Spilly/Vomiting Baby – Ideas from Parents

Have you tried…

Winding/burping regularly (preferably high on the shoulder with a nice straight body to allow the wind to escape more easily).

Avoiding pressure on tummy except for during “tummy time”.  (Tummy time is important and new-borns should have this at least once a day: http://www.plunket.org.nz/your-child/newborn-to-6-weeks/play-and-learning/)

Using loose clothing or removing waist elastic from clothing (e.g. over naps, crawlers) for less pressure on baby’s stomach? Braces, stretch’n’grows etc. can be used to keep clothing up.

Small, frequent feeds? Some breastfeeding mums find it beneficial to feed one side only each feed.  Please seek support regarding this from peer support goups, health professionals, La Leche  League or a Lactation Consultant.

Avoiding ‘bouncing’?

Contacting your health professional to discuss thickening breastfeeds (if breastfed) or to discuss changing formula to a thickened formula or adding a thickener?  (‘AR’ stands for ‘anti-reflux’).

Breastfeeding mums may like to try a ‘dairy free’ diet, bottle-feeding mums may like to try an alternative to standard cow’s milk  based formula. (Please discuss which formula to choose with your Health Professional (doctor, Well Child Provider or dietician) or phone Nutricia on 0800 258 268 to speak to a Dietician.)  See https://www.cryingoverspiltmilk.co.nz/food/foodandreflux/

Dressing baby behind a bib?

Pacifier/dummy? (Consider latch and milk supply issues if breastfeeding especially in first four to six weeks. https://www.kidshealth.org.nz/what-can-you-do-when-your-baby-cries ) Sucking gives comfort but feeding continuously may exacerbate or encourage more GOR episodes.

Using disposable nappies (may reduce pressure on stomach, but also means less washing for you!)?


Keeping an ice cream/margarine container handy to catch vomit? Some parents manage to do this quite well!

A cloth/sheet over the feeding chair?

Scotch guarding furniture? (Beware – some medications can stain if vomited up by the baby).

Baking soda for removing vomit stains from carpet, clothing etc? If the patch is still damp, simply sprinkle on a thick layer of baking soda, wait a couple of hours and vacuum it off. If it is an old stain, dampen the stain first and then proceed as above. The good thing about baking soda is that it is cheap, readily available, and it will also take the smell away!

Using a hard plastic bib with trough to catch the spills?

Feeding on a cleanable floor or perhaps on grass or in the bath for a change?

Sewing a piece of plastic between two old towels to place on your lap while feeding as personal protection? Also, a square of towelling lined with plastic is a good puddle mat to lie baby on at home or while visiting.

Putting a washable mat down in the playpen?

Highchairs with large removable plastic trays are handy to empty and clean if the baby has vomited?

Can you afford a cleaning person or nappy service?

NB:  Raising the head of the bed is no longer recommended and some studies have shown that “head elevation may not always be of clinical value“.  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/10/12/peds.2011-2284.full.pdf and http://www.changeforourchildren.co.nz/files/docs/infant%20positioning%20and%20reflux.pdf https://www.plunket.org.nz/your-child/welcome-to-parenting/sudden-unexpected-death-in-infancy-sudi/ Some health professionals still recommend raising the head of the bed and we would advise that you should only do this after discussion with your own health professional.

© Gastric Reflux Association for the Support of Parents/babies (GRASP) and Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust (GRSNNZ) 2004. Used and edited by GRSNNZ with permission.  Updated January 2020 by Roslyn Ballantyne (RN), National Coordinator 2013 – 2020, Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust.

Page may be printed or reproduced for personal use of families, as long as copyright and Crying Over Spilt Milk‘s URL are included. It may not be copied to other websites or publications without permission and acknowledgement. This information (unedited) was also provided (by GRASP) to health professionals in New Zealand to use “to continue to support and inform families with babies/children with Gastro-oesophageal Reflux.”

Last Updated on August 21, 2020 by Crying Over Spilt Milk