Why Do Newborn Babies Spill?


Baby Spilling Milk After Breastfeeding: How to Deal?

Baby Spits Curded Milk up After Burping, is it Normal?

Why Do Babies Spill Milk after Feeding?

How to Control the Baby Spilling?

Lets Know answers to these common queries new parents have regarding baby’s spilling
First of all, please note that, the spitting is normal in the newborns. The little ones spit up the saliva, mucus and gastric juices along with a small fraction of the fluid consumed. Let’s try to understand the science behind it.

The Science behind Reflux and Spilling

A newborn’s body develops gradually. Be it the immune system, digestive system or stomach – everything is still developing. The short oesophagus causes the backflow of the fluid intake. This is a natural process in the newborns. Babies swallow air along with the milk, and the air gets trapped along with their milk through mouth. The excess amount of fluid inside a newborn’s still developing body can create pressure and reflux is a natural phenomenon that cuts down on the pressure created inside.
Reflux is a common process seen in most of the newborns. This can last up to 6 to 12 months. As reflux is natural, the newborns don’t need any medical assistance and the parents too need to stay calm and accept it. The little ones may seem unsettled during the reflux phase. Arching of the back and extension of the legs can be the symptoms showing their unsettledness. There is a fragile tube between the stomach and mouth in the newborns where the milk or any fluid consumed comes up for sometimes and then returns to the stomach during reflux. Sometimes, the fluid partially comes out of the mouth.
There is another type of Reflux known as Gastroesophageal reflux. It occurs due to the trouble in digestion. Apart from the fluids, the acidic stomach juices are returned sometimes during Gastroesophageal reflux. People often mistake reflux for vomiting. Vomiting is a tendency to spill the fluids forcefully while reflux is a natural process in the newborns to remove the excess pressure inside the body created due to the fluid or fluids consumed.

Is Vomiting or Spilling Common in Breastfed Babies?

Yes, it is common for the newborns to spill the breast milk in the first few weeks. The little ones acquire a weak stomach and it can’t fit a significant amount of milk. The newborns need time to get used to the breastfeeding. When the excess amount of milk enters their stomach, the little ones either vomit (whole or major portion of the milk fed is brought up) or spill (partial portion of the milk fed is brought up). The babies often find these processes frightening and start crying.
Till your baby’s 1st birthday is celebrated, you need to gear up to watch several vomiting and spilling sights. It’s pretty common in the first year. Be it the digestive troubles or car sickness – there can be a myriad of reasons for vomiting or spilling.
All you need to worry about any noticeable deterioration in your baby’s weight, appearance or the overall health. The normal spilling or vomiting cycle lasts for 6 to 12 hours. After this period, the body starts functioning normally without needing any medication. If weight loss or any other noticeable change is seen, be ready to see a doctor.

Is There Any Solution to Stop/Reduce Baby Spilling?

A mature digestive system and strong bottom of the oesophagus stop excessive spilling or vomiting in babies but this happens when the baby is more than 12 months. For the babies below 12 months, there are some effective ways to deal with the spilling problem.

Elevation or Slope Hill

The dipped-down position encourages spilling in babies. Try to prefer the slope hill or elevation position in which your baby’s head is at some height. This will help the baby attain a good digestion.


Burping always works whenever there is excess air inside the baby’s stomach. Holding the baby for a while after completing every feeding session can cause burping. Multiple burps can be tried if you are still unsure about the complete release of the trapped air.

Read: How to Burp a Baby

Less Milk and Keep Upright

Feeding the little one a small amount of milk frequently can avoid spilling. He will get enough time to digest the milk. Try making your baby sit upright your knee for better digestion of the milk.

The Right Size of the Nipple

The fast flowing teat will allow a huge of milk enters your baby’s mouth and you will have least control over its flow. Use slow flowing teat for safe feeding.

Avoid Much Movement Just after the Feeding

Try to let your baby rest for 15-20 minutes after every feeding session. Moving the baby or playing with him just after feeding can cause spilling or vomiting.

When My Baby’s Vomiting Can Become a Big Matter of Concern?

As discussed above, vomiting or spilling is common in small babies below 1 year. If the vomiting persists even after 24 hours and the symptoms like weight loss, irritation during feeding and skin problems can be seen then the baby needs a medical assistance. In the first few months vomiting is very common. Stomach flu is also a major reason for unusual vomiting. This is caused due to a virus. When the babies grow, vomiting doesn’t remain common anymore and that should be considered as a symptom of an illness. The primary symptoms that can act as an alarm for medical assistance are –
• Infection in urine and ears
• Loss of appetite
• Cold
• Dehydration
• The body temperature of 100 degrees F if the baby is below 3 months
• The body temperature of 102 degrees F if the baby is above 3 months
• Continuous and forcefully vomiting for 8 hours or more
• Irritation
• Skin rashes
• Lack of sleep
• Swelling of abdomen
• Fontanelle bulges
• Vomiting with bile or blood
• Respiratory issues
• Forcefully vomiting just after feeding or half an hour post feeding

Is it Okay to Make My Baby Sit for Burping?

Make your baby sit like this and sit like that! Well, there are plenty of blogs, articles and web contents available online related to the right position for burping for babies. My pediatrician gave me a magic advice and I leveraged it. As per my own motherhood experience, it’s better if you let your small champion sit on a surface by his own efforts. His backbone is still developing and one wrong move can make you regret. Making him sit forcefully will create a wrong pressure on his backbone and affect his health.
It’s perfectly natural for the new moms to mull over every minor thing happening with her baby. Understanding what can be handled at home and what not is very important. You will see a lot of weird things related to your baby’s dietary regime and health but you need to deal with them smartly.
Newborns arrive in this world possessing some abilities like seeing through the fragile eyes, listening through the small ears and also avoiding the excess fluid intake through reflux. So do not worry about your baby’s milk spilling, the extra baby laundry due to spitting is for few months only.


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.

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