What Are the Treatments for Infant Vomiting?

Many parents are understandably concerned when their infant is vomiting. Many childhood illnesses cause vomiting, and during a child’s early years it will happen many times. It is important to keep a vomiting infant as hydrated and as comfortable as possible.

Spitting Up Versus Vomiting

It is important to recognize the difference between an infant vomiting and an infant spitting up. Spitting up is common in infants and occurs with an easy flow of stomach contents, frequently along with a burp. Spitting up is not considered serious and does not interfere with normal weight gain.
Vomiting means that the contents of the stomach have been forced through the mouth. It occurs when the abdominal muscles contract vigorously while the stomach itself is relaxed. Stimulated by nerves from an irritated stomach or intestinal tract, vomiting may also be caused by motion sickness or psychologically from disturbing sights or smells.

Common Causes of Infant Vomiting

After the first few months of life, a stomach or intestinal infection are the most likely culprits that can cause infant vomiting. Viruses are most common, but occasionally bacteria or parasites may play a role. An infection such as this may also produce fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain in the infant, and is most likely contagious.

Positioning the Infant

Laying an infant on its stomach or side during periods of vomiting is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Positioning the infant in this manner minimizes the chance of vomit being inhaled into the infant’s upper airway and lungs, which could cause choking.


Making sure that a child does not become dehydrated is perhaps the most important action that a parent can take for an infant who has been vomiting. Water is lost in the process of vomiting and needs to be replaced. Replenishing fluids by giving the infant a children’s electrolyte formula, such as Pedialyte, is a good place to start. If the infant is unable to keep any fluids down without vomiting, notify your pediatrician.

Scheduling Liquids after Vomiting

Give the infant’s stomach time to rest after vomiting. Wait for two to three hours and then give one to two ounces of cool water every half-hour for the next two hours.
If the water stays down, give the infant two ounces of electrolyte formula alternated with two ounces of clear liquids every half-hour for the next two hours.
If the child is still not vomiting the fluids, you may begin to introduce a solution of half-strength formula or milk for the next feeding to test it out. After 12 to 24 hours with no additional vomiting, gradually return the child to a normal diet.