What to Do if Your Baby Vomits?

What to Do if Your Baby Vomits?

Last update: 27 October, 2017

A big worry among parents is when their baby vomits. There are children that vomit frequently and easily without having a serious problem. Every child is unique, and so are the causes of vomiting. Therefore, our reaction should depend on the type of vomiting the child has.

In this article we will explore the possible causes of vomiting and what we can do to prevent it. It is important to be patient; a child that is vomiting frequently worries us. Not only because we are concerned about their well-being, but because it also implies picking up, cleaning, bathing, changing, bedding, etc.

This is why it is very important to be patient and act calmly.

Causes of vomiting and what to do

Nutritional problems

If your baby vomits frequently during the first months of life, this can be due to feeding problems. Excessive feeding, intolerance or allergies to breast milk or protein formulas can be the culprits.

If your child is experiencing frequent vomiting, you should consult your paediatrician.

What to do if your baby vomits due to nutrition

  • Sometimes we give babies more milk than they need. Therefore, reducing the amount of milk they consume can stop vomiting. You can also space out their feeding.
  • Make sure they are tolerant to the food you give them. Find out if your baby vomits after eating a particular food. If they do, this might mean that they have an intolerance or allergy to it.
  • Consult your doctor, to rule out other causes and to seek treatment.

Viral or bacterial infections

If your child has a cold or a respiratory infection, the mucus they produce can cause vomiting. Coughing can also be a cause. Nasal secretions from a cold can descend into the stomach and irritate it. Children may vomit to expel these secretions.

Vomiting can also be due to a stomach infection, gastroenteritis or bowel diseases. If this is the cause of the vomiting, other symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and loss of appetite may be associated. Bladder infections and otitis can also cause vomiting.

What should you do?
  • If the child has a cold, perform frequent nasal washes.
  • Give them lots to drink to prevent dehydration.
  • Above all, consult your doctor and follow their advice and treatment.

Intense crying attacks

A prolonged crying attack can activate nausea reflexes that can cause vomiting. Although this type of vomiting is unpleasant, it does not cause any physical harm to your baby. So you don’t have to worry.

What should you do?
  • It is important to remain calm. This type of vomiting is not harmful and usually doesn’t have any medical importance.

Pyloric stenosis.

This is a common cause of vomiting in the first week of life. It is caused by the thickening of the muscle that connects the stomach to the intestines. The obstruction does not allow food to go through the connection as it normally does.

Therefore, the child projectile vomits soon after eating. If you believe your child has this condition, consult your doctor as soon as possible. The treatment is usually surgical.

What should you do?
  • Consult your doctor to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Gastro-oesophagic reflux

This type of vomiting is caused by a non-functioning muscle that is situated between the oesophagus and the stomach. It is a common cause in the first months of life and is usually accompanied by stomach aches and a burning or irritation of the throat.

What should you do?
  • Never force the child to eat, respect their physiological needs.
  • Maintain their body upright while they eat.
  • After they eat make sure they remain calm while the food digests.
  • If you put the baby to bed after eating, do it with their head to the side.
  • If the diagnosis of reflux has been made, it is good to keep their head higher than their body when they sleep. You place a small wedge under their crib in order to maintain their head higher.

Children who vomit easily

There are children who frequently vomit without organic, viral nor bacterial problems. They are simply prone to vomiting. When they don’t want to eat something, they give it all back to you.

What should you do?
  • Give them food with more frequency but less in quantity. This will prevent the overloading of their digestive systems.

General indications for when is child vomiting

  1. Do not give them anything until at least 30 minutes after their last vomit.
  2. Give them food in less quantity, but with more frequency.
  3. When it comes time to start feeding, begin with soft foods and water. If the baby is still breastfeeding you can begin with that. If they continue to vomit consult your doctor to prevent them from becoming dehydrated.
  4. Watch for signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, pale skin and sunken eyes. If they present these signs give them something to drink and consult your doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Jobson M., Hall NJ., Contemporary management of pyloric stenosis. Semin Pediatr Surg, 2016. 25 (4): 219-24.
  • Adamiak T., Plati KF., Pediatric esophageal disorders: diagnosis and treatment of reflux and eosinophilic esophagitis. Pediatr Rev, 2018. 39 (8): 392-402.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.