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I have an 11 month old son who still spews after food

Hi there, I have an 11 month old son who still spews after food. I took him to our local Child Health Clinic and was advised to change his milk formula. He has been bottle fed from birth and was on SMA Gold. I have since tried regular SMA Stage 2 and finally SMA AR, but he is still spewing. I would say he spews mostly after food and not particularly after milk feeds. Also, he never spews after his last bottle feed before bed and is (always has been) an excellent sleeper.

I ensure that he stays sitting in his high-chair after any feeds and this can be for upto an hour after being fed. The Nurse at the clinic said it will stop when he`s up and about but this doesn`t seem to be the case. He gets around by pulling himself along on is tummy - not using his knees - and also pulls himself up to standing and cruises the furniture.

The constant spewing gets me down and I`m always reluctant to let anyone hold him or for him to play on the floor at friends houses as I fear he`ll spew on them or their carpets! I took him to a local playcentre and he spewed about 4 times in the baby play area which gets quite embarassing.

My husband hates the fact that the baby still wears a bib constantly but I`ve explained that bibs are much easier to change & wash compared to whole outfits!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
Kind regards Paula, QLD

Answer: Hi Paula, The constant vomiting can be very difficult to deal with, although not a lot of people appreciate just how hard it can be. It can also be socially isolating and can work out quite expensive too. As you mention, it can also be embarrassing at times, particularly when others don’t understand (and I agree; changing a bib is much easier than changing a whole outfit – both at the time and later on when there is washing to be done!!) I see no shame in him wearing a bib at his age, and my advice is to do what works for you – as you are doing. There are a lot of children in our group for whom wearing a bib is simply mandatory!! Your baby is not the only baby wearing a bib at that age and perhaps your husband would feel better knowing that. I gather that your baby has been diagnosed with reflux, but if that isn’t the case, then please talk to your doctor about his constant vomiting. There can actually be other reasons for babies to vomit, and if you haven’t discussed the issues with your doctor, then I would really encourage you to do so. If you have talked to your doctor and they are happy that it is reflux, then it can be a matter of waiting until it is outgrown. While many babies do seem to get better at particular milestones such as when they are upright, walking, able to sit up, on solids (just like the nurse said), it is not the answer for every baby. Unfortunately, nobody can tell you when that time will be for your baby, so it is often a matter of taking things one day at a time – and not looking too far in the future (as that can make it even harder to deal with). While thickened formulas are often recommended for babies who vomit a lot, they aren’t always the answer (as you have found). They may not affect the amount baby vomits, and for some, it can actually make them worse rather than better. There are other strategies you may like to try as you wait until the vomiting decreases. It may be simple things like heading outside as much as possible – vomiting on the grass where cleanup is easier often helps. Wearing bibs and keeping wipe-up cloths handy can help, as can putting lots of towels or waterproof mats around on furniture or floors. Perhaps if you are worried about him vomiting on friend’s carpets, then invite them to your place for the time being, or maybe suggest going to the park for an outing instead. Make up his cot with several layers of sheets if vomiting during naps/overnight is an issue – have a waterproof layer between sheets and simply take one set off as necessary. Change him only when necessary, and you may prefer to wear old clothes (that are easy to wash and dry) so when you do get vomited on, it isn’t such a big deal. It often comes down to looking for different strategies that help, and that you feel comfortable with, and I hope some of those ideas help. You may also want to consider if food sensitivities may be a factor – this seems to be a common problem for many reflux babies, and particularly to foods such as cow’s milk protein and soy (though other foods may also be involved). If you think it is possible it could be food related, it may also be worth keeping a written record of what he eats, as well as any vomiting (keeping in mind it may take several days before you notice a reaction, if there is any). You may also want to talk to your doctor or child health nurse about the possibility. Although you do probably know it, the fact that your baby is vomiting constantly is not your fault, so there really is no need for you to be embarrassed. I do understand why you feel like that, but sometimes it helps to hear that. I hope some of those ideas help. Best regards, Glenda RISA Inc
Answered: 01 Jun 2009