Infant vomiting: What should I do?

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When infant vomiting occurs, it is always an issue of concern for most parents. It is important to note that young children are fragile and new parents do not often know what is normal and what should be a cause for concern especially for vomiting. It can be a distressing sight and often an indication of an illness.

Choking prevention

A vital task for parents when an infant is vomiting is to prevent choking. Since young babies do not have head or body control to move themselves, parents must position the child right away on his/her side when vomiting.

Vomiting among infants has a variety of causes with stomach virus or gastroenteritis as the most common.

The child should be closely monitored until the ailment responsible for the vomiting has settled.

What are the possible causes?

Vomiting among infants has a variety of causes with stomach virus or gastroenteritis as the most common.

Almost all infants face this condition at least once during the first year of life and it is not unusual for a child to acquire it more than once.

An uncommon but serious cause is pyloric stenosis. This condition develops once the muscles at the bottom of the stomach of the child is too thick which prevents milk from moving from the stomach to the intestines.

Difference between vomit or spitting up

Some might have difficulty in differentiating between vomiting and spit-up. The ideal way to distinguish between the two conditions is by observing the force in which the child is regurgitating.

Since vomiting is triggered by abdominal contractions, milk is forcefully driven up via the esophagus. A spit-up is brought up passively and trickles from the mouth of the child. Take note that spitting up is normal among young infants and not an issue for concern.

Risk for dehydration

The big risk of vomiting among infants is dehydration. This can occur quickly among young infants; thus, it is vital to ensure that the child is hydrated. Unless the doctor has instructed otherwise, do not provide plain water to the child.

An electrolyte replacement liquid should be given instead. Provide the child with no more than half an ounce every 20 minutes. If uncertain if the child is dehydrated, note down the number of soiled diapers. If it is less than 4, the child might be dehydrated.

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