Mucus in baby spit-up is messy, but is it also a medical issue? We’ll discuss why you might notice your baby spitting up clear mucus, how to reduce episodes of your baby spitting up mucus, and whether a newborn spitting up mucus is a cause for concern.
Baby Spitting Up Clear Mucus? It’s Probably Normal
As alarming as it is, if you notice your newborn spitting up mucus, it’s most likely not a sign of any medical issue. Very young babies may spit up (sometimes after almost every meal) because the sphincter between their esophagus and their stomach is not completely developed yet. Since babies also have very small stomachs, any extra fullness can easily cause a spit-up episode—especially if baby has ingested a lot of air.
Babies typically spit up a combination of mucus, saliva, and small amounts of milk or formula. You may see mucus in baby spit-up that’s clear, yellowish, or milky white. It might seem like your baby is spitting up a lot, but if he or she is still gaining weight at a healthy rate, and seems generally content, it’s nothing to be concerned about.
Patting your baby’s back during and after a spit-up episode is typically all that’s required to address it. If there’s a lot of mucus trapped in the baby’s mouth, you can use a bulb syringe to help clear it.
Babies usually spit up the most between 2 and 4 months of age. They often continue spitting up until they can sit without assistance, at around 7 months of age. However, it’s not abnormal for babies to occasionally spit up until around the one-year mark.
How to Reduce Baby Spitting Up Mucus
While your baby spitting up clear mucus probably isn’t going to be a long-term source of harm, there are still some steps you can take to help reduce your baby’s spitting up episodes:
- Feed your baby less, more often: If your baby is very hungry, he or she may overeat or gulp in lots of air, which can lead to your baby spitting up mucus. Try feeding your baby smaller quantities, more often.
- Keep your baby upright during and after feeding: This will help keep the food down in the baby’s tummy.
- Don’t jostle the baby during or after feeding: Jostling can upset the contents of the baby’s stomach and cause spit-up.
- Burp your baby during and after feedings: Burping your baby in the middle and right after feedings can cut down on spit-up.
- Don’t feed a fussy baby: A crying baby will suck in a lot of air, which leads to spit-up. Let your baby calm down before feeding time.
- Tilt your baby’s bottle so that your baby isn’t getting lots of air in the nipple.
When to Worry About Mucus in Baby Spit-Up
Here are some signs that your baby’s spit-up may be a sign of an underlying issue:
- Baby isn’t just spitting up—baby is vomiting or projectile vomiting. What’s the difference? Spitting up is a gentle dribbling, while vomiting or projectile vomiting
- The spit-up is green or yellow fluid, blood, or a coffee-ground-like substance.
- Baby has a fever and/or diarrhea.
- Your baby is refusing feedings or shows signs of pain after feeding.
- Baby shows signs of difficulty breathing
- Baby is not gaining any weight.
- Your baby only starts spitting up at when he or she is 6+ months old.
Mucus in Baby Spit-Up: The Bottom Line
Alarmed when you see your baby spit up mucus? As scary as it can be to witness your newborn spitting up mucus, it’s actually usually very normal. You only need to worry if your baby’s spit-up accompanies other symptoms. Then, bring the issue to the attention of your pediatrician.