Why Is My Baby Throwing Up?

When babies throw up, their parents often become worried. However, vomiting isn't always a sign of something serious. Below, we'll share some of the most common causes of vomiting in babies.
Why Is My Baby Throwing Up?

Last update: 31 March, 2018

When you ask yourself why your baby is throwing up, you should know there are a number of possible causes.
It’s quite common for babies to spit up during their first week of life. This is a normal condition, as your little one is just getting used to being breast or bottle fed. Of course, your baby’s body is also still developing.

Below, we’ll share some of the most common causes of vomiting in babies. They range from indigestion to long periods of crying, coughing, and getting dizzy after long car rides.

Because many common childhood illnesses can cause vomiting, you should expect your child to have this problem several times during these early years. Usually it ends quickly without treatment.

-American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Why is my baby throwing up? The most frequent causes

Feeding issues

During the first months of life, spitting up is usually related to feeding issues. When your baby takes in too much milk, this will cause vomiting. 

Another much less common factor is a possible allergy to the proteins that are present in breast milk or baby formula.

Viral or bacterial infections

Congestion and respiratory illnesses can cause vomiting in many cases, especially when there’s a cough. 

The mucous that accumulates when your baby gets a cold can also become an obstacle in your baby’s trachea and trigger a vomit reflex.

Why Is My Baby Throwing Up?

Excessive crying

Prolonged periods of crying are often a common cause of infant vomiting. When this occurs, and your baby doesn’t present any other symptoms, then there is no need to worry.

Motion sickness from travelling in the car

If your daily routine includes long car rides, then motion sickness may be to blame for your baby’s vomiting. 

This happens because there is no connection between what your baby sees and the way in which his body sways.

Toxic substances

Another possible reason behind a baby’s vomiting is the swallowing of a toxic substance. The most common substances include medication, plants and cosmetics.

Certain foods and unclean water can produce intoxication in a baby’s body.

Intestinal obstructions

Sudden and persistent vomiting can be a sign of many illnesses, including intestinal obstruction. 

If your baby is throwing up large quantities, isn’t eating well, and has other symptoms as well, you should visit a trusted pediatrician.

Episodes of vomiting usually don’t last very long. Most of the time, they aren’t a sign of a serious illness and don’t require treatment.

However, you should make sure your child stays well hydratedIf your baby looks healthy and her weight is within an acceptable range, you shouldn’t need to worry.

When is it time to see a doctor?

On rare occasions, vomiting can be a sign of a serious illness. You should take your child to see a medical professional if you observe any of these symptoms along with vomiting:

  • Signs of dehydration: Dry mouth, absence of tears when crying, less urine than normal.
  • Fever.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Persistent vomiting that lasts for more than 12 hours or is very abundant.
  • Strange rash.
  • Drowsiness or irritability.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Abnormal substances in the vomit, such as blood or bile, which give the vomit a greenish tint.
Why Is My Baby Throwing Up?

What should I do when my baby throws up?

  • Keep your baby hydrated. When your baby vomits, he loses much needed liquids. That’s why it’s important to keep him hydrated to replace the lost liquids. Avoid artificial juices and soft drinks. If your baby is dehydrated, consult your pediatrician to know what method of re-hydration is best for your little one.
  • Be careful with what your baby eats. If your baby already eats solid food, you should avoid sweets and other foods that may irritate her. Slowly reintroduce liquids, cereals and other foods that are easy to digest.
  • Make sure your child gets plenty of rest. Sleep is the best medicine to calm your baby. While your baby is sleeping, her intestines empty out, which may automatically reduce vomiting. Stay close by at all times to assist in case your baby vomits while asleep.

Although vomiting can be a scary thing for any mother or father, there’s usually no need for alarm. Take the necessary measures to help your little one’s body go back to normal. 

If your baby’s symptoms persist or your baby is acting out of the ordinary, be sure you consult a professional.

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.

  • Meyer R. Nutritional disorders resulting from food allergy in children. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2018 Nov;29(7):689-704
  • Kim D, Park J, Kim YM, Tchah H. Acute intoxication due to Wisteria floribunda seed in seven young children. Pediatr Int. 2017 May;59(5):600-603.

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