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Is It Normal When Milk Comes Out of Baby’s Nose?

Seeing milk coming out of a baby’s nose can instantly put any new parent in panic mode. But most of the time, it shouldn’t really be a cause of worry. Milk that comes out of the nose might occur particularly in newborns whose digestive tract is not yet mature enough to handle large amounts of milk.

Read on below to learn more about the causes and preventions of such incidents.

Is It Normal If Your Baby Spits Through the Nose?

The main reason why you may notice formula or breastmilk coming out of the nose of your baby is the so-called infant reflux. This can make the milk flow back out of the stomach of your little one and go through his nose or mouth. While this can be quite upsetting, with most adults not even imagining experiencing it, it is seldom a serious issue.

It is very common for infants to experience reflux problems that can lead to many instances of spit-up. It is normal for infants with reflux to have spit-ups a few times a day, and among these is when milk flows out of the nose of your little one.

Your baby doesn’t have any control over it, and this is the reason why you will notice milk coming out of the nose of your baby even while he sleeps. Reflux will push back up the milk and because the nose and the mouth are linked, it can come out of any of the two. It just happens randomly and projectile spitting up can also occur.

Why Does Milk Come Out of the Nose of Your Baby?

Milk can come out of the nose of your baby since the milk’s direction is to the mouth and nose rather than to the stomach. In addition, feeding your baby too fast too much can make it hard for him to keep it down, and this causes regurgitation.

Babies have an immature and small digestive system from birth. This means that you need to feed your baby carefully and slowly during the first several months of his life.

Once the milk comes out of the nose and mouth of your baby, this is an indication of regurgitation. While your baby may have a hard time at first, it is often not life-threatening. You just need to make a few adjustments to the feeding routine of your baby to prevent issues later on.

What is Nasal Regurgitation in Babies?

Nasal regurgitation refers to the movement of the ingested milk to the esophagus of the baby rather than the stomach. Once this occurs, food or fluids that are supposed to go down to the stomach will come back up to the nose and mouth. This is what you call a spit-up.

This nasal regurgitation is when your baby’s spit-up comes out of the nose rather than the mouth. This condition may also take place during bottle-feeding or breastfeeding your baby when the milk’s flow is more than what your little one can handle during feeding.

Your baby can also experience nasal regurgitation when he burps, coughs, or sneezes during feeding. Once this happens, milk may come out of your little one’s nose instead of his mouth. But unlike vomiting, regurgitation is less distressing and forceful to your little one.

woman in teal tank top drinking milk from feeding bottle

Is It Normal for Babies to Experience Nasal Regurgitation?

Yes, it is usually normal for nasal regurgitation to occur in babies 0 to 3 months old. Aside from this, premature babies are also more likely to experience nasal regurgitation due to their underdeveloped digestive systems during their birth.

Multiples and twins are usually born earlier compared to singletons, which makes nasal regurgitation more common during the first several months for them.

Is It Dangerous for Babies to Spit Up Out of Their Nose?

It may feel and seem like it is an alarming issue when your little one is spitting up through the nose and cannot breathe. However, this is rarely the case.

There are times when small quantities of milk may flow out of the nose of your baby, triggering reflexes to sneeze or cough. This can make your baby breathe inward, which can temporarily clog up the nose.

Bulb syringes can be used for clearing out the nose of your baby, but it is the combination of several natural reflexes which caused this small issue. This problem isn’t dangerous if the following occurs:

  • Your baby doesn’t spit up his entire meal during every feeding.
  • The right color of milk comes out.
  • There are no noticeable changes in your baby’s personality.
  • Your baby gains weight appropriately.

Common Reasons Why Milk Comes Out of Baby’s Nose

Here are some of the things that can make it more likely for milk to come out of your little one’s nose.

Distractions That Cause Choking

When your baby becomes older, many forms of distractions during feeding can become a real problem. Daily life happenings and noises can catch the interest of your baby, causing disruptions to his suck-swallow reflex.

A distracted baby may accidentally swallow large quantities of milk. This can lead to choking, with milk possibly flying back out of the nose.

Immature Stomach Valve

When your baby drinks milk, this should move down the esophagus to the stomach. However, the sphincter muscle needs to open so that the milk can pass. After the food reaches the stomach of your baby, the sphincter muscle must close to prevent it from traveling back up.

The issue here is that most babies, including full-term ones, still have an undeveloped esophageal sphincter. This issue is common in newborn babies that let food escape from the stomach, moving back up to the esophagus.

Sneezing and Coughing

Don’t be shocked if your little one also sneezes some milk out of the nose. These little humans still lack control over their bodies, with a simple cough or sneezing the only thing it takes. The next thing that you know, milk starts flying out of his mouth and nose, surprising your baby as much as you.

Swallowing Air

It is common for babies to swallow air, particularly new babies who haven’t developed a proper latch yet. When your baby feels starved, he might get too excited while nursing, making him gulp in some air. Once his belly is filled with air, this air can push back out the milk once again in the form of spitting up.

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