My baby boy is 5 weeks old. He is eating 4 oz every 3-4 hours. He is spitting up a lot. He was on breast milk, but after he was spitting up what looked like curdled milk his doctor said to try formula. He is doing the same thing, so switching to formula didn’t help at all. I’m not sure what to try now?
Brandi (Sparr, FL)
Curdled Milk In Baby’s Vomit, Normal Or Not?
First of all, the milk becomes curdled when mixed with the acidic stomach fluid. So curdled milk in itself is normal and not a problem. Many young babies spit up a bit of curdled milk now and then. Whether the milked is curdled or not is more a matter of how quickly they spit up after feeding!
But curdled milk in combination with very frequent vomiting may be a sign that something is not completely right.
Here are a few possible reasons for excessive spitting up of curdled milk:
- Your boy has an intolerance to for example lactose or milk protein. If this is the case, then switching to some formula will not help at all unless you give him a special formula that caters for these problems. Two possible types of formula that may work are hydrolysate formula, which is hypoallergenic and most often tolerated by babies with milk protein allergy, or low lactose formula, which can help your baby if he is lactose intolerant. (Links to Amazon, where you can check them out.)However, it is entirely possible to continue breastfeeding a baby who is allergic to cow’s milk! All you have to do is to eliminate cow’s milk from your own diet.
- He may suffer from acid reflux. This is quite a common condition among newborn babies, where the gastric juices containing acid can travel back from the stomach into the throat – painful. (You’ll find several tips for feeding a baby with reflux in this thread. Switching to formula can help slightly since the formula is a bit thicker than breast milk. But it is a fairly minor difference!
- Pyloric Stenosis – a condition where the outlet of the stomach is too narrow for the foods to travel over into the intestines. Projectile vomiting of milk that may or may not be curdled, weight loss, and constipation are some of the signs of pyloric stenosis. This condition needs treatment and surgery. (You can read more about pyloric stenosis at KidsHealth.org)
This is not a full list, of course, just some examples. It may very well also be that nothing is wrong with your baby and that he simply is a baby who spits up a bit more than the average infant. If he is gaining weight and doesn’t appear to be in pain, he is likely to be fine.
If it is reflux, changing to formula doesn’t generally help. Instead, things like not feeding your baby too much at the time, feeding him in an upright position, avoid foods (for you if you breastfeed) that can aggravate reflux such as citrus, tomatoes, fatty foods, spicy foods, and carbonated drinks. (Learn more about foods to eat and avoid while breastfeeding here.) There is also some medication available.
Obviously, no one can tell if your baby does have reflux without examining him and there may be other reasons for his spitting up. You can find Q&As of many related situations here when babies spit up a lot.
I think you should take him back to his doctor (or maybe to another one if you don’t think you get enough support from this one).
Simply telling you to stop breastfeeding is not, in my opinion, good advice.
There are not many reasons to think that this would solve the problem (as you have already noticed), and while formula is a good substitution for breastmilk, it is still a substitution and several of the benefits of breastfeeding will be missed.
Hey, parents, do you have experience of this? Please help this mom by commenting below! Or share your own thoughts and worries!