It's one of the tell-tale signs of infancy- spit up on everything. A new parent is lucky to make it through the day without milk spit up on their shirt. But how do you know what’s normal or when spit up is too much?

What Is Spit Up?

First it's important to understand that spit up is different from vomit. Spit up happens because the lower esophageal sphincter has not yet matured. The lower esophageal sphincter is the muscle that allows food to travel from your esophagus to your stomach but also keeps it in your stomach. Spit up easily flows out of your baby’s mouth. Vomiting on the other hand happens when your baby's stomach contracts and forces stomach contents up through the mouth. It is much more projectile when it happens.

When To Be Concerned

It is easy to overestimate the amount of spit up. According to the Mayo Clinic reasons for concern include:

  • The baby is not gaining weight.
  • The baby is spit up is green or yellow or looks like coffee grounds.
  • There is blood and the baby’s stool or in the baby’s spit up.

How to Minimize Spit Up

  • Help your baby not get too full. Increase your feeding frequency the decrease the amount of time at each feeding.
  • Make sure your baby burps after each feeding.
  • Hold him upright for few minutes following each feeding.

Babies are finished spitting up by their first birthday. They're not at any risk. It is best to just help them through the symptoms and just keep doing laundry!

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer and mother of three. If you liked this posting please follow her on Twitter @writerbonnie or like her on Facebook at for more great info on Raising Kids.