When to worry for Vomiting in Newborns

When to worry for Vomiting in Newborns

It’s common for normal babies to vomit milk often in the early weeks as they adjust to feeding and as their bodies develop. These babies are playful, active and spit out milk without any force. This is called regurgitation which is harmless and subsides in a few months.

Consider vomiting due to illness if baby shows any of the following features:-

  • Signs of dehydration, including a dry mouth, lack of tears, sunken fontanelle, floppiness, and fewer wet nappies than usual (fewer than six nappies a day).
  • Refusal to breastfeed or drink his formula milk.
  • Vomiting for more than 12 hours, or vomiting with great force.
  • A non-blanching rash, which is a rash that doesn’t fade when the skin is pressed.
  • Sleepiness or severe irritability.
  • A bulging fontanelle.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • A swollen abdomen.
  • Blood or bile (a green substance) in the vomit .
  • Persistent forceful vomiting in a newborn within half an hour of eating .

In such a situation, Contact your doctor immediately.

Know what is normal:

An infant’s stool pattern is variable. A watery stool might not always mean  diarrhoea, a newborn baby who is exclusively breastfed might pass stools as frequently as 15 times a day or once in 3 or 4 days. And both these situations are normal. If your baby is feeding well, looking healthy, is playful and gains weight consistently, then watery loose motions shouldn’t pose a problem for your baby.

Diarrhoea is body’s own way of eliminating certain offending agents from the system. Your baby’s system is still developing and reacts in a different way from that of an adult. So loose watery stool might not always be what you suppose it to be.

When should you worry:

So now that you know loose motions are not always a sign of danger, don’t just rule out all possibilities of any kind of infection or illness. Watery stools can indicate problems if your baby:

  • Has fever along with frequent motions. If your baby is less than a year old this should worry you as it can indicate a serious health threat.
  • Throws up after every feed. Loose motions along with vomiting can indicate an infection in the stomach.
  • Shows signs of dehydration like, excessive thirst, dry tongue, sunken eyes and cries without shedding a tear.
  • Passes urine less frequently and the colour also appear dark.
  • There is blood in the stool. This along with vomiting and loose motions can indicate a bacterial infection in the stomach which needs immediate attention.

What you can do:

If your baby’s passes recurrent stools and shows any of the above mentioned symptoms, it’s advisable that you meet your paediatrician immediately.

Dr. Saran
Paediatric & Neonatology
Motherhood Chaitanya Hospital Chandigarh

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