Vomiting in the baby


Vomiting in babies is harmless in most cases and serves to protect the child's body and above all the digestive tract from harmful pathogens or substances. When vomiting, the stomach contents are emptied again by spitting out. Babies vomit very often in the first few weeks because they have to get used to eating. In babies, a distinction must be made between normal spitting after meals and proper vomiting. Vomiting can also be caused by an organic disease or a disorder in the brain. Repeated vomiting can become a major problem due to loss of water, acid, and salt.

Read more on this topic: Recognize intestinal obstruction in babies


The occurrence of vomiting in the baby can have several causes. In most cases, vomiting occurs as part of an infection of the upper respiratory tract or the digestive system. In addition, poor hygiene, in the form of dirty milk bottles, can also be a trigger. Other causes of vomiting can also be poisoning in the form of tablets or other toxic substances.

The color of the vomit can also give an indication of the possible cause. If the vomit is acidic, this is an indication that the cause is in the stomach area, in the form of gastric mucosal inflammation or gastric acid reflux. If the vomit is greenish-brown in color, it can come from the large intestine and there may be a narrowing of the small intestine. Slimy or bloody vomit could indicate an upper digestive tract injury or bronchitis.If the vomit smells putrid and contains feces, this can indicate an intestinal obstruction. Vomiting in the gush is a sign of the presence of one Pyloric stenosis, that is, a narrowing of the stomach outlet.

In rare cases, a central regulatory disorder can lead to a defect in the vomiting center. In addition, pathological processes in the brain such as inflammation, tumors or the presence of an epileptic disease can trigger repeated vomiting.

Read more on this topic: Causes of Vomiting in Babies and Children

Vomiting during teething

The baby can also vomit food during teething. When the first teeth come through, the baby's gums are noticeably tense, tender and cause pain. When eating, the additional strain on the oral mucosa and gums can lead to the food being spit out. The babies are very restless, cannot take in much food and the pain when sucking can trigger nausea. In most cases, when vomiting during teething, one can speak of increased spitting up of the food.


If vomiting occurs repeatedly in the baby, further medical clarification of the cause should be carried out. A detailed consultation with a doctor is particularly important for the diagnosis. Here you should ask how long the baby has been vomiting, how much it looks like, how often it occurs and whether other additional symptoms appear. This is followed by a detailed physical examination and a blood test to identify any abnormalities that may be present and examine them more closely.

Often, an attempt to eat food is made under observation so that the doctor can get a picture of the vomiting and assess it better. For further diagnosis, further examinations using ultrasound or X-rays can be carried out, depending on the question.

When do I have to see a doctor?

One-time vomiting in the baby shouldn't be a cause for concern. Often, infants spit up small amounts of food shortly after eating. Even when changing food, the stomach may first have to get used to the change. However, if vomiting occurs several times in the baby or if it is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, refusal to eat or, in the worst case, changes in personality, a doctor should be consulted. They can find out the cause of the vomiting and initiate therapy.

Concomitant symptoms

Other symptoms that can accompany vomiting in babies are very diverse. Since vomiting occurs in most cases as part of an infection, it is often accompanied by symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue and restlessness. In addition, a sore throat, cough, runny nose or inflammation in the ear area can occur.

Babies who vomit often and a lot appear very weak, sleepy and do not feel like drinking. If they lack fluid, signs of incipient dehydration are often visible. These include dry skin, sunken eyes, a sunken fontanel and dry mucous membranes, which often refuse to eat in the context of an infection.

In contrast, children who vomit due to reflux or a central regulatory disorder are often very angry and hasty when drinking. Because of hunger, they appear particularly restless and scream a lot.

Read more about these topics: Dehydration in children and reflux in babies

Vomiting and diarrhea

The combination of vomiting and diarrhea often occurs in babies as part of a stomach and intestinal infection. In most cases this is caused by viruses such as adeno, rota or noroviruses. But bacterial infections can also lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Since babies lose a lot of fluid as part of such an infection, particular care must be taken to ensure that they are drinking enough fluids to counteract dehydration.

