- Posted by admin
- On November 6, 2017
- 1 Comments
One day, when our baby, Seraphina, was a month old, she was placed on her mother’s lap and latched onto the breast. Thirty minutes later, the baby was still sucking passionately, like she was competing at a breastfeeding contest.
That’s enough! My wife slipped a finger under the baby’s lips and plucked her mouth from the nipple. As if on cue, Seraphina belched. Next came the milk, dribbling from the mouth and nose of our breastfeeding champ.
My wife gasped. She sat the baby up against her chest. The baby coughed once. Her face took on a purplish hue. Her eyes stared blankly at the ceiling.
For a few seconds, my wife was frozen on the spot like a stone statue, gazing at the baby, unsure of what to do. She blew twice on Seraphina’s face. The baby stared on without blinking.
My wife held and shook the baby’s shoulders. Seraphina’s arms dropped down to her side, as if they were flesh wrapped around cotton stuffing like that of a rag doll.
My wife screamed.
Seraphina sneezed once, spurting white liquid from her nose. Then she looked at her mother and smiled. It was as if she was saying, I’m sorry, it was all a joke.
I walked in to see my baby smiling. My wife sobbed as she explained all this to me, while the happy spitter had a contented grin on her face.
After that, we reduced our baby’s feeding time, and this never happened again. Fifteen minutes on each breast is enough!
Here is a summary of the happy spitter.
The happy spitter is a baby, usually less than three months old, who feeds and then spits up some liquid about thirty minutes to an hour afterward. A loud belch often heralds the spit up. Some of this spit up is not vomited but remains in the baby’s mouth.
This reflux is often whitish and stringy and may appear gross to you, especially if some of this reflux lands on your cloth or the warm liquid splatters your face. But this is often not gross for the baby. You often see the happy spitter sucking on his tongue, licking his lips, and re-swallowing this reflux. They often ignore the mess on their cheeks, which may be the only evidence of this everyday event. Babies usually do not cry during or after this form of spitting up. In fact, they often appear relieved from the release of the pressure on their overfilled stomachs and will continue their play as if nothing has happened. A soiled bib is not an issue for them, and if some of this reflux gets on the floor, the baby may dip his/her hand into it and often spread it around. This event is called physiologic reflux, and it is common in babies less than six months old.
The above scenario is in contrast to the unhappy spitter. The unhappy spitter may show several signs before the event. The baby may arch his/her back, may hold his breath, or his color may change, and he may appear restless or agitated. He may start to cough during or after the event. This is a more serious reflux and needs an evaluation by a healthcare professional or pediatrician. Several factors should be considered in this case. Is the baby over-feeding? This is the most common reason. Does the baby have an obstruction? Is the baby premature? These are some of the questions to consider in the unhappy spitter that may require intervention.