You are feeding your baby when all of a sudden, a large mucus bubble emits, staining your shirt or burp towel. Mucus spit-up in infants is a common condition that is rarely a cause for concern, but can serve as a messy inconvenience. You can take steps to reduce the amount of mucus until your child’s digestive tract becomes more developed.
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Mucus spit-up occurs in infants because the area between the esophagus and stomach—known as a sphincter—has not yet fully developed, according to What to Expect. When this takes place, food, mucus or spit can back up the esophageal tract, causing your baby to spit up. The mucus will appear yellow in color and may have a strong smell.
The length of time babies spit up can vary, according to What to Expect. Babies are likely to spit up until they are able to sit up on their own, which usually occurs around the seven-month mark. However, some babies may continue to spit up until they reach one year of age.
While some degree of mucus spitup is normal in infants, you can take preventive steps to reduce the amount of mucus, according to What to Expect. To do this, avoid feeding your baby when she is crying, which minimizes the amount of air bubbles introduced into the esophageal tract. Burp your baby at least once during the middle of feedings to prevent a large mucus bubble from being produced at the end of a feeding.
When your baby does experience an episode of spitting up mucus, comfort him by turning him on his side and firmly pat his back, according to Clinical Pediatric Associates. You also may wish to suction mucus out of the cheek or nose. To do so, take a bulb syringe and gently insert it into your baby’s mouth. Gently squeeze the bulb to suction out any mucus in your baby’s mouth. You may want to then suction the nose, if necessary.
Seeing your baby spit up may lead you to become concerned that your baby is not getting enough nutrients or is spitting up because he is sick, according to What to Expect. However, spitting up mucus is not typically cause for concern. While your baby’s mucus may appear like a significant amount, it often represents a combination of mucus and saliva, which can thicken the mucus. This means that your baby is not losing nourishment when he spits up mucus. If your baby seems to be gaining weight normally and does not seem to be discomforted by mucus spitup, then the mucus spitup should not be cause for concern, according to Kelly Bonyata, an international board-certified lactation consultant on KellyMom.