Baby Spit-Up: 10 Helpful Tips for Dealing with the Mess

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Spit Happens! No pun intended. These 10 helpful tips for dealing with baby spit-up have helped us to comfort our babies and clean up the spit-up mess!

When you are dealing with a newborn, you are almost always dealing with some level of spitting up. We, unfortunately, are dealing with the projectile one this time around.

Make sure to understand what is normal when it comes to reflux in infants by talking with your doctor.

A picture of a baby crying with "baby spit-up 10 tips for handling the mess" in blue text.

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Our Spit-Up Experience

We’ve been dealing with spit up for some time now (like 13 years yikes!!) After 5 kids, you’d think we had everything under control. We don’t! That’s the joy of parenting. You think you know one thing and your baby has other plans.

Liam was born 6 weeks early, which means that his little body has a lot of catching up to do both inside and out. Since we came home from the NICU when Liam was a little over 2 weeks old, we’ve been dealing with a lot of spit-up as he adjusts to eating on his own. Liam consistently spits-up about an hour after eating.

While I love a great projectile spit-up (no, not really!) seriously this kid is amazing with how far he can get that stuff, I’d really like to cut down on the hundred or so times a day that spit happens in this house!

No advice is ever going to be better than the advice of your pediatrician, so please make sure to talk with your pediatrician about your baby’s spit-up especially if it is excessive. All babies are different and our pediatrician makes suggestions based on their individual needs and health.

A picture of a newborn baby spitting up with text that reads "Baby Spit-Up 10 Tips to Handle the Mess".

10 Tips to Deal with Baby Spit-Up

Burp every 2oz when bottle feeding or 2-3 minutes at breast

This was recommended by our pediatrician. She suggested not letting him go too long at breast before burping.

My boy chugs. Great. I literally burp him 4-5 times during nursing. This makes for a fun night, but he’s spitting up less at night.

I’m also not panicking about choking, so I’ll deal with the minimal sleep for now. It might just be that Liam eats funny, but he seems to get less air at breast when I nurse while I lie on the bed.

A baby snuggling against a mom's chest.

Hold baby in upright position for 15 minutes post feeding

This is hard to do with a newborn. It’s a 50/50 chance that Liam spits it all right back up on my shoulder when I do this, but I’ve got to do something to get the boy to burp.

Once I get him to burp, I then try to cradle hold him with his head lifted high using a pillow under my arm to keep it propped while I binge watch TV (of course!)

A picture of a mom burping a baby on her shoulder with a Christmas tree in the background.

Buy or make a ton of burp cloths, baby bibs, or bandanas!

I’ve made a ton of burp cloths and bandanas over the years. My favorite store bought option are the Gerber Cloth Diapers because they are thick and catch everything. Unless you want to be covered in baby spit-up, you should invest in a couple good burp cloths.

Keep baby upright as much as possible when awake!

Use an infant bouncer seat or wear your baby to keep them upright as much as possible during the day. We have a 4Moms mamaRoo, a Fisher Price bouncer chair, and an Ergobaby carrier that we rely on.

I’ll be honest though, I pretty much just hold him in my arms these days. My maternity leave is ticking away and I’m trying to soak up as much baby love as I can before I go back to long days away from my kiddos! Liam is so little, so this time is super bittersweet for me and I want to remember as much as I can.

The AAP does not recommend using infant bouncer seats or other rockers to incline babies at night time or while sleeping. These types of baby equipment are only recommended for use during the day while parents are nearby and baby is awake. If baby falls asleep in their rocker, it is recommended that they are transferred to a firm, flat safe sleep surface where they can sleep on their back.

A picture of a baby boy sitting in a Mamaroo.
Liam loves the Mamaroo from 4Moms!

Don’t limit tummy time because of spit up.

Tummy time is crucial for the development of those tiny ab muscles, which will help your baby hold his/her head better. Use receiving blankets to layer underneath and then remove a layer as spit-up happens! It’s necessary for them to get the tummy time (if recommended by your doctor of course!) for their physical development.

One trick to minimize the spit up mess is to layer some receiving blankets down under your bambino and then remove a layer each time spit up happens.

Liam spends only 5 minutes twice a day (some days – we can’t all be perfect) doing some tummy time at 1 month old. He really only spits up 1-2 times during it. He spits up more when he is on his back than on his stomach.

We also have several physical therapy exercises that he has to work through other parts of the day because of his brachial plexus injury and the receiving blanket trick works great for those baby exercises too!

A baby that has spit up playing on a receiving blanket underneath for tummy time.

Use wipes to wipe down baby hair when spit-up happens so their hair doesn’t get crusty (and smelly!)

Wipe down that child’s hair whenever it gets spit up in it. You’ll thank me. That stomach fluid/regurgitated breast milk aroma is not the sweet smell of baby.

Grab some wipes and wipe the spit up out of their hair before it dries and gets crusty. Nothing will get rid of the smell other than a bath and shampoo at this point!

We love Seventh Generation brand wipes because they are thick and they come out of the container easily, so you don’t waste a ton of wipes when you are pulling them out.

Don’t elevate at night time

The AAP does not recommend elevating infants with reflux. Do not rely on infant reclining chairs or other baby devices like wedges to position your baby at night. Babies should sleep on their backs on a firm, flat safe sleep surface.

A picture of a baby sleeping on their back.

Avoid certain foods if breastfeeding

I’m adjusting to this. I want to eat what I want to eat, so it’s a struggle especially when I just grab and go most of the time. Anyhoo, I try to limit the foods that I notice cause Liam to have more reflux like hot dogs, orange juice, and nachos.

Get comfortable being smelly – you are the one who wears the baby spit-up most of the time.

Keep an extra shirt in your baby bag for yourself or just layer burp cloths all over your body if you are out and about.

I spend most of my time in pjs with a lingering smell of spit-up because I only have so many clean at this time and I am ALWAYS in the line of fire! When If I shower, I am almost always spit on within 10 minutes of holding that baby.

For baby stink, we like to use Baby Dove to clean up and keep our little buddy’s skin nice and clean!

Sometimes, it’s worth it to wear a baby nursing cover to burp your baby! It’s prevented some spit-up down the back mess many times now! I may hate breastfeeding, but another benefit of breastfeeding is that it doesn’t smell as bad coming back up either!

Find a great stain remover like Blue Magic

Blue magic is true magic for all things baby stains! It works wonders on poop and baby spit-up stains.

How to make Blue Magic

  • 1 tbsp of Dawn (must be Dawn)
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp hydrogen peroxide

Mix all together in a bowl and then use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain. Leave solution on clothes overnight if needed and then just toss it in the wash. Make sure you check that the stain came out before throwing the clothes in the dryer!

A picture of a newborn baby crying with "baby spit-up 10 tips for handling the mess" in dark blue text over a white rectangle.

This article originally appeared at Our Family Code on March 15, 2018.

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Meet Toni, the Mama behind Get Moving Mama!

toni get moving mama author

I’m a Mama on a mission to get fit both mentally and physically! My hope is to help other Moms find joy in the messiness of motherhood and to build a village of moms who encourage and motivate each other to Get Moving!

When I’m not chasing toddlers or making babies, you can find me blogging here at Get Moving Mama and over at Our Family Code!



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weight loss transformation get moving mama

Hey there! I’m Toni! This is my circus and these are my monkeys. I’m powered by coffee and sour candy (and probably a little wine).

When I’m not chasing toddlers or making babies, you can find me blogging here at Get Moving Mama and over at Our Family Code!

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