4 Causes of Vomiting in Babies

Bayo Ajibola

4 Causes of Vomiting in Babies

It may come as a shock to you but it is normal for babies to vomit. Vomit here means expelling large quantities of milk as opposed to small amounts. Your baby is likely to cry when this happens because it can be scary.


Your baby’s stomach is not yet used to the new environment and this may cause an upset. It may also be car sickness since car rides were not really available in the womb. Some carry it to adulthood.


Sometimes the baby may be too full and this may cause a little indigestion.


Any kind of infection can cause a baby to get sick. It may be a urine infection, an ear infection or a stomach infection. Such may be accompanied by diarrhea though.

Prolonged coughing or crying

A baby can start coughing slightly and it grows into a full blown cough as though they have a chest infection. What follows a short while later is probably a stream of vomit. This can also happen if the baby cries for a long time.

Vomiting is therefore not always a symptom of sickness but there are some instances where you should get worried and see a doctor as soon as you can.

  • If your baby is showing signs of dehydration like lack of tears, a dry mouth, fewer wet nappies (less than six in a day), floppiness and a sunken fontanelle ().
  • Refusing food, formula or breast milk.
  • A rash that does not blanch or fade when the baby’s skin is pressed.
  • Fever
  • If the vomiting goes on for more than 12 hours or the baby vomits with great force. Vomiting persistently or with great force may be caused by pyloric stenosis, although it is rare. It usually appears when the baby is a few weeks old or any time before he clocks four months.

It can be explained as a thickening of the valve that connects the stomach and intestines. This keeps food from going through thus causing the baby to vomit. It is rectified surgically but still needs to be done fast.

  • A swollen abdomen.
  • A bulging fontanelle.
  • Severe irritability or sleepiness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Presence of bile or blood in the vomit- It may not be a problem at first because it may have occurred if a small tear occurred in any of the blood vessels in the food pipe due to the force of vomiting. It could also occur if he had a nosebleed earlier or he had swallowed some blood from a cut in his mouth.

You can start worrying if the amount of blood increases or if it doesn’t stop appearing in the vomit. Green bile can be interpreted as a blockage in the intestines and that requires immediate medical attention.

How to handle it

  • When the vomiting starts be sure to keep your baby hydrated since it causes him to lose a lot o fluids. You can use an ORS (oral rehydration solution) and continue breast milk as usual. Fizzy drinks and fruit juices should however be avoided.
  • If the vomiting has stopped for between 12 and 24 hours you can start getting him back to his regular diet. Start slow though with foods that are easy to digest like yoghurt, milk and cereal.
  • Ensuring that he gets some rest can also help. The stomach usually empties its contents into the intestines while he is asleep and this will ease the need to vomit.

You should avoid giving any anti-nausea medication unless they have been prescribed by a doctor. If it is not a serious case it should ease up after a short while.

Bayo Ajibola

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