Treat a Vomiting Baby

When your baby or toddler vomits, it can be concerning. They're much too small to tell you how they feel and, as a concerned mother, the first things that come to mind tend to be worst-case scenarios. The good news is that most vomiting episodes in babies are caused by common childhood illness or self-limiting infectious diseases like viral infections of the digestive tract and upper respiratory infections.

Generally a baby who is throwing up should not cause you to feel alarmed. But sometimes vomiting can indicate a serious health problem

When to Seek Emergency Care

If your baby has signs of severe dehydration, you need to call 911 immediately. Usually you'll notice a problem before this happens. But if you haven't noticed any vomiting or stomach upset before, it's important to call emergency if your baby has a sunken fontanel, sunken eyes, is excessively tired or fussy and has cold, splotchy hands and feet. Call 911 if your baby is vomiting and having trouble breathing. If you suspect your baby has swallowed something poisonous, call 911 immediately or your local poison control hotline.

If the vomit contains green substance (bile) or a significant amount of blood, you should bag up a sample of the vomit and take both your baby and the sample to the emergency room. Green bile can mean her intestines are blocked and she'll need immediate treatment to unblock them. Blood could also mean the same thing or it could mean there's internal bleeding that requires immediate attention.

If your baby is old enough to move around and has bumped his head, take him to the emergency if he throws up more than once after the bang on the head. Vomiting could be a sign of a concussion which may require medical help to reduce or prevent brain damage.

Repeated vomiting accompanied by a tender and swollen abdomen could mean a hernia, a build-up of fluid or gas or a blocked intestine. You should take your baby to emergency if she appears to be in severe, agonizing pain.

When to Seek General Medical Care

Dehydration can be a concern if your baby is vomiting for more than 24 hours. The length of vomiting isn't unusual for some illnesses, but it's a good idea to check with your physician just to make sure. Early signs of dehydration including dry lips and mouth, crying with no tears (after your baby has reached the age of three to four weeks), dark yellow urine or no urination for six to eight hours. If you notice early signs of dehydration, contact your doctor to find the best solution to fix it. Yellow skin and whites of the eyes is a sign of jaundice which will need to be treated. If there's vomiting with jaundice, contact your doctor.

Avoiding Dehydration

Dehydration is one of the biggest concerns of a vomiting baby, even if the vomiting is nothing more than a simple and common viral infection. To reduce the chance of dehydration, you can feed your baby and over-the-counter electrolyte solution. But only feed it to your baby when she's able to keep liquids down. Start slow with one teaspoon every ten minutes for the first hour or two and then increase the amount to two teaspoons every five minutes until the vomiting completely eases up.

If you're breastfeeding, you can continue breastfeeding and give the electrolyte solution too. But be aware that if your baby's tummy is upset, she may not be interested in nursing.

Do not give your baby medications, although non-medical gripe water can sometimes help ease stomach upset in babies. Gripe water is also used to treat baby gas.

Prevent Vomiting

Sometimes vomiting can be prevented. If it's caused by a common viral infection, there won't be much you can do. But if your baby tends to vomit in reaction to phlegm and mucus build-up from a respiratory infection, try using a bulb syringe to remove the mucus. You can use a saline solution, available for babies at any drugstore, to soften the mucus before using the bulb syringe.

Motion sickness can cause vomiting. Try frequent stops and breaks for fresh air to reduce motion sickness vomiting. For babies that vomit after feedings, try smaller amount of food and more burping. Try to keep your baby upright for about 30 minutes after she's finished eating.