Baby Spitting Up Curdled Milk Is Good or Bad?
They say babies do very little besides feeding, sleeping, peeing, and pooping. They miss out…
They say babies do very little besides feeding, sleeping, peeing, and pooping. They miss out on telling you that babies spit out a lot too! You might notice your breastfed little one spitting out soon after feeding and sometimes a little later. While most of us soon find out that spitting up soon after feeding or while burping is entirely normal, we worry when the baby spits curdled milk. Is the baby spitting up curdled milk good or bad? Let’s find out.
Understanding the Digestive System of a Baby
The digestive system of babies is immature. In our bodies, there is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter between the esophagus(food pipe) and stomach. This muscle is responsible for keeping the ingested food in the stomach. This muscle is not much developed in infants. Once the milk or solid food is taken, the acid in the stomach lowers the ingested food’s pH level and helps break it down. For all human beings, proper digestion of food is vital for good health. Babies prepare their digestive systems gradually by starting with only milk for 6 months and then slowly moving to solids.
Why Do Babies Spit Up Curdled Milk?
- Overfeeding: Many times, babies spit up soon after a feed. Such spit-up has creamy white milk and is not curdled. This kind of spit-up is typical. It only means that you have fed her a little more than her tiny tummy can take.
- Swallowing Air: The baby swallows some air while breastfeeding and even more while feeding from a bottle. This is usually due to the incorrect position during feeding. When she swallows too much air, she spits up a little. This spit-up is also usually not curdled.
- Underdeveloped Digestive System: Sometimes, you may notice that the spit-up milk is curdled. This normally happens after some time of feeding and not immediately. Such spit, too, is expected. You see curdled milk when this partly digested milk comes out of the stomach because of the underdeveloped esophageal sphincter.
- Acid Reflux: The milk is curdled because the digestion process has begun, and the milk has mixed with the stomach acids. This is called acid reflux. If the milk has stayed in the stomach for extended periods, it may look much more curdled and even slightly yellow. Spitting up curdled milk is normal in babies if it happens once in a while.
- Pyloric Stenosis: This is a rare condition in which the baby’s stomach is too narrow, making the flowing of food from the stomach to the intestine difficult. Therefore the baby spits up or vomits curdled milk. Babies between 2-4 weeks old are diagnosed with pyloric stenosis. The baby might even need surgery to resolve this issue.
- Lactose Intolerance: Some babies are intolerant to lactose. This may change in a few years. Some children remain lactose intolerant forever. Most babies are intolerant to cow’s milk as well. It must be given only after the baby is one year old. Consult a doctor to confirm this possibility.
- Food Allergy: If the baby has started having solids, spitting up curdled milk could be because of an allergy to a specific ingredient.
Is Spitting Up Curdled Milk Bad for a Baby?
As we mentioned above, spitting up curdled milk is no cause for worry unless it is too much, persistent, and/or accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss, dehydration, stomach ache, etc.
It may be a negative sign if the baby spits up frequently, more than 10-12 times a day. Look out for the following indications too to know if you should be worried about curdled milk spitting:
- Baby is losing or not gaining weight.
- Baby has difficulty in breathing.
- Baby cries too much all the time.
- Forceful projectile spitting.
- If spit up is not just spit up, but vomiting. While vomiting, the baby throws up almost all of what he has.
- The spit-up has yellow, green, brown, or red color.
- The baby spits up curdled milk very frequently and has a fever too.
- Due to dehydration, the baby wets his diaper less frequently.
- Baby refuses to feed properly.
- There is blood in the baby’s stool.
- If the baby had stopped spitting up and suddenly started one day, especially after six months of age.
If you stumble upon any of the symptoms mentioned above or any other unusual symptoms in your baby, consult a doctor to understand the next step.
How Is Spit-Up Different From Vomit?
Spit-up and vomiting are two different things. Spit-up is usually when some milk (curdled or not) flows from the side of the baby’s mouth. You will notice this mostly after burping a baby or a little after feeding. However, vomit is more forceful. The baby spits a little farther away in a projectile. Spit-up is just a small amount of milk. But Vomit typically has almost all the food or drink that the baby would have had. Vomiting indicates a more severe health issue and needs immediate medical attention. Spit-up happens almost every day until the baby is 6 months old.
Tips For Managing Spitting Up Curdled Milk
We have emphasized enough that a baby spitting up curdled milk is no reason to worry. It bothers you more than your baby because you might have to change clothes for the baby and yourself. Curdled milk tastes different and smells different than regular milk. Therefore it may be uncomfortable for both of you. These steps can help you minimize spitting up.
These steps could help you prevent the spitting up of curdled milk. However, if these steps seem ineffective and the spitting-up bothers you, meet your pediatrician to check if everything is alright. More likely than not, it is alright!
As new parents, everything related to your baby might make you anxious. If spitting up curdled milk is one of these things, you need not worry. As you must have understood by now, spitting curdled milk is very typical in infants. The curdling of milk is due to its reaction with stomach acids which lowers its pH level. Only if such spitting is too frequent or accompanied by weight loss, dehydration, fever, or any other discomfort, bring it to the notice of your doctor. Moreover, watch out for any changes in the pattern of spit-up frequency. Get a check-up if the frequency is increasing or if you face any of the other issues we mentioned here. Otherwise, just wipe off the spit and move on!
Yes, it is normal for babies to spit up curdled milk. It is often mainly due to the underdeveloped digestive system of the baby.
Acidic reflux, an immature digestive system, and overfeeding are reasons a baby spits curdled milk.
No, you need not be concerned if your baby spits up curdled milk unless it is too frequent and accompanied by other systems such as weight loss, fever, discomfort, dehydration, etc.
You may prevent the baby from spitting up curdled milk by taking some steps such as choosing the correct feeding position, burping the baby often, putting the baby on its back to sleep, etc.