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Chunky spit up: Baby Spitting Up Curdled Milk: Causes and Treatments

Baby Spitting Up Curdled Milk: Causes and Treatments

Don’t you sometimes wish that your newborn came with an instruction manual? It would take the guesswork out of some of those pressing questions of the first few weeks: Are they eating enough? Crying too much? Too hot? Too cold? Why are they spitting up when I feed them?

Let’s focus on that last one for a minute. It’s important to remember that for the first few months, spitting up is very normal for babies. And even if the consistency of what comes out seems a little different than what went in, it’s still generally nothing to worry about.

Here’s why your baby might be spitting up curdled milk — and what you can do about it.

Babies spit up all the time because of their undeveloped digestive system. It happens when milk or food comes back up the baby’s esophagus from the stomach. (The esophagus is the organ connecting the stomach to the mouth).

Spitting up and vomiting are separate actions. Vomiting requires force and can be painful in babies. When it comes to spitting up, however, it’s likely your little one won’t even notice when they’re doing it.

Normal spit-up for breastfed and formula-fed babies will usually look quite similar to the milk or formula that the baby just had — more about the curdling in a minute.

Your baby will be relatively comfortable and content during and after spitting up — they may even look pleased with themselves! If they’re not done eating, they’ll have no problem accepting more food after a spitting session.

Spit-up, just like vomit, can contain stomach acid. Babies’ spit-up becomes curdled when milk from breastfeeding or formula mixes with the acidic stomach fluid.

Time also plays a role here. Immediate spit-up after feeding will probably look like regular milk. If your little one spits up after some time as passed, it’s more likely to look curdled milk.

There are a few possible reasons why your baby may be spitting up curdled milk:

Difficulty with digestion

Your baby may have trouble digesting breast milk for a few reasons. The most common — at least for newborns — is just that their digestive system needs more time to develop.

Some babies may have an allergic reaction to cow’s milk or formula that contains cow’s milk. Rarely, they may have lactose intolerance or a milk protein allergy. But keep in mind that these come with other symptoms, like diarrhea. Talk to your pediatrician if you suspect an allergy or intolerance.

Your pediatrician may recommend a shift in your baby’s diet to reduce spit-up. Options include:

  • soy protein formula
  • extensively hydrolyzed formula (EHF), a type of formula that contains broken-down proteins from cow’s milk that are unlikely to cause allergic reactions
  • amino acid-based formula (AAF), or an alternative formula for babies that have trouble with EHFs

Keep in mind, though, that babies typically grow out of digestive problems with age.

Acid reflux

Babies may have acid reflux, especially if they’re newborns. Acid reflux happens when stomach acid travels up the throat from the stomach. It can be painful.

Before switching formulas (or switching from breastfeeding to formula), try these home remedies:

  • avoid feeding your baby too fast or too much at once
  • feed your baby in an upright position.
  • if you’re breastfeeding, avoid foods like citrus, tomatoes, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, and foods high in fat (these can affect your breast milk and lead to reflux)

Pyloric stenosis

Pyloric stenosis is rare, affecting about 3 out of 1,000 babies in the United States. The pylorus is the lower part of the stomach that food and other substances pass before entering the small intestine.

The muscles in the pylorus may become enlarged in infants, which causes the pyloric channel to narrow and prevents food from leaving the stomach. Most babies that experience pyloric stenosis are 3–5 weeks old and require treatment and surgery.

Some signs of pyloric stenosis include projectile vomiting of milk, weight loss, and constipation. Pyloric stenosis is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment.

There are several reasons that may lead to your baby spitting up stomach acid. Spit-up may appear curdled if your baby hasn’t digested milk from feeding. This isn’t always a health concern, but it’s important to pay attention to any changes in your baby’s spit-up.

Talk to your baby’s doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s spit-up or have questions about healthy feeding alternatives.

Why Is My Baby Spitting Up Curdled Milk?

