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Baby Vomiting Mucus – Common Causes and What to Do about It

Parenting can be full of all sorts of fun adventures, but parenthood also has its fair share of scary experiences. It can be really hard to tell if your baby’s behaviour is normal, especially if this is your first child. When you start to question your baby’s health, the situation can become rather alarming.

One such scenario that all parents will find themselves in at one point or another is dealing with a sick child. Now, most parents expect that they will have to deal with their fair share of throw up with their newborns, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to pay attention.

Like any other bodily function, vomiting is a behaviour you should always monitor with your baby – there is a lot you can learn from it. The amount, consistency, and colour of the spit up are all valuable indicators of your child’s health. In particular, one situation parents may find alarming is when they see their baby vomiting mucus.

Table of Contents

Is my baby vomiting mucus?

The first thing you are going to want to do is to make sure you know how to identify the different kinds of vomit you may expect with a baby. Although not entirely a pleasant thing to do, one of the best ways to do this is to look at the colour.

  • Light brown-white: Regurgitated food or milk. If less forceful it could just be spit up.
  • Red or light pink or brown: Generally a sign of blood. While alarming, this is perfectly normal in small amounts due to fragile blood vessels. If it persists in larger amounts, contact your health care provider for further advice.
  • Green: Could be a sign of viral or bacterial infection.
  • Clear to yellow, and abnormally thick and sticky consistency: This is an indication your child is throwing up mucus.

It can be helpful to keep in mind that the colour of your baby’s diet could greatly impact the colour of all of their body excrements. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact your healthcare provider.

Is my baby throwing up mucus normal?

The good thing is you shouldn’t panic right away, throwing up mucus is a perfectly normal part of being a baby. Especially for the first couple of weeks, a baby’s stomach is super sensitive. Parents should expect a little vomit here and there.

A baby’s body is not fully developed yet, and that includes their digestive tract. This makes it more difficult for a young baby to hold their food down, as compared to adults or even older children. Their bodies just aren’t strong enough to really handle day to day activities so easily.

There is a small valve (called the lower esophageal sphincter) that separates the oesophagus and the stomach. In a fully developed person, this valve is strong enough to keep undigested food in the stomach while it is being digested. It makes it so that we don’t end up with food in our oesophagus every time we make a sudden movement or so.

A baby (especially a newborn), does not have such a strong valve yet. This means that although it does help keep their food down, it doesn’t do a great job at it quite yet. It takes some time for it to work properly.

This also means that it doesn’t take very much for the valve to open. This does get better over time though and as your baby gets older it should become less and less of a problem.

Still, even in the very early stages, vomiting is not always normal, and there is a very fine line between normal and worrisome behaviour that you should look out for. One way to really get a good grasp on this is by learning what can cause a baby to vomit mucus in the first place.

Knowing this can help you explain the behaviour and better understand and manage the behaviour.

What causes a baby to vomit mucus?

Having some digestive problems is very normal for a baby. Because their digestive systems are still developing, a baby’s stomach is super sensitive. There are many different reasons a baby may be vomiting mucus that isn’t a reason to worry at all.

Mucus can run down the back of a baby’s throat, much like ours. It is expected for there to be a bit of mucus in a baby’s stomach. When a baby is poorly, there will be an increase in mucus produced. It may be difficult for the baby to swallow it down, resulting in them gagging or coughing and throwing up mucus.

If your baby does swallow the mucus, this can result in nausea or irritation in the stomach, which can once again lead to your baby vomiting mucus.

However, sometimes, the problem has nothing to do with mucus at all, or rather that the baby is being triggered to throw up while they happen to have an observable amount of mucus in their stomach.

These are very common situations that can be easily observed and solved without much problem. 

Overfeeding

As we said earlier, that little valve is just not strong enough to stay shut yet, a baby may have a lot of problems trying to keep their food in. Now, when a baby is being overfed, this is also a problem. Instead of just stretching out, when a baby’s belly is full, it just starts overflowing. The valve, unable to keep the food in, simply doesn’t work, so the baby regurgitates.

