Even if it is expected of babies to spit up regularly, it can be concerning for new parents, especially if it happens on a regular basis. It leaves us wondering ‘Why Does My Baby Spit Up When Laid Down?!’
A baby will bring up milk or formula simply because the valve which is supposed to hold their food down has not developed fully and does not always hold their milk in place, especially when they’re full.
Almost all babies go through periods of spitting up, and this is due to the continued growth and maturity of their gastrointestinal tract.
More often than not, a baby spits up when they aren’t being burped enough. Some babies swallow a lot more air during feedings, especially if they’re very eager eaters, and this causes the constant spit ups.
Spit up usually comes to an end around eight months of age, but if you are worried about your little one always spitting up when they are laid down, here are some reasons they might be doing so, and a few ways to try and stop it from happening.
Is Spit Up A Sign Of Overfeeding?
Spit up can be a sign of overfeeding, although there are other reasons why a baby might spit up.
Overfeeding your baby will not keep them asleep for longer, or stretch their feeds further. It might even end up doing the opposite. When overfed, your baby will feel uncomfortable and this could keep them up.
More often than not, the excess food ends up coming back up and instead of a sleeping baby, you will have an upset one and crib sheets to change!
Why Your Baby Spits Up When Laid Down
Your baby won’t spit up just because they are laid down flat, there will be another reason for them bringing up their milk. Here are some reasons why this might happen:
Feeding Quickly Before Bed
A bedtime feed helps to settle your baby down, but if your baby feeds too quickly before bed, it could cause them to spit up when you lay them down.
Your baby swallows air when they feed, and especially when they feed quickly. This air forms air bubbles that are pushed down as more milk is consumed. Once you lay them down, this air rises and brings up the milk as spit up.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a medical condition which babies can suffer from. This is when spitting up happens more often than it should, and resembles vomiting or throwing up more.
Other symptoms come with GERD, such as weight loss, fevers, breathing issues, and feeding issues.
If you think your baby might be suffering from GERD, and that their spit up when they lay down or sit up is worse than it should be, you should take them to your doctor for a check-up.
Overfeeding is a common reason that a baby might spit up when laid down. There is a thought that overfeeding your baby before bed might get them to sleep for longer, but this doesn’t work out well.
Not only will your baby be uncomfortable from overfeeding, but they will more than likely bring up any excess food when laid down, or later in the night.
Burping Too Quickly
Burping your baby after feeding helps to get out any excess gas to ensure that they feel comfortable and settled after their feed. Burping is usually done by holding your baby upright and rubbing his or her back until he or she burps.
While burping is important, if done too quickly, it won’t be as effective, and there might still be gas leftover when their stomach settles, and when they are laid down, this could cause a spit up.
A heavy letdown might be too much milk for your baby to handle in one go, and this could cause your baby to move away from your breast to breathe, and therefore take in some air. This could then cause spit up as the air rises once they lay down.
Many moms experience a heavy letdown, and a way to deal with this could be to express the letdown into a bottle first and then only attach your baby to the breast. This helps to save the milk and gives your baby a steadier milk flow to enjoy.
How To Stop Your Baby Spitting Up When Laid Down
Unless your baby needs medical attention for GERD or another issue, there are some ways that you can help to prevent spit up at home. A few adjustments to your routine and feeding can help to stop your baby from spitting up when they lay down.
Keep baby up while feeding
Avoid bending over when feeding your baby. Try to keep yourself and your baby upright to ensure a smooth flow of milk, which helps to reduce your baby swallowing air. Keeping your baby upright also works to keep their food down.
Have a good feeding routine
It is so important to take cues from your baby for when they are hungry and full and to implement your own feeding routine. This ensures that your baby never goes hungry for any period of time. If your baby doesn’t go hungry, they won’t feed as fast at the breast, and this means less air is taken in.
Frequent small feeds are ideal to prevent your little one from feeding too quickly.
Stay calm when feeding
You should try your best to stay relaxed and calm during feeding. This helps to keep your baby calm as well. Any distractions or surprises might cause them to take in more air or drink too fast.
If your baby becomes upset when feeding, remove them from the breast or the bottle, calm them down and then carry on feeding once they have settled.
Do not overfeed your baby
As adults, you know how uncomfortable it is when you overindulge at dinner time, and it is the same for your baby. Avoid overfeeding your baby as much as possible. This makes them feel more comfortable during their sleep and prevents any potential spit up.
Keep baby still after feeding
Avoid moving your baby around too quickly after feeding. Try also not to put your baby straight into bed after a feed. Allow gravity to do its job and help the food settle and stay down.
Sit with your baby for a little while and let them settle down before moving them or putting them down to sleep.
Burp your baby after feeding
When you burp your baby after a feed, you are helping to remove any excess air and gas bubbles. This reduces the pressure in your baby’s stomach and helps them feel more comfortable. You might have to stop and burp your baby during a feed if they spit up often.
Avoid tight clothing
Don’t dress your baby in tight clothing when they go to bed. Tight diapers and tight clothing put pressure on your baby’s stomach, which could end up with them spitting up.
Comfortable, airy, and loose pajamas and clothing are best and will help to keep their food down.
Be wary of allergies
If your baby does spit up more often than they should, and nothing else is working and it is not GERD, then they might have a food allergy. Speak to your doctor who will try to work out what the allergy might be, and suggest ways for you to deal with it.
Helping Your Baby Avoid Spit Ups
Your baby should stop spitting up when they get to around eight months old, when their gastrointestinal tract is more developed and holds food down better.
Until then, use the above tips to help them stop spitting up when they lay down, to ensure they are more comfortable after feeding.
A Baby Spitting Up Is Perfectly Normal
Although it can be stressful at times to deal with constant spit ups, it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly normal and expected! Now that you know what a baby spit up can be, you’re more equipped to handle them.
Hopefully this post has helped you and your little one prevent future spit ups, but when they do happen, you’re better prepared mentally for how to deal with it.
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