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baby won't stop throwing up

Mom’s Question:
My 3-month-old baby won’t stop throwing up. He simply cannot seem to keep a meal down.

I’ve been feeding him 4 oz. of Enfamil Prosobee, but the doctor recommended that I switch him to Enfamil Nutramigen and add rice to his milk, but it got worse than before.

This is his third time I have switched his milk on a doctor’s recommendation.

What can this be and what should I do?


Easy Baby Life:

Ideas When Baby Won’t Stop Throwing Up

I am sorry to hear that your baby continues to have problems despite switching formulas. Obviously, that doesn’t seem to be the solution, as it made your baby’s vomiting even worse.

There are a few questions that you need to think through to get to the root of this. Let’s start!

1. How Much of The Formula Does Your Baby Keep?

The most important question in your situation is what portion of the meal eaten does your baby actually throw up?

If it is just a small portion of the meal and he is gaining weight properly and does not appear to be dehydrated, it may just be a temporary problem that he will outgrow.

However, making sure that this is not a more serious matter is still necessary.

2. Possible Reasons For Baby’s Excessive Spitups

GERD

Has your child been properly screened for pediatric GERD (often called reflux)?

I suspect, due to the advice to add rice cereal to the formula that the doctors at least suspect reflux.

But switching formulas is not everything you can do in such a case. Holding your baby in an upright position while feeding and feeding only small amounts and frequently are other measures to take.

You can read more about GERD and how to help your baby here.

Allergies

Your baby should maybe also be checked for allergies, as worsening of his condition on a milk-containing formula over the soy formula may be suggestive of him having a milk allergy, and possibly others.

Does he have any rashes or tummy pain?

You can read about the symptoms of both lactose intolerance and milk protein allergy here.

Other Medical Conditions

Other possible conditions include pyloric stenosis (narrowing of the opening from the stomach to the intestines), and laryngomalacia (underdeveloped throat/larynx muscles).

Pyloric stenosis is a likely condition for your child, as it prevents the food your child eats from passing from the stomach into the intestine and causes him to throw it up.

Delayed weight gain may or may not be present in such children. The screening for pyloric stenosis includes an ultrasound of the stomach or stomach x-rays.

If your child has not been checked for this condition yet, it might be a good idea to discuss it with the doctor.

3. How Much Is Just “Normal” Spitting Up in Babies?

This is a good question and one that is important to relate to. Because if your baby is healthy and growing, alert, and not in pain, then maybe he is just a baby that spits up a bit more than the kid next door.

So how to know if the baby’s throwing up is normal or not?

Well, his overall wellbeing is the most important clue. If he is happy, thriving, happily eating, and gaining weight, his spitting up – even if the amount seems to be quite substantial in your eyes, is not really a problem.

Another clue is how he vomits. If he vomits forcefully, then it is a clear sign of something not being right. Normal spitting up in babies is like an easy flow of a baby’s stomach contents through his or her mouth, possibly with a burp.

4. Warning Signs that Your Baby’s Throwing Up is a Real Problem

MayoClinic (Source) has a good checklist for when a baby’s spitting up can indicate a problem:

  • You baby is not gaining weight as he should
  • He is spitting up forcefully, rather than with an easy flow
  • He/she spits up green or yellow fluid
  • He/she spits up blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Your baby has a low appetite and refuses feedings repeatedly
  • Your baby has blood in his or her poop
  • Your baby has difficulty breathing or other signs of illness
  • Begins spitting up at age 6 months or older (obviously not relevant in your case)
  • Your baby cries for more than three hours a day and is more irritable than normal
  • Your baby might be dehydrated and has fewer wet diapers than usual

5. How to Mitigate Spitting up in Babies

Here are a few things you can do to minimize the spitting up:

  • Burp your son halfway through the feeding. Quite often the spitting up comes from air beneath all the formula.
  • You can also try to feed your baby in a slightly more upright position to help him swallow less air.
  • Make sure the bottle nipple hole is of the right size, dripping fast but not more than that when you hold it upside down.

In conclusion…

I can’t say what is wrong with your baby. Instead, I would like to empower you to not give up!

You have already searched second opinions, but since you keep getting the same advice but it doesn’t help, try to educate yourself about GERD, and other conditions, keep a diary over how much your baby throws up and head back to yet another doctor.

