A Guide to Baby Poop, Pee and Spit Up
Everything you wanted to know about baby’s bodily fluids (and then some)
Spit happenings. The mouth, of course, is at the other end of the bodily fluid spectrum, and many babies spit up as often as ten or twelve times a day. Sometimes we’re talking a major eruption; other times it just trickles out like overflow. Either way it’s messy. One mom told us that whenever she was trying to get ready to go somewhere with her firstborn, she could never decide whether to dress herself first, then have her daughter spit up on her, or dress her daughter first and watch her spit up on herself. No matter how much experts describe spit-up as just a nuisance, it’s these little issues that make moms go bonkers.
As for the science behind it, if you must know, the most common reason for spitting up is that a baby’s digestive tract muscle between the stomach and the esophagus is immature (essentially, it’s loose and will gradually tighten up by about six months of age). Most babies are not bothered by spitting up, and there’s probably a lot less nutrition being lost than you think—typically about a tablespoon, but because the breast milk or formula mixes with other fluids, it can seem like more. Just keep plenty of bibs, towels, and clothes for quick cleanups on hand, especially when you go out. (Keeping an extra change of clothes for yourself in your trunk isn’t a bad idea, either.)
To minimize spitting up, try these tactics:
- Keep feedings smaller and more frequent.
- Don’t pressure your baby to finish a feeding if he seems full.
- Hold or keep your baby sitting upright after feedings for a little while to let gravity help with digestion.
- Burp your baby regularly.
- If you’re feeding your baby formula, talk to your pediatrician about a brand that might be easier for him to digest.
Occasionally, spitting up warrants medical attention. If your baby is very irritable and fussy and prone to spitting up, he may have a reflux problem that could be relieved with medication. If your baby experiences true vomiting—more forceful expelling of a greater amount of his stomach contents—diarrhea, bloating, and is not gaining weight adequately, he may have a milk allergy, so discuss it with your doctor. Both reflux and milk allergies are uncommon, but they do occur. Spitting up any blood is a sign of infection, and yellowish green bile indicates a blockage, so if you see either of these, call your doctor right away.
This is an excerpt from THE BABYTALK INSIDER’S GUIDE TO YOUR BABY’S FIRST YEAR by the Editors of Babytalk Magazine. Copyright © 2008 by The Parenting Group, Inc. Published by Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.