Read more on this topic: Diarrhea in the baby

Splashing vomiting

Splashing vomiting occurs in babies in what is called a Pyloric stenosis on. This is a thickening of the muscles of the stomach gatekeeper. This makes the passage of the food pulp from the stomach into the small intestine difficult or completely prevented. Due to the accumulation of food and the increasing stretching of the stomach, babies begin to vomit in the frog 10-20 minutes after they have eaten. In most cases, these symptoms appear between the second and sixth week of life.

Vomiting with fever

Vomiting and fever often occur together in babies as part of upper respiratory diseases. These are, for example, bronchitis or tonsillitis. This is usually triggered by viruses, similar to gastric and intestinal infections. You should ensure that you drink enough water and drink enough fluids and try to lower the fever with suppositories or juice. In most cases, the symptoms of such an infection subside after a few days.

Read more on this topic: Fever in baby

If there is no improvement, further investigations should be carried out to investigate the cause. Vomiting and fever can also be an indication of a central regulatory disorder, as both the vomiting center and the center for setting the body temperature are regulated by the central nervous system.

Vomiting after a vaccination

One-time vomiting after a vaccination can certainly occur in babies. Vaccination means stress for the baby's body as the immune system has to deal with the vaccine. Other side effects of vaccination may include fever, reddening of the injection site, or tiredness. However, if vomiting occurs more frequently or if other symptoms occur, the pediatrician should be consulted. Symptoms such as refusal to eat or changes in character in the baby should be taken seriously and clarified by an expert. The attending pediatrician can better assess whether the vomiting is a side effect of the vaccination or whether the vomiting is caused by another disease. He can also initiate therapy if necessary.

Read more on the subject at: Side effects from vaccinations in the baby

A special feature is the vaccination against rotaviruses. After this vaccination, babies have a slightly increased risk of intestinal invagination. This leads to a blockage of the intestine. Symptoms include vomiting, severe pain, and a sore stomach. If a combination of these symptoms occurs after a Rota vaccination, a doctor must be consulted immediately.

Read more on the subject at: Recognize intestinal obstruction in babies

Treatment and therapy

If the baby suffers from severe vomiting, particular attention should be paid to adequate fluid intake, as this can counteract dehydration and the loss of important salts. It can be very helpful to document the fluid intake, the amount of vomiting and any accompanying diarrhea, as this allows the actual fluid loss and fluid balance to be better assessed. To compensate for the loss of fluids, rice gruel electrolyte solutions are particularly suitable, which can be fed in addition to breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

For stomach and intestinal problems, peppermint or chamomile tea can also be given, as this has a calming effect on the gastric mucosa. In the case of an additional fever, after consultation with the doctor, antipyretic agents such as paracetamol or ibuprofen should be used in the form of juice or suppositories.

Vomiting as a result of an intestinal obstruction or pyloric stenosis should be treated surgically immediately.

Vomiting as a result of reflux can be relieved by making sure the baby does not drink too quickly or too much. Small breaks while drinking and elevating the upper body can provide significant relief.


The duration of vomiting in the baby can vary widely. In the case of infections of the upper respiratory tract or the digestive tract, vomiting can occur several times a day for 2-3 days. However, if the vomiting continues for several days and no further symptoms can be recognized, further medical clarification should be carried out.

Spitting lightly after meals is usually completely normal and shouldn't cause concern. In most cases, this will come back quickly and no longer need to be observed. Up to how long vomiting is normal is difficult to estimate. Above all, it is important to ensure that the baby is still drinking enough fluids and can keep it with them.

Is it dangerous if my baby vomits while sleeping?

If your baby vomits while sleeping, this can be dangerous. If the baby is lying on its back, there is a great risk that the vomit will obstruct the airways or the baby will inhale the vomit. In both cases, it can cause shortness of breath or even suffocation.

Most of the time, however, babies only vomit small amounts and turn their heads a little to one side. This then does not pose a threat to the baby.