You’re sitting with your little one on their lap and all of a sudden, they start to spit up this clear liquid. And this may or may not make you panic a little too much.
A lot of us parents have experienced this scenario at least once with our little one and gotten passed and you will too. You just have to calm down and carefully read this post as I’ll go over everything surrounding the question, “why is my baby spitting up clear liquid?”
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
First things first, you need to establish what caused your little one to spit up clear liquid. Only then will you know the appropriate measure to remedy the situation and relieve the baby.
There are a few things that may be causing your little one to spit up clear liquid and these are:
If your baby is under one year old then there is a chance that they would spit up a lot and often. It is a part of their developing digestive system.
Some babies burp just before they spit up so you can get ready for it and hold a burp cloth close so you can catch the clear liquid. After a burp, you may see a lot of spit up or just milky while drooling.
Sometimes the spit-up or drool will be clear and other times contains undigested food. Either way, it is completely normal for your growing baby.
Your little one is still learning about their body in the first few months so it will take time to master things like not eating too quickly, or stopping when they are full.
So while they are still learning to eat and digest, they may vomit. This is quite different from spit-up as vomit comes out with force in a projectile. It will likely have some clear stomach juices, mixed in or maybe curdled.
Although it may be unnerving it is completely normal and may happen frequently so try to get used to it.
Your baby will likely cut its first teeth between 4 and 7 weeks. This can be an exciting time but it can also cause pain for your little one. So, as a means of coping, they drool plenty of clear salivae.
You can rub your finger across their gums or give them a cool teething ring to bite on to relieve this pain. Teething can also lead to spitting but it is usually no cause to worry.
However, if this spit-up turns to vomit then there may be a completely different underlying cause so you’ll want to call your doctor.
Reflux involves your baby regurgitating and spitting up ingested food. It can also be called gastroesophageal reflux (GER). It happens quite often and may be frequent daily.
GER usually peaks at 4 months of age and should have stopped once your baby crossed the one-year mark. Still, it’s no cause for concern as long as your baby is gaining weight and is happy.
In some severe cases, GER can progress to GERD, which is gastroesophageal reflux disease. It may also indicate an allergy or blockage in your baby’s digestive system.
With GERD, your baby will be unhappy as they may cry a lot, refusing to eat and subsequently lose significant weight, Ensure you call your doctor as soon as you have any suspicions.
If your breasts are too full it can cause your little one to swallow too much milk or take in air while swallowing. This air later pushes up and can take milk or a clear liquid out with it.
You can try a different breastfeeding position or hand express right before feeding. This will most likely fix it and reduce the spit-up your baby experiences. You can try paced feeding with a bottle or just ensure that the nipple is the right size.
If your baby doesn’t latch properly when feeding then there’s a high chance that they’ll swallow air and when they do, it can cause them to spit up thereby bringing clear liquid out of their mouth.
Ensuring a proper latch will not only reduce spit-up but save you from a bad case of clogged ducts or discomfort if you breastfeed.
If your baby is sensitive to foods like cow’s milk or soy milk, it can cause them to spit up excessively. So, you want to check for any reactions to the food they eat especially if you feed them formula.
If the diaper your baby is wearing is too tight it can put pressure on their stomach and cause them to spit up clear liquid. So, you always want to ensure that they are wearing the correct sized diapers.
Sometimes your baby spits up clear liquid because the lower esophageal sphincter muscle that separates the stomach and esophagus is underdeveloped. This causes some clear liquid or spit-up to flow back up and out of their mouth.
Babies immune systems are still developing so they tend to get sick more than adults. That means your little one would most likely experience frequent colds.
These little bundle of joys haven’t learned how to blow their nose or cough up mucus and this leads to them swallowing it. If they swallow too much, it can lead to vomiting which may contain clear or cloudy liquid.
You may also notice your little one vomiting clear liquid if they have a fever or diarrhea. This occurs when nothing is left in their stomach except clear stomach liquids. Call your doctor if your little one experiences these symptoms.
This rare condition affects just 1% of infants in the United States and more boys than girls. It’s named after the pyloric sphincter muscle that sits on the outlet to the stomach.
The condition makes the pyloric sphincter muscle thick and narrow and this restricts the food in the stomach from reaching the small intestine. The stomach reacts by forcing the food through but due to the narrowness, the food ends up coming out of the baby’s mouth forcefully.
The projectile vomiting can get very far and you can see clear fluid or curdled milk in it. As the muscle gets narrower, your baby will vomit more frequently. So, make sure to call a doctor when it gets too often. (1)
How you help your little one depends on the reason that they are spitting up clear liquid. You want to just clean them up after spitting and make sure it isn’t caused by an illness.
You may be tempted to give your little one water when they spit but that would do more harm than good. Babies under 6 months have stomachs the size of walnuts, and their kidneys still developing.
Although water may be good for you, it can dull the hunger mechanism in your baby and they may not get the needed nutrients. If the intake is too high, they may have water intoxication.
Just to be safe, hold the water till your little one hits the 6-month mark. (1)
If the liquid your little one is spitting up isn’t clear, then there’s a chance that they are spitting up milk. This may be due to some food allergy since you’re probably just trying different meals as they grow older.
If your baby feeds on formula, you’d want to check with your doctor that they are not allergic to it or cow’s milk or soy milk.
Although, you may not need to take any serious measures at first, here are some tips to help relieve your little one from spit up and perhaps prevent it all together. (2)
- Feed your baby in a fairly upright position
- Check that their diaper fits snugly and is not too tight.
- Try paced feed g using bottles and make sure that the nipple is of the right size.
- Burb your baby in between feedings or whenever they pause to get the air out.
- Make sure your baby sleeps and naps on their back.
- Try to avoid overfeeding your little one.
- Remove all distractions while your little one feeds so they are focused on feeding.
Most of the time you can deal with spit-up with a small towel and a little cleanup. However, if your baby is not gaining weight, or feels restless or dehydrated, it’s time to put a call across to the doctor.
When it comes to your baby, a lot of things can scare you and spitting up clear liquid may be one of them. Well, you don’t have to be scared because it’s usually just a normal occurrence for babies younger than a year. Just remember to speak to a doctor if you suspect something serious.
How did you help your little one if they spat up clear liquid? How frequently did it happen. Let me know in the comments section below.
- Healthline, (2020, April 9). Baby Spitting Up Clear Liquid? Possible Causes and When to Call the Doctor https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/baby-spitting-up-clear-liquid#when-to-see-a-doctor
- Alejandro Velez, MD, FAAP. Christine Waasdorp Hurtado, MD, MSCS, FAAP. (2022, Oct 50. Healthy Chiledren. Why Babies Spit Up https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Why-Babies-Spit-Up.aspx