Don’t overfeed
- Give smaller amounts of feed, more frequently
- Burp your baby
Infections as a cause baby keeps throwing up after feeding
Young babies are prone to various bacterial, viral and fungal infections as their immune systems are still quite weak. Such infections, especially intestinal ones can be the reason why your baby keeps throwing up after feeding. These infections naturally need proper treatment to heal, and so contacting a pediatrician is a must.
Doctors are likely to prescribe antibiotic, antifungal or antiviral medication depending on the type of infection.
Although it’s a rare occurrence that babies have a rare type of lactose intolerance called galactosemia, it’s not completely off the table. Galactosemia causes infants to be sensitive to even breast milk, and so this could be the reason your baby keeps throwing up after feeding.
Galactosemia occurs in babies who lack an enzyme that is essential in digesting the sugars found in milk.
If your baby has this condition, you should only feed them formula milk, and that too without milk proteins.
This condition involves too narrow an opening between your baby’s stomach and intestines. This is a rare condition that might be why a baby keeps throwing up after feeding.
Some symptoms of pyloric stenosis are as follows:
- Your baby always has an appetite
- Your baby is experiencing weight loss
- Your baby is suffering from dehydration
- Your baby is often constipated
- Your baby gets stomach contractions that are wave-like
- Your baby does not have much bowel movements
You must see a doctor immediately if you notice these symptoms
Should you continue feeding after your baby vomits?
This is a question that is often on the minds of feeding parents whose baby just threw up. Your baby keeps throwing up after feeding for a plethora of reasons, most of which aren’t that concerning.
So to answer this, yes you can continue feeding your baby after they throw up, and washing them up of course. You need to; however, be sure that the reason for vomiting is nothing serious before proceeding to feed.
When to NOT continue feeding your baby after they vomit
In the following cases, it would be better to halt feeding for a while:
- If your baby has thrown up due to an infection (give medication first)
- If your baby has motion sickness or car sickness
- If your baby is running a fever