In the first few days following birth, it is normal for a baby to throw up mucus from their stomach. This is mostly a mixture of the amniotic fluid swallowed in the womb and the mucus produced by their stomach lining, to prepare for absorbing milk.
Even after this period, you are still likely to experience your baby vomiting again at some point during your parenthood. In fact, it would be unusual for you not to.
So, why exactly do babies vomit? What does baby throw up mucus indicate? Is it cause to worry about the health of your child?
Well, there’s no set answer to this. Usually, an episode of vomiting doesn’t last for very long, and although it can be alarming, it is seldom an indication of serious illness. Read on to understand further the reasons why your baby throws up mucus.Baby Care
Common causes of a baby vomiting mucus
Generally, baby throwing up mucus develops in young babies and get better by time because of their immature digestive system. In normal, the small valve between stomach and esophagus keeps food stayed in stomach waiting to be digested. However, to young babies, this valve is weak and not fully formed. So after a small impact, the valve is easy to be opened and lets undigested food vomited up. Let go through some impacts that may trigger baby throw up mucus.
As mentioned above, a baby’s stomach valve is too immature to hold their undigested food in. Consequently, if you overfeed your baby, their valve will be forced open by the pressure of being overfull.
In such a case, a baby’s caregiver might feel the need to feed them immediately to replace the thrown up food. But doing this will likely cause them to vomit again. Therefore, it is advised to let your baby digest the food that is still in their valve, before trying to feed them again.
Swallowing too much air while feeding can also fill your baby’s tummy and lead to reflux. This typically occurs when a baby sucks on a pacifier too often, pumping their stomach up with swallowed air.
Sucking on a bottle with a small nipple hole or that is clogged will also cause too much air to fill their valve.
Fast milk flow
While feeding your baby, if milk let down too fast due to rich breast-feeding source or big size of nipple, your baby are more likely to vomit up. That is normal reaction of the body.
This is another common cause of baby vomiting. Introducing your baby to a new type of food, especially an allergen like seafood, can irritate their immune system and lead to reflux. Foods that often cause an allergic response in babies include nuts, soy, wheat, cow’s milk, shellfish, eggs, and fish.
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Viral or bacterial infection
When your baby has congestion or a respiratory infection, it can cause vomiting, particularly when he is coughing. The mucus that comes as a result of cold can flow down the back of your baby’s throat and induce the gag reflex or irritate the lining of the stomach. Some babies vomit to remove the mucus in their system.
The stomach flu is a common cause of the baby’s vomiting. If the baby has a viral or bacterial infection that has affected the stomach’s or intestine’s lining, it might cause other symptoms such as diarrhea and fever. A urinary tract infection and ear infection can also cause vomiting.
A prolonged episode of crying can also trigger the gag reflex and result in your baby vomiting. Although it might be discomforting for you and your baby, vomiting during a crying period is not harmful to your baby. If your baby is healthy, there is no reason to get worried.
Some babies are affected by the motion sickness, which comes about if your traveling includes cars. The researchers have found out that motion sickness occurs when there is a breakdown between what he sees and senses with his body’s sensitive parts such as some specific nerves and inner ears.
The vomiting in babies could also be as a result of something toxic that they swallowed. Some of the toxic substances include drugs and chemical. In other cases, the babies could have food poisoning that was caused by the contaminated food or even water. According to the AAP: The use of Ipecac syrup can cause vomiting in babies contrary to the beliefs that it could remove poisonous stuff from the stomach of a baby. The AAP found that syrup of ipecac is not the best treatment for poisoning.
Your baby might have sudden and continuous vomiting, that comes about due to a rare illness. Some conditions that can cause such type of vomiting include intestinal obstruction such as intussusception. This comes about when one area of the bowel slides into another part. Sometimes it can be due to malrotation that is caused by the twisting of the intestines.
This is another rare condition that happens just after a few weeks of birth. Babies with this condition might vomit as a result of the muscle that comes from the stomach into the intestines and gets too thickened to allow the contents of the stomach to pass through. This normally results in forceful projectile vomiting in babies.
Other illness infection
Babies are more vulnerable to infection as their immune systems are not yet matured or used to bacteria in their environment. A respiratory infection can lead to baby throw up mucus. This is how the immune system works to fight the infection and clear the body of all the bad stuff.
Gastroenteritis has also been attributed to vomiting in babies. This is when the gut is infected by a virus. The symptoms include diarrhea that is accompanied with vomiting and fever which appears suddenly. The vomiting takes about one or two days, but diarrhea can take up to between five and seven days.