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

In this Article

  • What Is Baby Spit-Up?
  • Why Do Babies Spit Up?
  • Methods for Reducing Baby Spit-Up
  • When to Be Concerned About Baby Spit-Up

If your baby is spitting up after feeding, you might wonder if this is something you should be concerned about. Spitting up can be even more jarring when the milk has a curdled appearance.  

‌As long as your child is showing no other signs of illness, is alert, and is gaining weight, spit-up is not typically a cause for concern and generally slows down by 12 to 18 months of age.  

Spitting up refers to what happens in the first few months of your baby’s life when they regurgitate some of their stomach contents. Because a baby’s diet consists of primarily breast milk or formula, the spit-up is likely to be a white texture but can vary depending on how long after feeding your baby spits up. 

Spit up that looks like curdled milk is no reason to be alarmed, and there is an explanation. If your child spits up during or immediately after feeding, it is likely to have a smooth, milky texture. If your baby spits up after the milk has had time to mix with your baby’s stomach acid, the spit-up is likely to appear curdled.  

Baby spit-up differs from vomit in that the flow of spit-up is usually slower and stays closer to the baby’s body, while vomiting is more forceful and projectile and can indicate illness. If your child is vomiting, call your child’s health care provider. 

There is a muscle ring between the stomach and the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). In babies, this muscle is not as developed as it is in adults and older children, resulting in frequent spitting up of stomach contents. Some babies spit up more than others, and it is important to remember that babies’ stomachs are very small and can become full quickly. 

Parents often think that their babies are spitting up more than they actually are. A puddle of spit-up or a large spit-up stain can look like a lot of liquid, but it is important to consider how much liquid spreads. Imagine spilling just a tablespoon of water on a table. It would look like a lot more liquid than it actually is. 

If your baby is spitting up frequently, and you would like to try to reduce how much they are spitting up, there are a few things that you can try to see if they help: 

  • You can feed your baby in an upright or semi-upright position. 
  • You can try to feed your baby smaller amounts of milk in each feeding. 
  • If your baby is formula-fed, you may want to try a different formula to see if that helps 
  • If you are breastfeeding, you can try to experiment with your own diet to see if that helps. Some mothers find that eliminating dairy from their diet can reduce spit-up.

Though burping after feeding is frequently recommended to new parents, one study in 2015 found that burping increased the risk of spit-up in infants up to three months old. 

Avoid following advice that directs you to place your baby on their stomach while they sleep to prevent spitting up. It is important to place your baby to sleep on their back, as this reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS. 

Most of the time your baby spitting up is nothing to be concerned about as long as they are happy and gaining weight. However, there are instances where you should call your baby’s health care provider. 

Some babies develop gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD can cause health complications if left untreated. Consult your child’s doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms, as they could indicate GERD or other serious health conditions: 

  • There is blood in your baby’s spit-up.
  • Your baby’s spit-up is green or yellow in color.
  • Your baby’s spit-up resembles coffee grounds.
  • Your baby is refusing to eat.
  • Your baby suddenly begins spitting up after six months of age.
  • There is blood in your baby’s stool.
  • Your baby has stopped gaining weight.
  • You notice a persistent cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Your baby seems lethargic.
  • The number of wet diapers has decreased suddenly.

Top Picks

Saliva Test for Cancer Diagnosis « Euroonco Clinics

A fast and accurate test capable of detecting cancer biomarkers in saliva will soon be tested on patients.

This event marks a milestone in a 10-year study led by Professor David Wong of the School of Dentistry at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Professor Wong and colleagues have been working on a method called “liquid biopsy” that can detect the DNA of tumor cells in body fluids such as saliva and blood .

The use of “liquid biopsy” offers faster, non-invasive detection of cancer and monitoring of tumor progression during treatment.

The diagnostic device works on the principle of electric field-induced release and measurement (abbreviated as EFIRM, literal translation: “electric field-induced release and measurement”), detecting biomarkers of non-small cell lung cancer in saliva .

