What is regurgitation?

Parents often worry something is wrong with the baby if they are spitting up their feeds. However, regurgitation, also known as spitting up, is very common in infants and often occurs after a feeding. The symptom occurs without nausea and is mild vomiting or regurgitation of food, milk, and saliva.  The spit up is fluid and may look just like the formula or milk that was just fed.

How do I know if my baby has regurgitation?

An otherwise healthy infant between three weeks and 12 months of age has regurgitation if it meets both criteria:

  • Two or more regurgitations per day for three weeks or more
  • No retching, hematemesis, failure to thrive, feeding or swallowing difficulties or abnormal posturing

What causes regurgitation

In infants, the esophageal sphincter that prevents food from flowing back up towards the mouth, is not completely formed. Furthermore, the gastric motility is not fully developed either. The regurgitations gradually disappear during the child’s first year as the digestive tract matures and the child begins to be in an upright position more often.