Print Friendly and PDF

The Difference Between a
Newborn Vomiting and Spitting Up

Sometime's it's hard to tell the difference between a newborn vomiting, and one that's merely spitting up. Here's a clear definition of what to look for, and how to treat both conditions.

The difference between the two is vital, since both are caused by different things. This means if you try to treat a spitting up problem with a vomiting solution, you'll get a whole heap of nothing.

A newborn spitting up is...

Spitting up is most commonly seen in newborns 0-3 months, but a mild form of it can persist until the 10th or 12th month. It is defined as the easy flow of milk/formula out of the mouth, usually accompanied by a burp.

It is not serious and generally does not affect weight gain and growth.

Spitting up is, in fact, a mild form of reflux, having to do more with the acid balance in the stomach, than muscle contractions.

Even though spitting up is most common in newborns less than 3 months old, you may notice an increase in the amount of spit up during the 3-6 month age range.

This is may be because the muscles at the lower end of the esophagus have loosened up, allowing for more reflux.

If your infant's height, weight, and other developmental milestones are all on track, the problem should fix itself in time. In the meantime...

  • Give more frequent, smaller feedings.
  • Burp more often during the feeding
  • Use gravity to your advantage: keep your baby in an upright position (the Bumbo is great for this) for a half hour after feeding.

A newborn vomiting is...

Newborn vomiting is when the abdominal muscles and diagphram contract vigorously while the stomach is relaxed. Most newborn vomiting is caused by viral infections, which doctor's refer to as gastroenteritis. (They'll be so impressed you know that!)

Vomiting at this young age is very dangerous, because of the risk of dehydration. For more information on how to handle newborn vomiting, read this article.

headline tree

Related Articles

Infant Vomiting? A Mother's Guide to Handling it at Home

Watching your infant vomiting is heart wrenching. Vomiting isn't fun, no matter what age you are. But there's something just so wrong about seeing that tiny body convulse to throw up. This is where you step in, Mom, and take charge. And this is what you do.

How to Manage a Baby Diarrhea Disaster

There's a very good chance you're going to open up a diaper sometime in the first year and be surprised at the green watery mess splattered inside. Diarrhea is very common in babies, and although treating it is really more about enduring than prescribing, without proper managemement it can quickly get very serious...

Handling an Infant Fever Effectively

Does the thought of handling an infant fever leave you in cold sweats? That little plastic beeping stick can greatly reduce your mothering anxiety, yes. But it's only the first grade. You, my dear, need to graduate. You need a crash-course in effective fever manipulation.

Infant Dehydration: Enemy Number One

Infant dehydration is the number one killer of children under 5, causing more than 5 million deaths worldwide. Keeping him well-hydrated and learning the infant dehydration symptoms need to be at the top of your "To Be Learned" list.