One thing you should know; if your baby does have GERD/reflux, but is still happy and gains weight, most doctors advice not to medicate, but rather let the condition grow away.

You are not alone! Here are links to similar questions and problems here at Easy Baby Life:

I wish you good luck! Please come back and let us know about your progress.

Paula
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

Who else’s baby won’t stop throwing up? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below!

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Atif

    Hi. I have a 30 days old baby girl, she’s born after 36th week, mother was on insulin throughout 9 months, initially baby got jaundice then on day 5 after birth, she got an infection in intestine, E-Cole was found, but after 10 days of antibiotic course and all test including transfusion was done and discharged from hospital, even they have done MCUG, which was also ok.

    Now she’s not putting on weight still on 2.2K which same as birthweight after 30 days, and she used to spit out /vomits after a feeding ( top feed) with sticky fluid, and stool passes after every feed if you need I can provide all scan reports to you, can you help me and share your comments in this matter. Thanks

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hello Atif,
      Congratulations on your daughter! I am so sorry to hear about her tough start and that she is not putting on weight.

      Just a question – are you sure she is not putting on weight?

      If she is already now at her birth weight after only 30 days and with all the illness and treatment she has gone through, I would guess that she is certainly gaining weight. Even full-term, healthy babies tend to lose some of their weight during their first week or two outside the womb. Then, when breastfeeding or formula feeding has been well established, the baby starts to increase in weight quite rapidly.

      Since your daughter was slightly premature and also ill, it seems logical that it would take a bit longer for her to get back to her birth weight.

      Generally, spitting up easily is normal, and even more so for a preemie. They can spit up only from having their legs lift up slightly for a diaper change! Try to hold her in a slightly more upright position while feeding and right after and feeding.

      Passing stools after every feeding is also completely normal and is likely to last for at least one more month. After that especially some breastfed babies literally stop pooping. They digest everything they consume at it can be up to 14 days between bowel movements. 🙂

      So nothing you describe sounds odd to me considering your daughter’s age and situation. Nevertheless, I do not provide any kind of medical advice – just “parent’s advice” and your daughter should definitely see her doctor frequently to follow up on her development and weight gain after her illness. Don’t hesitate to nag the doctors whenever you are the least bit worried!

      In any case, she seems to be a fighter. Enjoy her as much as you can and keep her close to your and her mom’s body as much as possible. Hearing your heart, breath, voice, and smelling mom and dad is very healing for young babies. Get yourself a baby sling and keep her there as much as possible.

      I wish you all the best, do let us know about her progress!

      Paula

  2. Avatar
    ujwal

    My 3 month baby throws out several times. She vomits after an hour from breast feeding. She also poops 7times a day. She poops very little mostly. What may cause this.

  3. Avatar
    Kathryn Notte

    Hi, my 8 week old grandson was projectile vomiting. Took him to the ER they checked him for Pyloric stenosis, he doesn’t have that but does have reflux. They said to try changing his formula. We started with Enfamil NeuroPro! Then tried the Enfamil Gentleease, and still vomiting. Went back to Er they said to start feeding him 2 oz. every 2 hrs. Slowed but still throwing up. My 5’11” 240lb 18 yr old son (not the father of my grandson!) was raised on an “Old Fashioned Formula” that was given to me by my Mother N Law. Who had raised ALL 8 of her children on. Who range from oldest 59 to youngest 49(my husband) and are healthy! And yes other people have bitched about this formula but it WORKS! My grandson is Not throwing up now, an is a healthy weight of 11 lbs 4ozs!! We feed him 3 ozs every 3 hours, keeping him upright for at most 45 min after feeding, burping him multiple times. Here is the formula recipe! 1 12fl oz Carnation Brand Evaporated Milk( NOT SWEETENED!!!!!) 4 ozs of infant water (Gallon jug in baby section at Walmart for $1.00) and 2 Tbsps of Karo Light Syrup, (NOT DARK) and 1 x a day put the baby Vitamin Drops in a bottle!!! For their nutrition! Very important, mix together, in a container give to your baby warmed up, NOT HOT! Check first. Try it and see if your baby #1 likes it #2 Stops vomiting!!! I really hope this helps you and your precious little one. As it helped my grandson!!! I will be praying for you. And just so you know his pediatrician approves of this formula!!!! I WISH YOU LUCK AND ALL MY BEST.
    Kathy N.