Why your baby frequently vomits: what you should do

Your baby is prone to vomiting, especially when she has a coughing fit or cries badly. What’s the cause?

Your baby vomits frequently, especially when she has a coughing fit or cries badly. What’s the cause?

Babies are more prone to vomiting than older children and adults because of certain anatomical differences, explains Dr Natalie Epton, specialist paediatrician and neonatologist at International Paediatric Clinic. 

They have smaller stomachs; a weak lower oesophageal muscle to hold the stomach entrance closed; and spend much of their time horizontal, so gravity doesn’t help keep the milk down.

Some babies do seem to vomit more easily than others, and this raises the possibility of gastro-oesophageal reflux.

Like adult reflux, it is caused by food (or milk) leaking out of the stomach back up the oesophagus (the tube that leads from the back of the mouth down to the stomach).

There are some things you can do, Dr Epton says.

Try to keep your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after a feed, and lie her on her left side when putting her down to sleep, so that the milk flows away from the oesophageal opening (only if she is already able to roll on her own; otherwise, always place baby to sleep on her back for safety).

If it remains a significant problem, and your child is upset by it or it is affecting her ability to gain weight, you can see a doctor for medication to control the reflux.

Most cases resolve naturally as babies gets older.


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