Why Do Babies Spit Up, How Much Is Normal, and When Do They Stop?

If you're a new parent, you may have lots of questions about baby spit-up. First, know that newborn or baby spit-up is normal. In some rare cases spitting up may indicate something else, but we’ll help you decipher the signs so you can better tell the difference, especially if you’re concerned that your baby is spitting up a lot, spitting up more than usual, or keeps spitting up. Read on for more on this subject and for additional insights about your baby’s health and well-being.

Why Do Babies Spit Up?

Spitting up is typical behavior for newborns and older babies, too, especially after they've been fed, whether by breastfeeding or formula-feeding. Your baby may spit up after every feeding or just some feedings.

Spitting up tends to happen in young infants because the "gatekeeper" muscle—the lower esophageal sphincter, which acts as a valve between the esophagus and the stomach—isn't fully developed. When, say, your baby's stomach is too full, or your little one changes positions suddenly after a feeding, their stomach contents may flow back into the esophagus, and then out of your little one's mouth. Voilà, you have spit-up, more formally known as gastroesophageal reflux or just reflux.

What Causes Babies to Spit Up?

The immediate causes or triggers of spitting up may include your baby

  • overfeeding or feeding too fast

  • swallowing too much air

  • being active too soon after a feeding.

Some formula-fed babies may spit up more frequently because of a sensitivity to soy-based formulas. And when a baby is breastfed, spitting up may occasionally be connected to an allergy or sensitivity to something in the mother's diet.

What Causes Babies to Spit Up

How Much Spit-Up Is Normal?

Most babies will eject between one and two mouthfuls of spit-up at a time. It's worth noting that the amount your baby spits up will often look like it’s more than it actually is, especially if you're judging by the size and number of spit-up stains that are left behind!

When Do Babies Stop Spitting Up?

Most babies outgrow spitting up at around 12 months of age, but since every baby is different, your baby may outgrow this a little before or after that time.

Can Spitting Up Affect Your Baby’s Development?

No, spitting up shouldn’t interfere with your baby’s health or development. If your baby seems happy and comfortable, is eating well, and is gaining weight, there’s generally nothing to worry about.

Rest assured that your baby’s healthcare provider will be tracking your baby’s height, weight, and overall development during each checkup. Consult with the provider if you ever feel concerned about your baby spitting up.

How to Reduce Spit-Up

There are some simple steps you can take to manage spit-up, most of them connected with the way you feed your baby and what you do directly after a feeding.

Here’s how to help reduce the chances of your baby spitting up:

  • Feed your baby in an upright position with their head higher than their stomach to help avoid spit-up—a laid-back position is OK, but not a laid-down position

  • Keep your baby in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after a feeding

  • Avoid active play after a feeding

  • Avoid placing your baby in a swing or bouncer after a feeding

  • Avoid overfeeding—opt for smaller feedings more frequently throughout the day

  • Burp your baby during and after each feeding to lessen air in their stomach

  • Keep track of which formula you use with your baby (if you’re formula-feeding) or what foods you’re eating (if you’re breastfeeding) as your baby may be reacting to something in their or your diet. Consult your baby’s healthcare provider for guidance if you suspect a food allergy or intolerance.

Always place your baby on their back to sleep, even if you're worried about spit-up. This is the safest sleeping position for little ones, as it reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Spitting Up Vs. Vomiting

Many parents confuse spitting up with vomiting. Here the difference between spit-up and vomit.

  • Spitting up is the easyupward flow of stomach contents through your baby’s mouth. It most often happens when your baby burps after a feeding.

  • Vomiting (sometimes erroneously referred to as projectile spit-up) is a forceful ejection of stomach contents through your baby’s mouth that occurs when your baby’s abdominal muscles and diaphragm contract vigorously.

When to Contact Your Baby’s Healthcare Provider

Contact your baby’s healthcare provider if the spit-up looks green or yellow, contains blood, or looks like coffee grounds, or if your baby is vomiting.


Spitting up is normal for babies, especially after a feeding, but if your baby is spitting up a green or yellow fluid, blood, or something that looks like coffee grounds, contact your baby’s healthcare provider.

Also, if your baby is vomiting, contact their healthcare provider.

The Bottom Line

Spitting up is a normal occurrence for newborns and even older babies. Little ones may spit up when overfeeding or feeding too quickly; or when swallowing too much air during a feeding, which can lead to baby gas; or when they are active too soon after a feeding.

Occasionally, spitting up is linked to a food allergy or intolerance. There are a number of ways to alleviate your baby’s spit-up, such as feeding them more frequently but in smaller amounts, burping them during and after a feeding, and avoiding activity after a feeding.

If your baby is growing and gaining weight regularly, there’s no need to worry about lost nutrients due to spitting up. And if you’re still unsure, consult your baby’s healthcare provider, who will be monitoring your baby’s height, weight, and general development at every checkup.

Sooner than you know, you’ll be back to worrying less about your baby’s spit-up and more about having enough diapers and wipes on hand. That’s where the Pampers Club app can come in handy—it helps earn you cash back for all your purchases!

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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