POSSETING: Does your baby bring up milk after feeding?

Almost all babies posset (some more than others) during the early months. Posseting is the regurgitation of small quantities of undigested milk following each feed. Your baby’s oesophageal sphincter – the little valve between the oesophagus and stomach – is very immature after birth and although it is designed to prevent regurgitation, it usually takes time to mature a before it starts to do its job efficiently. You also are more likely to have an oversupply of milk in the first few weeks, so until this supply settles down (six weeks), most babies will posset (regurgitate) often.

Your baby’s tummy is the size of a walnut for the first few months and until this matures and can hold a larger quantity of milk, it is perfectly normal for your baby to posset after every feed. It is also common to see your baby bring up milk at other times as well, such as:

  • Each time you change his/her position.
  • When you pick him/her up.
  • When you are changing his/her nappy.
  • When settling and asleep.

You can expect posseting to peak between the age of 1-4 months and this is because from 1 month, your baby will receive bigger feeds, much bigger than he/she needs as supply and demand evens itself out. Once your supply has settled down (from three months) and your baby matures and starts solids, possetting will naturally settle down and stop.
Each baby is different and there is no guarantee when it will stop for your baby. Usually by 18 months it will have stopped completely. From four months, as the sphincter muscle matures, and as they eat more solid food and spend more time in an upright position, you can expect it to decrease greatly in most cases. Posseting causes no pain or discomfort and your baby will have no other symptoms other than effortless regurgitation of milk after feeds. Your baby should be feeding normally and gaining weight if it is expected normal posseting.
If your baby is refusing to feed or fussy when feeding, projectile vomiting, unsettled and not gaining weight, I suggest you seek medical advice. If you are concerned in any way, seek medical advice, check things out and have your fears resolved. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Jen’s top management tips for posseting:

  • Handle your baby extra gently, especially when winding.
  • In the first 6 weeks only, express a small amount of the first breast you are offering. This will eliminate excess volume when you have an oversupply.
  • Raise the head of the cot slightly.
  • Raise your baby’s head slightly when changing his/her nappy.
  • Give smaller feeds more frequently (limit to maximum of 45 minutes).
  • Keep your baby upright after feeds for 15 minutes.
  • Start solids by 4-5 months.
  • Don’t wear your good clothes whilst feeding or for 15 minutes after the feed.
  • Avoid changing your baby’s nappy when their stomach is full.

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I offer advice and support to parents of babies aged 0 – 12 months. For more information please contact me.

Category : Advice Posted on September 20, 2010

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