Having a vomiting baby is not fun for you and usually scary for baby.They do not know what is happening to them, so add that confusion to the normal unpleasantness to complete the sick baby picture. The first time your baby throws up, you may panic, especially if your baby is very young or you have a typically healthy child. However, not all vomiting requires a trip to the emergency room.
There is also a difference between vomiting and spit-up. Most babies spit up as newborns before their digestive track is fully capable of keeping all that milk down. Spitting-up can be separated from vomiting by the effort it takes. Spit-up is usually effortless, and comes shortly after eating. Vomiting on the other hand takes effort and your baby will be visibly in distress. Think about the last time you threw-up. It is a whole body endeavor. Sometimes you ache so much you feel like you had gotten in an ab work-out. When your baby has transitioned to solid food, spit-up usually slows until it stops altogether. In the cases of chronic spit-up or painful spit-up in young children, you should take your baby to see his doctor to rule out a more serious digestive problem.
Once you have identified that your baby is in fact vomiting, as disgusting as it sounds, you need to examine the vomit visually. What color is it? Are there any blood streaks? Does it appear to have coffee grounds in it? How much is there? These are all important questions your doctor may have for you. Some things that require immediate medical attention and should warrant an immediate trip to the emergency room are coffee-ground-like blood in the vomit and a green color to the bile (digestive fluid), or if his abdomen is swollen and it hurts him when you apply gentle pressure. These are signs of serious digestive problems that require immediate medical attention. If any of these signs occur you may also want to take a sample of the vomit in a baggy with you to the emergency room for doctors to test.