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Spitting Up – And Other Joys Of Motherhood
If you have a newborn, he or she is going to spit up. Some babies do it more than others, but they all do it. There are several reasons why, and some things you can do to minimize spitting up.
Newborns spit up more than older babies, in part because their esophagus is not mature yet, and in part because they tend to have a lot of mucous to clear, and when they clear it, the milk comes up, too. Most babies stop spitting up entirely by the time they are six months old, but there are those who continue until about one year old.
Other reasons that babies spit up are too much air in their stomachs, or simply eating a little too much. These are problems you can minimize with a little attention. First, don’t feed your baby when he’s crying, as he is taking in air with all those sobs. Calm him first and then continue. If your baby is taking a bottle, make sure you are holding the bottle so that the nipple stays full of milk, and holding the baby so that he stays partially upright. If possible, put him somewhere where he will be still for awhile right after eating. Jostling him around is likely to cause an outburst. Also, don’t try to feed your baby too much. Just because the doctor says that most newborns will take three or four ounces at a time, doesn’t mean that’s right for your baby. If your baby consistently spits up a large amount after every feeding, you might want to cut back by an ounce or so, and see what happens.
Now, let me point out something important. There is a difference between spitting up and throwing up. When your baby spits up normally, it will look (and smell) like a lot, but realistically, it is probably only a teaspoon or two of milk mixed with mucous. That is normal spitting up. It’s important that you know the difference between spitting up and throwing up the whole meal. If your child starts throwing up, it’s time to call the doctor!
Now, a word about your clothes. Keep a cloth diaper around at all times. When you had your baby shower, I bet people gave you some of those fancy burp rags, didn’t they? Well, they’re great for dusting furniture, but simply too narrow for your shoulder. Whenever I used them, I wound up with vomit on my shoulder nearest my neck. It was lovely. I wonder how many people thought I had switched to some new, horrible perfume. Another trick if you’re going to work. I used to put an old, extra large button front shirt on over my clothes when I got dressed on work days. I wore it until I had dropped the baby off at the sitters, and then took it off in the car. That way, if they decided to spit up on me on the way out the door, or at the sitter’s, I didn’t have to go home and change.
Spitting up is relatively short lived, thank goodness. So, just take precautions, and wait it out!