EFIRM device parses content exosomes – tiny vesicles that the cell periodically secretes into the external environment. The device simultaneously causes exosomes to release their contents and recognizes biomolecules that have come out.

In a study published in 2013, Professor Wong and colleagues described the use of EFIRM to demonstrate that saliva contains exosomes secreted by tumor cells that were previously found in blood.

Professor Wong says EFIRM technology is fast and accurate. The analysis takes only 10 minutes, the result can be obtained directly in the doctor’s office during the appointment .

Saliva testing may be included in the diagnostic program. For example, if a suspicious nodule is found in the lung during an x-ray, the doctor could immediately order an analysis and, with a high degree of probability, detect lung cancer.

The test is based on the detection of mutations in a special protein – epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) . It helps cells grow and divide, but in non-small cell lung cancer tissue, this protein is present in too high amounts. In this case, a special group of chemotherapy drugs is used for treatment – EGFR inhibitors, which block the protein.

Professor Wong and colleagues are also considering using the saliva test to detect mutations associated with oropharyngeal (mouth, throat) cancer. Experts believe that such studies will help to significantly speed up and simplify the diagnosis of cancer.

One of the most important conditions for the successful treatment of oncological diseases and increasing survival is early diagnosis, before the tumor has had time to grow into neighboring organs and metastasize. The European Clinic has special screening programs to detect various forms of cancer. You can have an examination and get a consultation with an oncologist.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

When to run to the gastroenterologist?! – Euromed clinic

– Elena Evgenievna, what complaints do patients most often make?

The most common are abdominal pain and heartburn.

There are many causes of abdominal pain: from functional disorders due to stress to serious diseases.

Often worried about pain in the right hypochondrium due to dysfunction of the biliary tract, a feeling of discomfort in the epigastric region due to gastritis. In spring and autumn, peptic ulcer often worsens.

The situation can worsen against the background of stress and errors in nutrition. Moreover, as a rule, these two factors are interrelated: for many, stress is a trigger for eating disorders: someone has an increase in appetite or, conversely, disappears, and a person eats irregularly or overeats, reduces control over the quality of food, etc. All this inevitably leads to problems with the gastrointestinal tract.

Heartburn is not a separate disease, but a symptom: a burning sensation behind the sternum. In fact, this is a chemical burn by the acidic contents of the stomach when it is thrown into the esophagus, where the environment is often alkaline. This leads to damage to the esophageal mucosa by hydrochloric acid and the protein-cleaving enzyme pepsin. Sometimes with reflux disease, there is no heartburn, but there is a sensation of a lump in the throat, difficulty in swallowing, chest pain, which are confused with angina pectoris. All this significantly reduces the quality of life of the patient. This disease can and should be treated. Frequent reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus, especially with an admixture of bile from the duodenum, can even lead to oncological diseases of the esophagus.

Treatment is usually long-term, since the situation has developed over the years, and it will not be possible to change it instantly. In addition to medication, a change in lifestyle and eating habits is required. With the help of drugs, we can reduce the amount of acid products produced, which will lead to the fact that less of it will be thrown into the esophagus, respectively, heartburn is less manifested. There are also a number of drugs that absorb acid and remove it. These are fast acting tools. They help get rid of heartburn for 30-40 minutes. Usually, it is these drugs that are actively promoted in advertising and they will also be offered by a pharmacist in a pharmacy. The patient must, of course, be guided by the recommendations of the doctor.

Food for reflux disease should be in small portions so that the volume of food eaten does not exceed the volume of the stomach, and for better control of appetite – frequent: 4-5 times a day. Food should be chewed thoroughly for maximum grinding and release of more saliva, which, having an alkaline reaction, neutralizes the acid.

