Newborn health & safety
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Baby Health: Being Sick

Babies are often a little sick after a feed, but when can vomit signal something more serious?

Posted: 19 June 2009
by ThinkBaby

When your baby seems unwell, it's understandable that you might fear the worst, but nine times out of 10 there’ll be nothing to worry about. Still, it’s a good idea to know the basics of baby health.

When to call the doctor

With any baby health worry, contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 if your baby:
  • Has temperature of 38°C of higher
  • Has forceful, repeated vomiting that continues for more than 24 hours
  • Is particularly lethargic or irritable
  • Has diarrhoea for more than 24 hours
  • Has a swollen abdomen
  • Shows signs of dehydration – dry mouth, dark yellow urine, dry nappy for six to eight hours
  • Has blood in her poo or in vomit
  • Has convulsions
  • Refuses feeds for more than six to eight hours
  • Shows signs of jaundice (yellow whites of eyes and a yellowish, tanned look to the skin)

All about: Vomiting

Could it be?
Posseting Known as ‘posseting’, it’s actually perfectly normal for healthy babies to vomit after feeding. Some babies do it a lot, some only occasionally. Sometimes it’s just a small amount and sometimes it’s a gush from the nose and mouth. All babies do it, and some until they’re a year old.
What to do Time to get used to the odd splat on your shoulder – use a muslin cloth and wear machine-washable tops!

Could it be?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) If your baby is vomiting a lot, with other signs of discomfort, it could be baby heartburn. Known as GERD or reflux, it’s caused by stomach acid that shoots back up with frequent reflux. Posseting, reflux and GERD are really the same thing, it’s just that there are different severities; some babies just posset, some babies throw up and some scream because it’s so painful.
What to do If your baby appears distressed, see your GP. Your doctor will offer basic advice, like creating a more upright sleeping position, winding your baby halfway through feeds and possibly adding a thickener to feed, which helps keep milk down. If symptoms persist they’ll refer you to a paediatrician.

Could it be?
Pyloric stenosis If your baby suffers persistent projectile vomiting after feeds it may be a rare condition called pyloric stenosis. This is caused when a muscle controlling a valve from the stomach to the intestines thickens so food can’t get through. It usually occurs when your baby’s four to six weeks old.
What to do The problem is easily cured with minor surgery, but it does require immediate attention – see your GP.

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Discuss this story

I always read these articles to create more awareness in my childs health and stuff to watch ot for when they are not feeling as bubbly as usual.  I love this site, keep it like this as it helps mothers learn and use.

Posted: 20/06/2009 at 01:08

Thanks Mina!
Laura (editor) xx

Posted: 21/06/2009 at 13:52


When my son was born he projectile vomited an awful lot, he once managed to projectile vomit 26feet, yes we measured it.  As he was my first born I was obviously very worried and spent weeks going back and forth to the health visitor who thought he was allergic to milk and put him on a Soya based milk.  This didn't work he continued to vomit and use to go through 10-13 changes of clothes per day.

As my son was not keeping his milk down and constantly screaming with hunger I began giving him baby rice (not recommended but I felt I had no other choice.

I went back and forth to the doctors, explaining that my son was vomiting all the time and rarely slept.  The doctor told me to go away as I was a paranoid mother and that there was nothing wrong with my son.

Because my son screamed constantly, he rarely slept, the neighbours offered to take him out in his pram, however after half an hour they would bring him back saying he hasn’t stopped crying.  I even had the neighbours ringing the health visitor saying that bay is always crying.

I even called out an emergency doctor one night and when he arrived he told me he had bet his wife that by the time he got here the baby would be asleep (he wasn't).  The relief doctor administered some medicine to my son that made him sleep.

This projectile vomiting had by now been going on for over 9 months and I was at my wits end.  I just didn't know where to turn so in the end I went to the hospital and went up onto the ward and refused to move until a doctor saw my son.<!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"Arial Unicode MS"; panose-1:2 11 6 4 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-familywiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-1 -369098753 63 0 4129023 0;} @font-face {font-family:"\@Arial Unicode MS"; panose-1:2 11 6 4 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-familywiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-1 -369098753 63 0 4129023 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} p {margin-right:0cm; mso-margin-top-alt:auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; margin-left:0cm; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Arial Unicode MS";} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {pageection1;} -->

Posted: 05/07/2009 at 22:39


Posted: 05/07/2009 at 22:41

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