Why Does Your Baby Throw Up When She Cries?

Mother holding crying baby
Mother holding a crying baby. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Some babies become so upset that they cry inconsolably. Vomiting may accompany this extreme crying for some children. If your baby throws up when she cries, assess the situation carefully to determine whether an underlying issue causes the gastrointestinal response. Your physician can help you evaluate your child’s behavior and symptoms.

Inconsolable Crying

If a baby becomes exceedingly upset, he may cry inconsolably. Crying for an excessive amount of time can become overwhelming for a small child that the little one’s body responds by vomiting, states pediatrician Dr. William Sears, in the article, "Ask Dr. Sears: Intolerable Toddler Tantrums" in Parenting magazine. For example, a baby suffering separation anxiety at a new daycare might become inconsolable, and he might cry until he throws up. A baby could also become excessively upset during sleep training and cry until the point of throwing up.

How to Comfort Her

If your baby’s uncontrolled crying stems from an emotional reaction, you might help her calm down by using a technique called “holding therapy,” suggests Sears. Stay calm and relaxed, and hold your child while she cries to let her know that she is safe and secure. Your baby may wriggle and squirm against your hold, but hold her firmly, anyway. Speak in her ear in a calm, reassuring voice to let her know that you will help her feel better. Eventually, your child should calm down and stop crying, which should end the vomiting episodes.

Physical Reasons

Your child’s inconsolable crying might be emotional, but it could also have a physical origin, advises the Ask Dr. Sears website. Because your baby does not have the verbal skills necessary to communicate physical symptoms, assess your child carefully, if you think the crying and vomiting has a physical origin. Some possible reasons for inconsolable crying include teething, gastrointestinal upset, ear infections, sore throat, scratched eye or a hair tourniquet in which a long hair winds tightly and painfully around a tiny toe or finger. Another possibility could be intussusception, which is an emergency situation. It is a bowel blockage that occurs in youngsters under age 2, warns the KidsHealth website. If you suspect internal blockage, call your baby's pediatrician immediately or take her to the emergency room immediately.

When to Call the Pediatrician

Some possible causes for crying and vomiting may not warrant a trip to the clinic or the emergency room, but other issues should get you bundling your baby and heading out the door. If you see excessive drooling and swollen gums of your crying baby, it’s probably safe to assume that teething is causing pain. In this case, a dose of infant over-the-counter pain reliever should help your little one feel better. Other issues are more serious and demand immediate action. If your baby is younger than 2 months, if the crying escalates to screaming, lasts longer than three hours and you cannot console your infant, seek medical attention immediately, advises the Alder Brook Family Health website. If your baby has repeated projectile vomiting, a rigid abdomen, unusual movements and refuses to maintain eye contact with you, take her to the emergency room, advises the Ask Dr. Sears website.

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