With reflux disease, boiled, baked, stewed vegetables, liquid cereals, pasta, lean meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, cottage cheese, stale bread and crackers, jelly, mousses, jelly, mashed soups, dairy products are recommended.

They increase acid formation in the stomach and therefore are not recommended: smoked meats, fatty, spicy, salty, mushrooms, raw vegetables, sour fruits and juices, carbonated drinks, black bread, muffins, fast food, strong tea and coffee

– Does a nutritional error lead to heartburn, or is its appearance still genetically determined?

– Both.

The peculiarity of the sphincters between the esophagus and the stomach is genetically determined. A fairly common problem is connective tissue dysplasia, that is, its increased elasticity, resulting in flat feet, varicose veins, “unstable vertebrae”, weakness of many sphincters, including the esophagogastric and esophageal openings of the diaphragm. That is, they do not close tightly enough, and food easily enters the stomach from the esophagus.

The number of parietal cells in the stomach is also genetically determined, which determines the quantity and quality of hydrochloric acid produced by them.

Heartburn in pregnancy

Pregnant women often complain of heartburn. This is due to two main points. Firstly, as the baby grows and the uterus grows, intra-abdominal pressure increases, the load on the stomach and intestines increases, which can provoke the reflux of acid and bile into the esophagus. By the way, this often leads to constipation in pregnant women. Secondly, pregnant women have a special hormonal background, aimed at reducing the tone of the uterus and, at the same time, the sphincters of the esophagus also relax, as a result of which acid reflux can occur.

If you have such problems, you don’t have to endure and wait that “it will go away by itself after childbirth” … Immediately contact a gastroenterologist. The doctor will select the treatment: there are drugs approved for use during pregnancy. Also, together with a gastroenterologist, you will discuss how you need to change your diet and lifestyle in order to get rid of this problem.

Ideally, you should contact a gastroenterologist at the stage of pregnancy planning – this way you can avoid many problems with the gastrointestinal tract that occur during this period in a woman’s life.

– One of the most common diagnoses is “gastritis”. What is it connected with and how is it treated?

Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This diagnosis, indeed, is very often made, and often without proper reason. This diagnosis is made morphologically, that is, after the morphologist describes the existing inflammatory changes as a result of a biopsy of the gastric mucosa. Then it’s gastritis. Only on the basis of complaints, a competent doctor can only write “functional dyspepsia syndrome” in the diagnosis.

Complaints with gastritis are quite diverse: it can be pain, a feeling of a full stomach even with a small amount eaten, belching, vomiting, etc. individually.


Probably everyone has heard the opinion: “if you eat dry food, you will get gastritis.” In fact, it is not! Food should just be without additional liquid, it should not be washed down with water, tea, coffee, etc. The liquid dilutes the acidic contents in the stomach and impairs the quality of food digestion. But eating “on the run” is really not worth it – the most important thing for a good digestion process is thorough chewing of food! A large amount of saliva released during chewing is necessary for the assimilation of food.

What provokes gastritis? Stress, systematic violation of the diet, violation of the frequency of nutrition, abuse of semi-finished products, concentrates, spices, sour, spicy, peppery, salty, smoked, fried, too hot, too cold or otherwise thermally, chemically or mechanically irritating food, carbonated drinks, coffee, alcohol, smoking; lack of thorough chewing of food.

In addition, gastritis is often caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium needs acid-free conditions to exist, for this it “envelops” itself with a cloud of urease, an enzyme that creates an alkaline environment. All this damages the mucous membrane up to its atrophy, and can also lead to the development of stomach and duodenal ulcers, significantly increasing the risk of developing stomach cancer. 95% of gastric ulcers and 85% of duodenal ulcers worldwide are associated with Helicobacter pylori infection. Other causes of damage to the mucous membrane of the stomach and duodenum is the frequent use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

In the treatment of gastritis and peptic ulcer, drugs are used that reduce the acid production of the gastric mucosa, improve its healing, and if Helicobacter pylori is detected, a course of antibiotic therapy is used. The patient must be prescribed a sparing diet.

