Baby choking on spit up what to do

Baby Choking on Spit Up? Here’s What to Do | Helpful Tips and Solutions

Did you know that one in five infants will experience choking on spit up? This can be worrying for any mom and it’s important to know what to do if your baby is ever faced with this common problem.

If your baby has been coughing or choking during feedings, don’t panic—we’ve got all the tips and solutions you need right here! In this post we’ll provide helpful tricks and ideas for avoiding spit-up related choking episodes as well as strategies to maintain peace of mind when they occur. Keep reading—you won’t want to miss out on our life-saving advice on managing your infant’s spitting up!

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Common Baby Spit Up Causes

1.   Immediate Reflux

Did you know that babies are constantly growing and developing? This includes their organs, like the muscles in their esophageal sphincter. But here’s the thing – sometimes, babies can accidentally do things while they’re eating that can lead to some issues.

For example, the weakness of their esophageal muscles, combined with certain actions, can cause food to come back up right after they swallow it. Plus, because their saliva is still active, it can get stuck in their throat with some food, which can make them choke.

It’s important to be aware of these possibilities and take extra care when feeding your little one. Safety first, right?

2.   Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops and starts intermittently while sleeping. This condition causes the tonsil of a person to swell more than usual. Since the tonsils are around the throat/esophageal region, it automatically causes increased saliva production. In addition, the increased inflammation blocks the flow of saliva to and from the digestive tract. This can lead to the baby spitting up more than normal.

3.    Asthma

Asthma causes an inevitable inflammation of the respiratory airways and an increased production of mucus and saliva. Due to the inflammation of the baby’s airways, it becomes increasingly difficult for saliva and mucus to flow. When this builds up to a certain threshold, it causes the baby to choke intermittently on their spit.

4.    Lesions or Tumors in the Baby’s Throat

If a baby has a lesion or a tumor in the throat region due to any pathological condition, two things occur. First, there is an increased production of mucus and spit. Secondly, there is a huge limit to the baby’s ability to swallow and spit movement. Babies with these conditions are very prone to choking on their spit. This can occur with any slight provocation of the throat.

5.   Allergies 

Some babies have allergic reactions that immediately cause hypersalivation and/or a swollen respiratory tract. These allergies are capable of making babies choke on their spit intermittently due to the increased inflammation. These rapid changes can lead to serious medical complications and should be taken very seriously. 

Baby Choking on Spit Up Remedies

Is your baby choking on spit up? Don’t panic! We’re here to help you take immediate action and prevent any further complications. But that’s not all – we’ll also show you some easy steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future. So, let’s dive right in and learn what to do!

1.  Keep the baby upright for 30 Minutes

If your baby is awake and active when they choke on their spit up, you should try to keep the baby in an upright position for about 30 minutes. This should help to keep the stomach juices from flowing up to the throat. 

Just like you sometimes get indigestion if you lay down right after dinner!

2.   Give the baby water

If your child is old enough to drink water, give them a few small sips. Encourage them to rinse out all the yucky stuff that just came up and spit it out! Once their mouth is clear, they can take some small sips to wash it all down. 

In younger babies that are not able to drink water or spit on command, place drops of breast milk into their mouth to help wash the spit up down.

3.   Prop up the baby’s head

Baby choking on spit up what to do

This is applicable if the baby was sleeping when they start to choke. In this case, you need to slowly prop up the baby’s head against your body or a very comfy baby pillow. This helps them to regulate their breathing faster and allows the baby to calm down which should help limit additional spit up.

4.   Place the baby back on their side temporarily

If the baby wants to return to sleep, you should temporarily place them on the side for a couple of minutes. After which, you should place the baby on the back as normal.

5.   You can raise the head of the bed slightly

You can raise the head of the baby’s cot slightly to prevent some reflux choking and additional spit up. Be sure to do this from under their crib mattress. We want to keep a babies crib free from pillows and blankets to reduce the possibility of SIDS

5.   Choking

If this occurs frequently, you should discuss with your pediatrician. At the doctor’s, you would determine the root cause of the increased spit up and a plan forward. For example, if the cause happens to be tonsillitis, the doctor has to remove these through surgery. To be clear, this is not always the case!

In an allergic reaction, you are advised against the triggers, and the baby is administered professional treatment.

Finally, you should take note that your baby does not take too many food items (be it purees, breast milk, etc.) at once. Over eating can impact us all! 

Also Read:

Best Swing for Colicky Baby

What To Do If a Toddler is Choking

When Can You Start Feeding a Baby Rice Cereal

Best Sleeping Positions for Babies after Feeding


It can be scary to see your baby choke on their spit up, but there are a lot of things that you can do about it. Taking note of common causes and looking into reasonable remedies and solutions can ensure that the situation doesn’t get any worse.

Keeping an eye on their spit up can also give you better insight and allow you to act quickly in case the spitting up does turn out to be something more serious. Ultimately, raising a baby is always worth the effort, but it’s important to stay informed so you’re always ready if anything were to happen.

Remember, how you approach caring for your baby depends on your own experience and understanding – but don’t forget to enjoy these priceless moments while they’re here!

Is it normal for babies to choke on spit up?

This can happen from time to time as their organs are still developing and adjusting to the new world! However, if this becomes a regular occurrence, it’s worth discussing with your healthcare provider.

How do I stop my baby from choking on their spit up

There are many ways you can help, such as holding them in an upright position, raise the head of their crib, suction the nose and mouth to clear excess mucus to name a few.

Why is my baby choking on their saliva?

Their organs and body parts are also getting used to the world! But some common reasons are they have swollen tonsils, or have too much mucus in their mouth or nose.