Spit-up, or reflux, is common and usually a normal part of infant development. But there are some simple ways you can reduce the occurrence and give your baby relief.
It’s not uncommon for babies to experience spitting up; in fact, 50% of all babies will spit up repeatedly in their first 3 months. And that’s natural when you consider:
- There’s a valve between the esophagus and stomach that keeps food down, but in babies, this valve still has to mature and develop.
- Babies’ tummies are quite little, and overfeeding them can result in spit-up.
- Most babies spend a good chunk of their time lying flat on their backs, which makes reflux more common.
Spit-up or reflux usually peaks at 4 months. While it’s not uncommon for babies to spit up the entire first year, reflux usually ends (or is greatly reduced) by a baby’s first birthday.
As you wait for your baby’s digestive system to mature, these expert tips can help you give your baby reflux relief.
Breastfeeding? Check your diet Some moms have found eliminating certain things—like dairy products—reduces the amount of their baby’s spit-up.
Try a formula switch. If you’re formula-feeding or supplementing, ask your pediatrician if a change to a rice-thickened formula may help. Enfamil A.R.™ is clinically proven to reduce spit-up by more than 50%*, while still providing the complete nutrition your baby needs.
Stop spit-up with a hold. When feeding, hold your baby in an upright position. After feeding, keep your baby upright for 30 minutes. During this time, don’t put him in the swing or do too much active play.
Slow his feeding flow. If you’re bottle-feeding, check the nipple size—your baby might be drinking too much formula too fast. Most nipples are marked to match to an appropriate age.
Try smaller meals more often. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, try limiting his time at the breast, but feed him more often. If you’re bottle-feeding, try decreasing the amount given in each feeding, but feed him more often. That way he’s still getting the same overall amount each day, but in smaller, more manageable amounts.
Make burping a priority. If your baby has air bubbles—or gas—this could cause spit-up or “wet burps.” Be sure to burp him throughout and after feeding. Try one of these burping positions:
- Hold your baby against your chest (his body facing yours), with his head on your shoulder. Then pat and rub his back.
- Have your baby sit on your lap and support your baby’s chest and head with one hand while patting his back with the other. Make sure you’re holding your baby’s chin, not his throat.
- Lay your baby flat against your lap, his belly facedown. Support your little one’s head and make sure it’s higher than his chest. Gently rub or pat his back. If you can’t produce a burp in your baby with one position, then try another.
To Learn More
Want to check in with your pediatrician about your baby’s spit-up? For help making the most of your time with the doctor, check out “Baby Spit-up: Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician.”
*Based on a clinical study of Enfamil A.R. infant formula before the addition of DHA, ARA, and prebiotics with infants who spit up frequently (five or more spit-ups per day), comparing frequency and volume of spit-up after feeding Enfamil A.R. with the same babies at the beginning of the study.