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 behavior 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 behavior you should always monitor with your baby -there is a lot you can learn from it. The amount, consistency, and colour are all valuable indicators of your child’s health.
This is no way means that you should freak out every time your baby spits up, but there are some key things that you can learn to look out for. One situation parents may find alarming is when their baby starts vomiting mucus.
Is my child vomiting mucus?
The first thing you are going to want to do is make sure you know how to identify the different kinds of vomit you may expect with a baby. One of the best ways to do this is to look at this colour.
- Light brown- white: Regurgitated food or milk. If less forceful, could be spit-up.
- Red or light pink: Sign of blood. Though 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 advise.
- Green or yellow: Could be stomach bile.
- Clear or abnormally thick and stick consistancy: This is an indication your child is throwing up mucus.
It can be helpful to keep in mind that the colour of your babies 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 this normal?
The good thing is you shouldn’t panic right away, throwing up 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 easy.
There is a small valve that separates the esophagus 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 esophagus 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 such a good 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 ages it should become less and less of a problem. Still, even in the very early stages, vomiting is not always normal.
There is also, however, a very fine line between normal and worrisome behavior that you should really look out for. One way to really try to get a good grasp on this is by learning about what can cause a baby to vomit mucus in the first place.
Knowing this can help you explain the behavior and better understand and manage the behavior. This can help you determine whether or their behavior is normal as well or help you better understand advice given from your doctor.
What causes a child 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 that aren’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. Sometimes, the problem has nothing to do with mucus at all, or rather that it 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 value, unable to keep the food in, simply doesn’t. When this happens, the baby regurgitates. 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 through 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 defect bottle. Try to see if limiting their pacifier time can help curb this behavior. It is also always a good idea to check baby bottles to make sure that they are able to 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.
- 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. 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 the sign of an allergic reaction. It is always a good idea to keep track of everything that your baby ingests. It is also a good idea to consult with a medical professional to figure out the cause of the allergic reaction into order to determine their allergies early on and avoid future complications.
- Illness: 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 accompanies with other obvious symptoms such excessive coughing and phlegm as well as fever or change in behavior (sleeping, appetite, mood,…). 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.
When should I contact the doctor?
For the most part, when a baby vomits mucus it is a perfectly normal and 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 with other symptoms such as a rash, high fever, or behavioral 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.