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Can Spitting Up Food Harm Your Baby?

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 03-10-2007

Babies often spit up food. This happens when they have eaten too much. It may also happen when you burp them. When babies spit up, it is different from vomiting. The medical term for this is gastroesophageal reflux.


Gastroesophageal reflux is caused by the food in your baby’s stomach rising back into your baby’s esophagus. In such a case, any of these things may happen:

  • Food may be spat out of the mouth.

  • Food may be sucked into the lungs.

  • Food may go back into the stomach, and then rise back into the esophagus.

You can reduce reflux in the following ways:

  • Hold the baby in an upright position during feeding.

  • After feeding, continue to keep the baby upright for some time.

  • While bottle-feeding, burp the baby often (every five minutes).

  • Feed smaller amounts, while increasing frequency of meals.

Reflux can cause the following problems:

  • Repeated reflux could lead to growth troubles.

  • Food going into the lungs could lead to cough, asthma, or infection in the lungs.

  • Food rising up and moving back into the stomach may be painful. It may also lead to loss of appetite or even blood vomiting in some cases.

If you think your baby is suffering from any of these effects of reflux, consult your doctor immediately.