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Old 02-12-2009, 05:02 PM   #1
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Difference between spit up and vomiting?

New mom quest -

How do you know the difference between spit-up and vomiting? I have a 3wk old preemie who is on breast milk and occasional formula. This past feeding she has spit up a lot to the point that I wonder if it's actual vomiting. The spit up has all happened within an hour after feeding.

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Old 02-12-2009, 06:13 PM   #2
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

Not exactly sure how to tell at that age. But my first born was born at 34.5 weeks gestational age and he spat up a TON for the first several months. As long as your LO isn't showing other signs of discomfort and is still interested in eating I think you are probably ok. If it doesn't subside between feedings, she starts refusing feedings, or your DD is running a temp then I would call the doc. But at that age with those wee little ones the amount of spit up can definitely look like a LOT more than you'd expect. And my preemie always spat up more than my full term kiddo. i think it has to do with the developmental stage of their digestive system. Your LO is only getting toward a full term gestational age now. But she's probably a little behind developmentally since the last 3 weeks have been developing out of the womb and that slows things down a bit.

All the best!

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Old 02-12-2009, 06:25 PM   #3
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

My son was born full-term (actually overdue) but was ventillated at birth so he had some swallowing/feeding issues. I would call it spit up if it just sort of slowly drooled from his mouth onto a bib (or my hand- yuck!). Vomit was when it was more projectile- a lot more force involved. For me it was strength of regurgitation not quantity. The amount always looks bigger than what it actually is!
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:01 PM   #4
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

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My son was born full-term (actually overdue) but was ventillated at birth so he had some swallowing/feeding issues. I would call it spit up if it just sort of slowly drooled from his mouth onto a bib (or my hand- yuck!). Vomit was when it was more projectile- a lot more force involved. For me it was strength of regurgitation not quantity. The amount always looks bigger than what it actually is!
Yeah, that! We had a late-diagnosed severe refluxer, and everyone around me kept insisting that it was just spit up, 'cause all babies spit up and all babies are fussy. After the fact (and the new-mom crazies) I realized that all babies are not THAT fussy and everything that comes out of a baby's mouth is not spit up. The difference? If the whole body is involved (tensing up, causing a child to cry/scream) it's not spit-up. Half of the time, you don't even realize the child is spitting up until it's dribbling out of his mouth or down your shoulder. You notice when a child vomits or refluxes. HTH!
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:49 PM   #5
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

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Originally Posted by 3Daisies View Post
New mom quest -

How do you know the difference between spit-up and vomiting? I have a 3wk old preemie who is on breast milk and occasional formula. This past feeding she has spit up a lot to the point that I wonder if it's actual vomiting. The spit up has all happened within an hour after feeding.
Oh trust me you can tell. Vomitting is forceful. A baby vomiting sounds much like an adult vomiting. There's that awful retching sound. There's tensing and like I said forceful 'ejection'.
I haven't read the other responses but this is my experience. Spitup can seem like a lot but it comes up almost easily.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:14 AM   #6
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

My 33 week babies and my 37 week baby threw uup tons and tons, it's normal as long as she's happy and gaining well
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:19 AM   #7
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

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My 33 week babies and my 37 week baby threw uup tons and tons, it's normal as long as she's happy and gaining well
Yup, I think mood (immediate) and weight gain (long term) are definitely the two big factors that can help decide. My guy spits up a TON. It really seems like everything he eats comes right back up, but he's always happy and is a major chunker so he's just a "happy spitter".
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:31 AM   #8
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

My full-term baby spit up ALL the time all day everyday. He was never without a bib and we had burp rags throughout the entire house. Even when he hadn't eaten in awhile he would spit up. It took awhile for me to figure out that I had a strong letdown and oversupply of milk which caused this. I read that actual vomiting is green (or other colors) and it is very forceful. Sometimes my baby's spit up would be forceful, though. I'd say that as long as your LO isn't showing signs of being ill--such as a fever or drowsiness, then it's probably just spit up. Also, make sure he is still gaining weight.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:15 PM   #9
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

I'm not sure if I agree with intensity of spitting being a definer. . . my let down was really strong so they had a lot of air and would projectile spit up - like feet at a time. I consider the smell. Just fed them, it goes down, burp and comes up, just smells like milk - spit up no matter how far it goes or how much fountains out. Vomiting I associate with a virus and it smells like. . . well, vomit.
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Old 02-14-2009, 04:27 PM   #10
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Re: Difference between spit up and vomiting?

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I'm not sure if I agree with intensity of spitting being a definer. . . my let down was really strong so they had a lot of air and would projectile spit up - like feet at a time. I consider the smell. Just fed them, it goes down, burp and comes up, just smells like milk - spit up no matter how far it goes or how much fountains out. Vomiting I associate with a virus and it smells like. . . well, vomit.

what she said!
my ds didnt spit up at all for weeks. then at about 6 weeks he started,what i would consider "normal" spit ups. but at random there would be gushing fountain like projectile spews. that could clear feet before hitting.(im not kidding.) he would be sittng there, and not even change facial expressions. it just gushed. not to bother him in the slightest. like the big spit ups were the same to him as the little spit ups..crazy.
THEN at 8 weeks old he got a stomach bug that was going around.the difference ,for us, was his body. you know when you throw,your midsection clenches,you heave. and he would be upset by it. it happened a few times before he got a fever. and there was odor. smells faintly of grown up throw up. bleh. it was no fun.
but then his half brother, my step ds, was a puker from the start. there were two bottle for every feeding. one to throw back up and one to keep some down.. to this day(hes ten) he throws up easily. we have to watch him to avoid overeating and such. thats why when my lo started the random bigones i was so concerned. but he doesnt do that anymore. he seems to spit up regularly but in normal times and amounts.
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