Some days, parenthood is the most honorable and transformative experience of your life. Your infant is the most perfect and beautiful baby on the planet. And other days, you're left holding the baby and saying, "What end did that come from?" Because it's going to be relevant sooner or later, it's a good idea to know how to interpret baby puke.
Sure, caring for an infant is one of the most adult responsibilities in the world. But cleaning up vomit at 3 in the morning probably makes you feel more like a college freshman again. Seriously, it can feel like your kid has way more output than input some days. This can make you concerned about exactly what is normal, and what should have you headed to the pediatrician's office.
For what it's worth, puke is a very normal part of babyhood. So even if it feels like your little one is auditioning for a remake of The Exorcist, she's likely OK. That said, there are a few instances in which baby vomit can signal more serious health concerns, so it's smart to learn what's what. Hey, you're going to be dealing with the stuff anyway, so you might as well get some valuable information from it.
1. Post-Feeding Spit Up
Sometimes you're feeding your baby and the food just spills back out of his mouth. Is this normal? Probably. According to Similac, as long as your baby does not seemed bothered by this reflux, it's probably just spit-up. That said, if your baby seems to be uncomfortable with the situation, or is producing more of it than usual, you may have a case of vomiting.
2. Simple Motion Sickness
Many babies can vomit at the drop of a hat. According to Baby Center, car sickness, indigestion, or even a long crying jag can all cause your baby to vomit. Sure, it's gross, but probably nothing concerning.
3. Potential Food Allergy
Occasionally, a food allergy may be the cause of your baby's vomiting spells. As noted in WebMD, common food allergy symptoms in infants include vomiting or diarrhea, hives, coughing, and flushed or swollen skin. In this case, get your baby to a doctor ASAP.
4. Bloody Vomit
OK, so this may look like a cause for alarm. But as noted in Baby Center, regurgitation can cause little tears in your baby's blood vessels, leading to vomit tinged with blood. This may not be a huge cause for concern, but if the bleeding continues for an extended period of time, or you're just worried, then it's a good idea to seek out your pediatrician's advice.
5. Hypertrophic Pyloric Stenosis
If your very young baby is vomiting often and forcefully, then it's time for a check-up. Pyloric stenosis, a condition in which your baby's stomach muscles won't allow food to pass into the intestines, may require surgery to remedy, as noted in KidsHealth. If you suspect this may be the case, then immediate treatment is required.
6. They've Got The GERD
If you're baby's backflow of spit-up and vomit seems to worsen over time, then you may want to get checked out for a more serious condition. As noted in Healthy Children, never-ending vomit may signify gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Thankfully, this condition is manageable with help from your doctor.
7. They Have An Infection
Babies are prone to getting infections, and sometimes those show up in unexpected ways. Sure, vomiting may be a sign of rotavirus, but it's also a symptom of anything from UTIs to respiratory infections as well, as noted in Healthy Children. Therefore, it's your best bet to visit your pediatrician for a diagnosis.
8. They Have Meningitis
This is veering into the scary side of potential diagnoses. According to Parents, vomiting is often a symptom of meningitis, when combined with a fever and screaming. Fortunately, this infection is often counteracted by one of your little one's well-baby shots, so it is not as prevalent as it once was.
9. They May Have Appendicitis
Again, this is one of the most serious possibilities. As noted in What to Expect, if your baby is vomiting, feverish, and appears to have intense stomach pain, then a trip to the ER or your doctor is a must. It may be a case of appendicitis.