Baby Vomiting after Feeding Formula

Is your baby vomiting after formula feeding? While having a baby around means getting used to all the slimy and mushy stuff coming out of their mouths from time to time, having a habit of vomiting formula milk needs some investigation. Keep in mind the fact that it is quite normal for babies to spit up milk as the new digestive system is still under-construction. This can also happen if your baby is totally on breast milk. However, if your newborn keeps on throwing up formula, here's what you need to know. 

Why is my baby vomiting after feeding formula?

First you need to know the difference between spit-up and vomit. While it is quite okay for your baby to spit up some curdy milk while he/she tries to smile or burp, vomiting the entire bottle of formula on your couch or sweater on a regular basis is not.

Vomiting requires more effort from your baby. It's like the digestive system is saying "no thank you" to the milk. And as your baby's tiny stomach squeezes to signal it is not ready to take any milk - at least not at that time - the force generated from those stomach muscles is enough to undo what you were doing for the past 20 minutes.

The vomit looks and smells different than the plain formula milk. It is because the milk (formula or breast) is mixed with the stomach juices and the whole solution is dumped out. Your baby may also make uncomfortable faces or show uneasy body gestures before, during, or after the vomit. 


If you are not to sure whether the milk your baby threw up is vomit or spit-up, here are some vomiting symptoms that can help you identify:

  • Crying
  • Arching the back
  • Gagging
  • Turning red

However, there are instances when the two conditions (spit and vomit) overlap. Sometimes your baby spits up with full force (it could just be the burp that forced the spit to come out with force), or your baby may vomit without showing much pressure.

Reasons & Solution:

Following could be the reasons and solution if your baby is vomiting after feeding on formula milk:

  • Overfeeding:
    This includes giving your baby more quantity of formula milk than he/she should be getting. This also includes formula feeding your baby more frequently than the little one needs.
  • Not Burping:
    Or not burping properly. When babies drink milk, they swallow some air as well. The stomach is okay with the milk, but what will it do with all that air? Yes, it throws it out (sadly, along with the milk). Think of it like a toddler throwing away the plate along with the food because he/she didn't didn't like/want that food.
    To prevent this, use a bottle big enough to have the desired quantity of milk. A bigger bottle will have more air accumulated in it. Also, make sure the holes on the nipple are not too many or too big. There is one more things parents do without realizing.
    Sometimes when the baby finishes up the bottle, the parents let the baby suck the empty bottle - just like the pacifier. What these parents don't know is the bottle may seem empty but it has lots of air that the baby is taking in.
  • Newborn Acid Reflux:
    Some babies have acid reflux, GERD, or indigestion issues. As a result, the milk travel backs to the mouth causing irritation in the throat and mouth region. A lot of grown ups have this problem as well. Don't worry though, it is just the tiny stomach and food tubes trying to figure out the whole system, and a majority of babies outgrow this once they reach their one year old milestone. You can know more about Newborn Acid Reflux here.
  • Constipation:
    A lot of parents don't think about constipation when their baby throws up. A healthy formula fed baby should at least poop once a day. If your baby is keeping the poop inside like a prized possession, observe their routine. It could well be constipation. Think of it this way - the milk or solid intake (if your baby has started on solids) is still inside. That stuff needs to go out to make room for the new milk or other intake. 
    Here are some symptoms of your baby vomiting after feeding formula caused by constipation:
    - Baby is pooping after 2-3 days;
    - The poop is dark and in the form of small balls or pebbles;
    - The stomach seems bloated;
    - Your baby passes a lot of gas;
    - The baby makes struggling faces when trying to poop;
    - The poop often comes out in little quantity or dry;
    - Your baby seems irritated for no reason.
  • Stomach Bug:
    If the vomiting is a new thing and your baby didn't use to throw up milk after feeding sessions, your baby could have a stomach bug. In such cases, your baby will throw up anything that enters the tiny stomach - milk, water, juice, or soft solids. Here are the most common symptoms of having a stomach flu:
    - Bouts of crying
    - Diarrhea or watery stool
    - Cramps
    - Your baby may or may not have fever. Some babies do, others don't.
  • Intolerance towards Milk:
    If your baby is Lactose Intolerant and the formula has cow's milk as an ingredient, he/she may vomit it all out. Studies show that lactose intolerance is generally very rare in newborn babies as well as those under 1 year of age. In case of lactose intolerance you may notice some other symptoms including loose stools. Some babies develop a short-term lactose intolerance after a digestive infection such as a stomach bug. Although this is rare, it is also temporary.
    The symptoms of your baby being intolerant towards the formula milk are:
    - Stomach pain and bloating;
    - Gas
    - Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Milk Allergy:
    Milk allergy is different from milk intolerance. Although newborn babies are rarely allergic to cow's milk (which is found in most of the formula feeds), studies show that up to 7% of babies under the age of 1 can have it. Your baby may be allergic to some other ingredient (not necessarily cow's milk) present in the formula. Here are some of the main symptoms of milk allergy:
    - Rashes, hives, and/or eczema;
    - Wheezing or coughing;
    - Finding difficulty in breathing;
    - Diarrhea

    You can talk to your doctor about switching to a different brand of formula milk.

Other reasons why your baby is vomiting formula milk:

Some other causes of your baby vomiting after formula feeding include:

Read here for more information on baby vomiting.

See also:

Go to Homepage.
Go to our Feeding Guide for Baby Formula.

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