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Having a baby who frequently spits up can be frustrating and overwhelming for new parents. However, it is important to remember that spitting up is more of a laundry issue than an actual health issue. If your baby is generally happy and unbothered when they spit up than you just have a happy spitter. On the other hand if they are arching their back and crying you may want to visit with their pediatrician to see if there is an underlying health issue like reflux.
If you’ve got a happy spitter on your hands don’t fear, there are plenty of ways to survive the spit up. Although you can’t completely eliminate spit up you can make it more manageable and less frequent. Here are 10 of my best tips for surviving a baby who frequently spits up. My daughter has reflux so I have been dealing with spit up since I brought her home. These tips have significantly reduced how often she spits up. They have saved my clothes, my furniture, and my sanity. I hope they can help you too!
Find the right bottle – Finding the right bottle will be the best thing you do when you have a baby who spits up frequently. More than likely, you will go through a few different bottles until you find the perfect one for your baby. That’s why I recommend waiting to stock up on bottles until you know which kind works best. I like to use Playtex Ventaire bottles with Olivia. They have significantly helped reduce not only her spit up, but her fussiness as well. We tried a few different bottles before we settled on these. They are hands down my favorite.
Offer smaller feedings more frequently – It may feel more convenient to do a large feeding every 3-4 hours. However, when you have a baby who frequently spits up it’s better to aim for smaller feedings more frequently. Smaller feedings are easier for a baby’s belly to digest. When Olivia’s reflux gets really bad I split her feedings up into small bottles and feed her every hour or so. This is much easier on her tummy and helps her keep more of her bottles down.
Feed baby in an upright position – It’s important to feed your baby in a semi-upright position rather than flat on their back. Feeding them in an upright position makes it easier for the milk to flow down to their bellies smoothly. This will help prevent gas and reflux in your baby, therefore, reducing the amount that they spit up. I like to use my Boppy pillow when feeding Olivia to help support her head in the upright position.
Burp your baby frequently – It’s important to pause to burp your baby frequently. Burping your baby will help get rid of some of the air bubbles they may have swaddled during their feeding. If you are bottle feeding I recommend stopping every 2-3 oz. If you are breastfeeding I would burp when you pause to switch breasts. Burping more frequently will help reduce spit up in both breastfed and bottle fed babies.
Keep baby upright after a feeding – It is recommended to keep your baby sitting upright for 20-30 minutes after a feeding. This is important because it allows gravity to help hold the food down. Gravity is definitely your friend when dealing with a baby who frequently spits up and it can make a huge difference. I usually let Olivia sit up in my lap while I rock her after a feeding.
Avoid physical play after a feeding – It’s important to avoid too much activity after a feeding. You want to give your baby’s tummy an opportunity to settle and digest all of the milk they just ate. You’ll want to keep baby in the upright position and avoid any bouncing, swinging, jostling, etc. Doing this for 20-30 minutes will significantly help reduce the amount that your baby spits up.
Keep lots of cloth diapers on hand – Cloth diapers are going to be your best friend when you have a baby who spits up a lot. I know you are probably wondering what in the heck cloth diapers have to do with spit up, but trust me they are the best! Regular burp cloths may be adorable, but they are the WORST at absorbing spit up. I have found that cloth diapers are super absorbent and much more affordable than traditional burp rags. I highly recommend stocking up on cloth diapers because you will go through them like crazy.
Stock up on drool bibs – If you have a baby who spits up frequently you will go through what feels like a thousand outfits a day. I recommend putting a drool bib on your baby for most of the day. It is much easier to change a drool bib multiple times than it is to change an entire outfit. Plus, drool bibs are made of super absorbent fabric so they help soak up most if not all of the spit up. They are great! I’ve linked some of my favorites that I like to use for Olivia. She wears these pretty much constantly when we are out and about.
Overpack the diaper bag – Don’t be afraid to pack your diaper bag until it is stuffed to the max. Trust me, just when you think you have enough go ahead and add one more. Pack extra outfits, cloth diapers, and drool bibs. You’ll be happy you did. You can never have too much, but you can absolutely have too little.
Don’t forget about a change of clothes for mom – This is another fun parenting lesson that I had to learn the hard way. It’s important to not only pack extras for baby, but for mom as well. I like to keep an extra top in Olivia’s diaper bag for me. I like to stick with a basic that way it will match whatever else I have on for the day. You may never need it, but it’s a great thing to have just in case you get spit up on while you are out and about.