Alternate Names : Regurgitation
A baby sometimes regurgitates small amounts after a feeding. This is called
What is going on in the body?
Spitting up occurs in many young infants. In some children, it may continue
through the first year. The problem occurs because some of the muscles in the
baby's digestive system are not yet mature.
When food is swallowed, it travels to the stomach through a long muscular tube
known as the esophagus. Waves of muscle contractions propel food down the
esophagus. The valve connecting the esophagus to the stomach is called the
gastroesophageal sphincter. Normally, this valve closes after eating to keep
food from rising back into the esophagus.
In newborns, this valve has not fully developed. That makes it easier for food
to move backward, up the esophagus. Spitting up usually occurs during or
shortly after feeding. Most of the time, the food rolls out of the mouth
without much force. The amount that comes out is rarely more than an ounce.
It is important to distinguish spitting up from vomiting. With vomiting, larger
amounts of stomach contents are forcefully expelled. Material may come out of
the nose as well. Vomiting is usually a sign of an illness.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Premature infants may be more likely to spit up. This
is because their digestive systems are not as mature at birth as those of full