It was New Year’s Eve, and it was the second night home from the hospital for me, my husband, and our new little baby girl. Around midnight, as I was cuddling her up near my face, wishing her a happy new year, she projectile spit up her formula in my eye. This was just the beginning of 10 months of regular spit up.
40% of babies spit up. That’s a lot. So if you’re one of the unlucky ones, and your baby is a spitter, there are a few strategies out there that can help minimize the amount of spit you and your baby experience.
What causes spit up is trapped air when they suck, and also their underdeveloped esophagus. The muscles that control whether food comes in or goes out may not yet be fully able to do their job.
After your baby feeds, hold them in a sitting-up position for a while to let the food settle in their bellies.
Make sure they’re not sucking in too much air. If you’re bottle feeding, try the Playtex VentAires or the Drop-ins. You can push excess air out of the Drop-ins.
Keep burping. Our little one hated burping time with a passion, but the more burps you can get at different intervals throughout the feeds, the less spit up at the end.
Restrict a lot of movement after feedings. This means no rocking, jiggling, or Daddy swinging your little one around.
Try a wedge in the crib at night. This will allow your baby to sleep on an incline, and will also ensure your baby sleeps on his or her back, which pediatricians recommend.
If you notice your baby is exceptionally fussy during and after mealtime, or when they’re lying flat, it may be a sign of something more serious. Talk to your pediatrician about the possibilities of acid reflux and the various treatment options available.
My last piece of advice: buy lots of bibs, burp cloths, and laundry detergent. While you can try your best to minimize the spit up, it may still be a recurring issue. Just ride it out. Eventually, usually around 6 months or later, they’ll start spitting up less and less, and soon it will just be a messy memory.