Why do babies spit up?


The medical term for spitting up" is gastroesophageal reflux, or reflux. It happens when milk or solid food in the stomach comes back up into your baby's esophagus (the tube that joins the mouth and the stomach).

Babies spit up when they've eaten too much or when they've swallowed too much air while feeding. Spitting up usually happens when babies burp or drool. Spitting up is not vomiting and babies usually don't notice when they spit up. Vomiting is forceful and painful. Spitting up is common for most babies until about the time they can eat solid foods (usually around 6 months to 1 year of age).

While reflux is normal in babies,  you should contact your doctor if you notice your baby has the following symptoms:

  • Not gaining weight
  • Spits up a large amount of milk (more than 1 or 2 tablespoons)
  • Spits up or vomits forcefully
  • Has fewer wet diapers than normal
  • Seems very tired or lethargic
  • Spits up green or brown liquid


Image of baby spit up