Vomiting (Children)

Medically Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on September 14, 2019

Call 911 if:

  • The child is vomiting and may have swallowed something poisonous.

When a child spits up or vomits it can be messy and worrying. But it's usually not a cause for alarm.

Call Doctor If Your Child:

  • Is vomiting frequently
  • Spits up or vomits strongly
  • Spits up more than one or two tablespoons of milk
  • Spits up brown, red, or green liquid
  • Does not gain weight
  • Wets fewer diapers than usual
  • Is sluggish or very tired or prefers not to move
  • Has a fever higher than 102 Fahrenheit
  • Has blood in vomit or stools
  • Has been vomiting and cries without tears
  • Has diarrhea more than once a day

When Baby Spits Up

1. For Baby Spitting Up

  • Spitting up is common until babies start eating solid foods. It's not the same as vomiting.
  • Spitting up usually happens when babies burp and happens without any effort on their part.

2. Prevent Spitting Up

  • Feed the baby in an upright position, and keep them upright for at least 20 minutes after being fed.
  • Feed smaller amounts more often, and burp the baby every 5 to 10 minutes if they are being breastfed or after every 1 to 2 ounces with the bottle.
  • Avoid putting pressure on the baby's stomach when burping the baby over your shoulder.
  • Avoid moving the baby a lot during and right after feeding.
  • If the spitting up seems excessive or if your baby seems unhappy with spit up, discuss the situation with your doctor.


Treating Your Child for Vomiting

Vomiting is forceful and more painful than spitting up. Vomiting can cause a child to lose fluids, so it's important to watch fr dehydration.

1. Treat Symptoms of Vomiting

  • Give fluids in small amounts. If the child vomits afterward, wait 20 to 30 minutes and give the fluids again. If a child has vomited two or more times, call your doctor.
  • If your infant is breastfeeding, nurse your baby more often and for shorter amounts of time.
  • Your doctor may want you to give your baby small amounts of oral electrolyte solution. Check the amount with your doctor.
  • Give toddlers about one tablespoon of oral electrolyte solution, ice chips, diluted juice, or clear broth every 15 minutes. If your child continues to vomit, call your doctor.

2. Watch for Signs of Dehydration

  • Call your doctor if you see any of these signs: dry mouth, crying without tears, dry diapers, urine that is very dark, sunken soft spot on the top of the head.

3. After 3 to 4 Hours Without Vomiting

  • Give your child larger amounts of fluid.

4. After 8 Hours Without Vomiting:

  • Breastfeed babies as usual and slowly start giving formula.
  • Feed toddlers small portions of mild foods from their regular diet; avoid spicy foods, fried foods, and foods that are high in fat or greasy.

5. After 24 Hours Without Vomiting

  • Serve your child's normal diet.
WebMD Medical Reference



American Academy of Family Physicians: "Spitting Up in Babies."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Vomiting and Diarrhea in Children."

The Nemours Foundation: "Vomiting."

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