One of the things i was seriously unprepared for when i gave birth to my baby, was vomiting, and not my vomiting, but his vomiting. Not all babies go through this, but my baby did. He was quite a sicky baby, he vomited after very single feed, and the amount was always unpredictable, but it was never a small amount. My husband and i really struggled trying to figure out what we were doing wrong, but we worked out a few little tricks that helped our baby to keep more of his food down.
Why was my son vomiting? Honestly i couldn't really tell you. The doctors said he had a lot of wind, some said it was his colic, either way we were really feeling very deflated. Our son was starving all the time and we couldn't work out why he wouldn't keep his bottles down. Right from when he was born, whether it was breast milk, or formula he vomited almost all of it up afterwards. And we were really quite lost on how to help him. I'd visited the doctor a few times to try and find help and was told it's normal just keep burping him. So i did what most mum's do and i googled other experiences. Did i find the answer to why? No, but i did find the tricks to help me get his food down, and for me that was all i cared about. As long as there wasn't something medically wrong with my son, i was okay. And thankfully there was nothing medically wrong with him he just had one of those issues that some babies get.
What's a lot of vomiting?
I found that my son was vomiting almost whole bottles after each feed and was still quite hungry afterwards. This is what told me that his vomiting was not normal. The doctors told me that little vomits after a bottle were relatively normal, anywhere between 5-15mls was considered normal. As newborns, they have some leftover amniotic fluid still in their lungs from the womb so sometimes they have a bit of a spew until its all cleared. But my son continued vomiting up until he was about 8 months. We managed to lessen the amount of spews and how much he was vomiting but it didn't get rid of it entirely. As he got older and with our tricks, his vomiting dramatically decreased. He was still gaining weight at a good pace so it wasn't too much of a problem for the doctors.
The Mental Impact
Having a baby that vomits a lot is pretty upsetting, especially when you feel like you can't help. Not only is it hard on your baby, they are irritable, hungry, fussy, and very upset, it's also hard on you. Trying to calm a hungry baby who can't keep their food down is incredibly draining and upsetting. You just want to help, and its so hard to find a solution. That's why it is important to make sure you're getting as much support as you can, talk to your friends and family, and make sure you are taking some time for yourself. Its never wrong to take a break, and have someone else try and feed the baby if you need a bit of a breather.
I have looked after my niece's and nephew's before and i was taught how to feed a baby with a bottle and how to burp them. The traditional way of doing it didn't work for my son, he vomited most of his bottle and i hated that. I just wanted him to be happy and healthy with a nice full tummy. So we tried a range of different techniques with feeding that seem to help him hold his food down.
Upright feeding: We found that if we held him up right whilst drinking a bottle it helped tremendously. We would hold him in a sitting position on our knee, with one hand behind his head supporting his neck and tilting him on a gentle angle, with the other hand we would feed him with the bottle on a gentle angle making sure the milk was filling the teat and no air could get in.
Anti Colic bottles: Another helpful item i found when my son was a newborn, was anti colic bottles, especially Tommee Tippee brand. They have a a small pocket in the teat to allow air bubbles to escape which help to keep air bubbles from getting into baby's tummy. We found the Tommee Tippee anti colic bottles the best for my son's colic and his vomiting. We also found they caused less air pockets.
Burping every 10mls: I know it may sound a bit silly, but burping our son every 10mls, was one of the best ways to help him get that wind out. It was time consuming and made feeds a bit longer, but it was the best thing for him. As he got older and his tummy adjusted to formula etc. we didn't have to burp every 10mls, we ended up burping every 20, and then every 30 and so on until he didn't need burping any longer as his body had learnt how to burp itself.
Thickening: This was a pretty monumental tip! Thickening his feeds even slightly helped to keep his food down all the much better. Plus he loved having his milk thickened, which helped all the much more. My son was a bit of a guts, but we found thickening his milk helped to keep him full even if he vomited a bit of it back up. You don't need to thicken milk too much, just a bit as they start out, and then as they get older you can decide how much to thicken their milk with depending on their needs.
I know it sounds like a lot of work but in the end it's that much more worth it. You can choose to change tips to suit your baby, or you can follow them its entirely up to you. You know your baby better than anyone, and sometimes when you have no idea what else to do, trying these little things can make a small difference or a big difference. The best part of trying different little tricks is finding something that suits you that you can continue to use. Always remember that you are doing a good job, and it's not your fault if your baby is vomiting a little more than usual. You can try these tricks or look at other tricks to use, and if they don't help, you can always visit your GP who can get to the bottom of the issue.