How to help: This can be avoided by carefully monitoring how much food is recommended for your baby’s size and age. Babies are weird sometimes and may continue to drink even though they are full. Don’t feel bad, this happens to a lot of parents, just try to resist the urge to feed the baby afterwards because it will just cause them to throw up again.

Swallowing air

When a baby swallows too much air, this can encourage reflux. This can happen from sucking on a pacifier too long or even if they are sucking on a defective bottle.

How to help: Try to see if limiting their pacifier time can help curb this behaviour. It is also always a good idea to check baby bottles to make sure that they can suck efficiently on the nipple and that it doesn’t get clogged. This is also why you should make sure to burp your baby after every feeding to get rid of that excess air in their system. 

baby throwing up clear mucus help with burping

Fast Feeding

If the baby is eating too quickly, this is a normal body response. This can be a little harder to work with as the phenomena happens with breastfeeding as well if you let milk out too quickly.

How to help: Try to encourage your baby to slow down if you notice them drinking too fast. 

Allergic reaction

If the baby’s vomiting seems like it is in response to a change in environment or food, this could be a sign of an allergic reaction. It is also a good idea to consult with a medical professional to figure out the cause of the allergic reaction to determine any allergies early on and avoid future complications. 

How to help: It is always a good idea to keep track of everything that your baby ingests, and note any reactions.

Illness

As discussed above, there are also times when this mucus in the vomit is due to an excess of mucus production. This can be the side effect of an underlying problem. 

If a baby is getting sick and their body is producing too much mucus, a lot of it may end up going down into their stomach. This is often accompanied by other obvious symptoms such as coughing and phlegm, as well as fever or change in behaviour (sleeping, appetite, mood,…).

How to help: Whenever you think your baby may be sick, it is a good idea to immediately contact their doctor to discuss what kind of treatment options are available. 

baby throwing up mucus and unwell

When should I contact the doctor? 

For the most part, when a baby vomits mucus it is perfectly normal and a healthy part of growing up. While it is often not a big deal, there are still some cases where consulting a medical professional may be in your best interest.

There are a few things that you can easily look out for to determine whether or not you should seek additional advice:

  • If the baby throws up mucus several times a day (and not just after milk time)
  • The baby is vomiting with a lot of force 
  • If the mucus is accompanied by abnormal-coloured fluid (red, orange, green,…)
  • The baby is coughing excessively or appears to have breathing issues
  • The vomit is accompanied by other symptoms such as a rash, high fever, or behavioural changes 

What to do in the meantime

When your baby is sick, it can sometimes feel like you are helpless in the situation, but there are some things you can do to make everyone a little more comfortable.

  • Keep your baby hydrated
  • Avoid giving your child any medication unless the doctor approved it 
  • Try to let your child rest as long as possible
  • If they attend daycare, keep them home for at least 48 hours
  • Try not to stress out! These things are just a normal part of parenting. 
mucus vomit baby and clearing mucus from nose

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Why is my baby throwing up mucus milk?

It is normal for a baby to throw up mucus after drinking milk if they have a cold. This is because their body produces extra mucus to help clean the airways and this can sometimes be swallowed down into the stomach. When milk is added to this collection of mucus in the stomach, it can sometimes cause a baby to vomit.

How do you clear mucus from a baby’s nose?

The best way to clear mucus from a baby’s nose is to use saline drops or a bulb syringe. This can help break up the mucus and allow them to cough out of their system. Additionally, if you think your baby may have an infection, it is important to consult with a doctor for the appropriate treatment.

Wrapping up

A baby vomiting mucus is a normal part of growing up, and usually not cause for alarm. However, it’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate when you should contact your baby’s doctor. 

By understanding what might be causing their vomiting and taking steps to avoid it, you can help make sure your little one stays happy and healthy. With proper care and attention, your baby will soon outgrow this phase with no further issues!

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