Vomiting in babies is a common problem, but it should not be confused with regurgitation. Here you will find everything you need to know about it, from causes to remedies and when to worry about it.
Vomiting in babies is quite common, and in most cases, parents should not be particularly worried. It is a phenomenon that is usually accompanied in children by symptoms such as pallor, altered heartbeat or salivation, followed by a sudden gush of the mouth through the esophagus, it should not be confused. with regurgitation.
When vomiting in infants occurs only occasionally, one should not be overly alarmed. However, it is preferable to consult the pediatrician in cases where:
- Vomiting episodes are frequent or last for several days
- If the vomit is yellow or another color, or if it shows signs of blood,
- If it is still nocturnal,
- If the quantity of gastric contents rejected is substantial
- If it is accompanied by diarrhea or the onset of cyanosis or difficulty in breathing
Let's first take a close look at the possible causes of vomiting in children and then the appropriate remedies. The secret: don't panic!
Vomiting and regurgitation in children: when gastroesophageal reflux comes into play
It is very important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation in babies. It is common for children to regurgitate, especially if they swallow too quickly, which introduces large amounts of air into their small bodies. Vomiting, on the other hand, is due to a disturbance and causes a much greater feeling of discomfort.
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Regurgitation, reflux, GERD in babies, how to react?
In regurgitation, the rise of stomach contents into the esophagus and throat is caused by gastroesophageal reflux: in these cases, in fact, there are no forced contractions of the abdominal muscles, like this rather occurs in vomiting. Reflux is extremely common in newborns and babies: it is estimated that most children suffer from gastroesophageal reflux in the first months of life and then see it disappear 95% of the time within 18-24 month.
Vomiting can also be a cause of dehydration, as the baby is unable to absorb enough fluids after losing them.
What Can Be The Causes Of Vomiting In Babies?
The causes that can cause vomiting in babies are very different. It could be an illness, such as gastroenteritis, a food allergy, intolerance to milk, or just motion sickness.
If the cause is a gastroenteritisRemember that one of the most effective remedies for preventing it in babies is breastfeeding: babies who drink breast milk have a much lower rate of this disease than those who are artificially fed. Remember to hydrate baby with water when he is sick and does not want to eat!
Another very common cause of vomiting, especially if the baby also has diarrhea, is "rotavirus", a virus that causes severe dehydration and which, fortunately, occurs less often since the introduction of the appropriate vaccine. This virus and the disease it causes are very contagious and can be transmitted by mouth or fecal. Its symptoms are simply fever and vomiting followed by diarrhea (very watery stools) for 5-7 days.
In other cases, on the contrary, vomiting may be caused by congenital pyloric stenosis, that is to say a pathology present at birth which determines a particular difficulty in passing the contents of the stomach inside the intestine. In these cases, you will have what is called "jet vomiting".
Other causes of vomiting in babies can be accidental ingestion of toxic substances, or the presence – if the baby sucks the milk from the bottle – of a hole that is too large in the nipple, which causes the baby to ingest more milk than he should.
More rarely, the presence of a strangulated hernia (if this were the case, the baby would cry very often from the severe pain and immediate medical intervention would be necessary) or "intussusception", that is to say a folding of part of the intestine, which also causes very strong pain and sudden episodes of vomiting.
What to do if your newborn baby starts to vomit? First of all, don't worry! In most cases, as we said, it won't be an illness or something serious. If, however, you feel particularly tense and have doubts about how to deal with the problem, you should call your pediatrician. The first instinct to have is to help your child to vomit by tilting his head forward and especially not laying him down. Then you have to reassure baby. Vomiting is stressful enough for toddlers, it can be scary, especially since it is not really a pleasant feeling.
Pay attention to other symptoms the baby has: If it is a simple problem with the intestines and the baby continues to play quietly without showing any signs of pain or lack of appetite, you can continue to breastfeed. as before, making sure he drinks enough to avoid dehydration. Water is your best ally against nausea and general illness. If, on the other hand, the baby is in pain and does not respond well, it is best to see a doctor right away. If the baby is really sick, the pediatrician will prescribe the appropriate medication.
We recommend trying to feed the baby if he is vomiting. Indeed, food can sometimes stop nausea. Depending on his age and diet, we give him a little something to eat! However, if he doesn't want it, don't force him.
If the newborn has indeed lost a lot of fluids, apart from breast milk, you can ask your doctor if you should give him an oral rehydration solution, which you can easily find in pharmacies (be careful to read the explanatory leaflet, it is indicated for both vomiting and diarrhea).
When to be concerned and call the doctor
On the other hand, it is always a good idea to call the pediatrician if the baby continues to have signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, drowsiness, confusion, reduced urine output (be careful, especially if the diaper remains dry for more than three hours!), if it is less than 3 weeks, or if the episodes of vomiting continue for too long. It is better to call the pediatrician also in cases where the vomit is green in color or contains traces of blood.
The most urgent cases, for which it would be better to go to the emergency room, are those when the sudden vomiting is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, or if, in addition to the vomiting, there is pain and stiffness in the neck and / or skin rashes.
The key: Above all, listen to your baby and not minimize his pain or crying. Do not panic, the causes of vomiting are rarely serious and your stress will only increase that of the baby.