Why Do Newborn Babies Spit Up and Suck Milk?


Newborn babies bring immense joy and happiness to their families. However, they also come with a set of challenges, one of which is spitting up and sucking milk. Many new parents often wonder why their precious little ones spit up after feeding. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind this common occurrence and shed light on why newborn babies spit up and suck milk.

Understanding the Digestive System of Newborns:

To comprehend why newborn babies spit up, it is crucial to understand their developing digestive system. At birth, a baby’s digestive system is still immature and is gradually learning to function properly. The esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach, is shorter and narrower in infants, making it easier for milk to flow back up. Additionally, the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that prevents stomach contents from entering the esophagus, is not fully developed in newborns, further contributing to the tendency to spit up.

Overfeeding and Overeating:

One of the primary reasons why newborn babies spit up is overfeeding or overeating. Babies have small stomachs that can only hold a limited amount of milk. When they are fed too much or too quickly, their stomachs become full, causing the excess milk to be regurgitated. This is particularly common in bottle-fed babies, as the flow of milk from a bottle can be faster and harder to control compared to breastfeeding. To minimize spitting up due to overfeeding, it is important for parents to follow their baby’s cues and feed them in smaller, more frequent intervals.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER):

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is another common cause of spitting up in newborns. GER occurs when the contents of the stomach, including stomach acid, flow back into the esophagus. This can be uncomfortable for the baby and often leads to spitting up. While GER is normal in infants and usually resolves on its own as their digestive system matures, it can cause distress for both the baby and the parents. If GER symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult a pediatrician for further evaluation and guidance.

Immature Digestive System:

As mentioned earlier, a newborn’s digestive system is still developing, which contributes to their tendency to spit up. The muscles that control the movement of food through the digestive tract are not fully developed, making it easier for milk to flow back up. Additionally, the production of digestive enzymes and stomach acid is not yet optimal, further hindering the breakdown and digestion of milk. As a result, spit-up is a natural and common occurrence in infants, especially during the first few months of life.

Tips for Minimizing Spit-Up:

While spitting up is generally harmless and resolves on its own, it can be concerning for parents. Here are some tips to help minimize spit-up in newborn babies:

1. Feed in an upright position: Keeping the baby in an upright position during and after feeding can help prevent milk from flowing back up.

2. Burp frequently: Burping the baby during and after feeding can release any trapped air and reduce the likelihood of spitting up.

3. Pace feeding: If bottle-feeding, try using a slow-flow nipple and pace the feeding to match the baby’s natural sucking rhythm. This can help prevent overfeeding and reduce spit-up.

4. Avoid tight clothing: Dressing the baby in loose-fitting clothing can help reduce pressure on the stomach and minimize spitting up.

5. Keep the baby upright after feeding: Holding the baby upright for at least 20-30 minutes after feeding can aid digestion and prevent spit-up.


Spitting up and sucking milk is a normal part of a newborn’s development. Understanding the reasons behind this phenomenon can help alleviate concerns for parents. By recognizing the immaturity of their digestive system, avoiding overfeeding, and implementing simple strategies to minimize spit-up, parents can ensure their baby’s comfort and well-being. Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s spitting up, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

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