All these activities are prescribed only by a doctor. Self-medication can be not only ineffective, but also harmful to the patient.

– Is stress also one of the reasons for the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

– Yes, the classic triad for making this diagnosis: stress, pain, stool disorders (diarrhea, constipation or their alternation). The very name of the disease contains its essence: the intestine is irritated, the sensitivity is increased.

The peculiarity of this disease is that the patient does not have a visible lesion of the intestinal mucosa. No examinations can establish what is actually happening with the human body, and the disease is clearly manifested.

The mechanism of occurrence of symptoms is associated with the characteristics of the intestines. The intestine has its own nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system. In stressful situations, failures in the work of the entire nervous system of the body begin, the brain gives the wrong signals to the intestines, and the latter incorrectly informs the brain about the processes taking place in it. As a result, intestinal motility is disturbed, the threshold of pain sensitivity decreases, and even slight discomfort causes severe attacks of pain.

In addition to stress and a low pain threshold, the risk of developing IBS is increased by eating disorders, a sedentary lifestyle, hormonal disruptions (for example, in pregnant women), and genetic predisposition. IBS can also develop after certain infectious bowel diseases.

The main difficulty in IBS is that the symptoms are very unpleasant, and the correction must be carried out, first of all, the psycho-emotional state, which is quite difficult without the help of a competent psychologist. At the same time, there is still a problem that often patients do not even admit to themselves that they need psychological help.

When making this diagnosis, it is very important to show oncological vigilance. However, in our time it is always important, even in young patients, but especially in older people. IBS is more common in young people, so if these symptoms are observed in mature patients, first of all, the doctor should rule out cancer.

– When taking antibiotics, doctors often advise taking probiotics or prebiotics. Is it really necessary?

– Antibiotics affect the intestinal flora, this is indisputable. Often, against the background of antibiotic therapy, the patient develops dysbiosis (“dysbacteriosis”), that is, a qualitative and / or quantitative change in the ratio of microorganisms that live in the intestine. Dysbiosis is manifested by a violation of the stool, flatulence (excessive gas formation), the presence of inflammation on the mucosa. As a preventive measure for the development of this unpleasant condition, it is recommended to take pro- and prebiotics.

Probiotics are medicinal products or biologically active food supplements that contain live microorganisms that are representatives of the normal human microflora. They are designed to restore the disturbed balance of microorganisms that inhabit various human mucosa, and therefore are used to treat and prevent immunodeficiency, dysbiosis and related diseases. Probiotics stimulate the immune system at all levels, as proven by numerous clinical studies.

Prebiotics are food ingredients that are not digested by human enzymes and are not absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract. They stimulate the growth and vital activity of beneficial microflora: breaking down into fatty acids, they increase the acidity in the colon, inhibiting the growth of opportunistic microflora, which also creates favorable conditions for the development of normal microflora.

Prebiotics are found in dairy products, corn flakes, cereals, bread, onions, field chicory, garlic, beans, peas, artichokes, asparagus, bananas and many other foods. They also exist in the form of dietary supplements.

There is an opinion that probiotics in tablet and liquid forms are less effective, since they cannot always pass through the highly acidic environment of the stomach, bile aggressive to bacteria. And only capsules are designed to dissolve in the colon – where bacteria should live.

Not so long ago, synbiotics appeared on the market – combined preparations that combine pre- and probiotics. To date, they are considered to have the most advanced mechanism of action.

I recommend choosing preparations that normalize microflora together with a doctor – because it is quite difficult for a non-specialist to understand all the variety of existing remedies, and it is unlikely that you will be able to understand what is suitable in each specific case.

— Why is constipation dangerous?

– Constipation is a condition characterized not only by a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements: less than 3 times a week, but also by the appearance of dense, dry feces or the absence of a feeling of complete bowel emptying or bowel emptying with tension or the use by patients of additional techniques to empty the bowel.