Besides, other illnesses which often develop in young children such as respiratory infection or fever are also triggers of baby vomiting. In such cases, throwing up mucus is the way immune system protests and clear body. See how to take care of your baby in fever.
How to control baby throw up mucus?
USEFUL TIP: in most of the cases, baby throwing mucus because she is congested. A very useful tip for this situation is to put saline drops in each baby’s nostril before bedtime. Baby does not like it at all but it helps to clear their nasal passages. It’s working very well with my 2 little daughters (6 months and 2.5ys).
- Reduce the amount of milk baby takes in each time. The wait between feeding times should be at least 2 1/2 hours if feeding your baby formula, and 2 hours if feeding them breastmilk. Feeding time itself should be less than 20 minutes.
- Manage milk flow while feeding. Excessive milk flow can cause your baby to choke and vomit, while too little milk flow can also provoke vomiting. To prevent either of these situations, make sure the nipple hole of your baby’s bottle only drips one drop of formula per second when held upside down. If it drops too little, cut the hole to be slightly bigger. And if it drops too much or you’re breastfeeding your baby, try to reduce milk flow by holding the nipple while feeding.
- Burp baby after feeding. For the first six months, it is recommended to keep your baby upright for 10 to 15 minutes after feeding. This helps prevent milk from being brought back up. You should also gently burp your baby after feeding time. Don’t worry if your baby spits when you burp them.
- Minimize motion sickness. If you are planning on taking a trip by car, schedule a lot of stops during your journey to give your baby to relax his tummy. If he has already started eating solid foods, give him a small amount of food prior to the trip as having some food in the stomach will help him. Plenty of fluids are also necessary to keep him hydrated.
- Use a bulb syringe. If you have observed that your baby has plenty of phlegm and mucus that was caused by the respiratory infection, using a bulb syringe will clear his nose. Possibly, he won’t like it, but it’s painless and will give him the necessary comfort.
When is your baby vomiting a sign of something serious?
Although it isn’t common for a baby vomiting to be a symptom of a severe condition, you should always be alert for any other symptoms accompanying their vomiting. These could be an indication of a more severe condition:
- There are many reasons why your baby could be projectile vomiting continuously. All of which need to be diagnosed by a medical professional as soon as possible. If your baby’s vomit comes out with force, it could be due to an obstruction, an allergy, infection or virus.
- Get your baby checked by a doctor is they show signs of dehydration such as strong yellow urine, fewer wet nappies than normal, dry skin, excessive drowsiness, or sunken eyes.
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- Galactosemia is a serious allergy that will occur if your baby is intolerant to milk originated from animal or human. Symptoms of Galactosemia include vomiting, flushed skin, rashes, diarrhea, swelling of face/tongue/lips, and difficulty breathing. You can usually control the condition by switching to soy milk, but consult a pediatrician first.
- If the baby throw up mucus is very thick, it may need to be sucked out by an aspirator to prevent choking or build up in the lungs. To thin the mucus out, you can put saline drops in each nostril before bedtime. Your baby won’t like it, but it works.
- If your baby is vomiting blood, it might not be a reason to get worried. This is sometimes as a result of the force from the vomit that causes the esophagus lining to be irritated. He might also have swallowed some blood that came from a cut in his mouth. But, consult a doctor if he continues to have blood in his vomit or if the amount of blood increases with each vomit.
- If the vomit contains blood that looks like dark coffee grounds. The pediatrician will most likely want to see a sample of the vomit if it has blood or bile., so attempt to get some in a plastic bag. The presence of bile means that your baby’s intestines are blocked and require an urgent attention.
- After vomiting and your baby seems to be in a lot of pain, go to the emergency room. Your baby cannot explain his problem, but you can observe that he is in severe pain. The pain could be caused by a blockage in his bowels that needs the doctor to look at it immediately.
- Get your baby checked by a doctor if he has a swollen and tender abdomen. This happens when there is an accumulation of fluids or gas. It also occurs when the intestines are blocked, or there is a problem with the digestive system. Although blockages are rare, they are serious.
- If your baby recently fell down and started vomiting, you will need to seek the attention of the doctor. It may be a sign of concussion that was caused by the head injury. This happens when your baby is vomiting more than once after the incident.
- If your baby has violent and persistent vomiting after half an hour of feeding, it could be a sign that he has pyloric stenosis that is characterized by persistent and forceful vomiting. It usually affects baby boys who are 3-6 weeks old after birth but can also happen until they are four months old. The muscles thicken causing the pylorus to narrow. As a result, the milk can’t flow through to get digested. The baby will start vomiting after every feed. Consult your doctor if this happens to your baby.