Prolonged constipation causes:

  • chronic intoxication (poisoning), which leads to sleep disturbance, unmotivated fatigue, increased fatigue and, finally, to depression, deterioration of the skin and hair;

  • the formation of intestinal diverticula (protrusions of the wall), which can cause abdominal pain, and when an infection is attached, inflammation of the intestinal mucosa (diverticulitis) and the need for intensive antibiotic therapy or surgical treatment in case of intestinal obstruction;

  • varicose hemorrhoidal veins, chronic anal fissures;

  • colon cancer.

It is necessary to start solving the problem of constipation not with self-treatment, but with a visit to a gastroenterologist. There are many reasons for constipation. These can be very serious illnesses. Only a competent specialist can understand this. Solving the problem of constipation on your own, you can significantly worsen your condition.

– Is such a delicate problem treated as flatulence?

– Flatulence (increased gas formation) is associated with fermentation. There can be many reasons: insufficient bile secretion, insufficiently concentrated bile, violations of the secretion of pancreatic juice – as a rule, problems with the sphincter of Oddi. All this leads to a change in the bacterial flora of the intestine. As a result, flatulence develops. This is a common problem, but it can be solved. Although I will not say that it is always simple and fast. The main thing is to find the root cause, since flatulence can be a symptom of various diseases.

– Sometimes a person suffers from bad breath or bad taste in the mouth. Is this a symptom of some disease?

– Halitosis – bad breath – can occur for various reasons. First of all, I would recommend contacting a dentist and checking the condition of the teeth and oral cavity. In second place are ENT diseases. If everything is in order in these areas, then, indeed, halitosis may be the result of digestive problems.

As for the taste in the mouth, it can be a symptom of certain diseases. But here everything is very individual: the taste can be sweet, bitter, sour, metallic, etc. It can be constant or appear only after eating or, conversely, on an empty stomach, etc. Therefore, you need to look and look for the cause.

– It is not uncommon for patients who have had an abdominal ultrasound to find out that they have a kink in their gallbladder – how serious is that?

– Deformities of the gallbladder – inflection, membranes, etc. increase the risk of bile stasis. The gallbladder should normally empty almost completely after each meal. Because this gallbladder has to work harder to contract, some patients may experience pain. After its reduction, part of the bile may remain behind the inflection and “stagnate”, which can lead to the formation of stones. I recommend patients with gallbladder deformity to control their condition: to be observed by a doctor, to do an ultrasound of the abdominal organs once a year to see the state of bile and gallbladder. If the ultrasound diagnostic doctor notes that the bile is “viscous”, “heterogeneous”, “inhomogeneous”, etc., it is important to immediately contact a gastroenterologist and undergo a course of therapy to prevent the formation of stones. It is especially important to take gallstone prevention seriously if someone in your immediate family has these problems.

– What methods of preventing gastrointestinal diseases can be used? Maybe you need to take medications or do tubazhi?

– Do not use any prophylactic drugs without a doctor’s prescription. All medicines have side effects and are not recommended to be taken without indications.

To carry out tubage (a procedure that is the intake of choleretic agents for the simultaneous emptying of the gallbladder), certain indications and contraindications are also necessary. More often, the doctor prescribes this procedure in combination with other therapeutic measures, selects drugs, etc.

The best prevention of gastrointestinal diseases is proper nutrition: in small portions, with thorough chewing of food to gruel. You need to eat at least 4-5 times a day, be sure to have breakfast within an hour after a night’s sleep. The volume of water drunk per day should be at least 1.5 liters.

Try to minimize the amount of food that provokes the development of diseases. We have already listed them above: fast food, pickles, smoked meats, fried, spicy, etc. Add some physical activity: a sedentary lifestyle has been proven to contribute to digestive troubles, while abdominal exercises, brisk walking, and yoga have a beneficial effect on bowel function.