Baby choking on spit up what to do

Baby choking on spit up what to do

Only a few things can beat the fear that a mother develops when her baby is endangered. Among all of the dangerous situations a baby experiences, choking can be especially scary. If not checked immediately, this is because it could lead to convulsion and more serious breathing complications. You don’t want to be helpless as a parent if this happens. It is not uncommon to see baby Baby choking on spit-up.

In situations like this, if we want to factor in unforeseen circumstances, the doctor would not always be around.  So, all these beg the question, what is the best course of action to take if your baby chokes on their spits? What first aid measures are there to take?

First of it is important to determine the causes of incidents like this. Knowing these causes gives you an idea of first aid and how to avoid a future reoccurrence.

What could cause a baby to choke on their spit

1.   Immediate food Reflux

Babies are still growing their organs, including the muscles of their esophageal sphincter. Aside from these, a baby may inadvertently attempt taking other actions while eating. These actions and the weakness of the esophageal muscles may trigger reflux of food immediately after swallowing. In addition, since the saliva is still actively involved, it may get stuck in the baby’s throat with some food, and the baby may start to choke on it.

2.   Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops and starts intermittently when sleeping. This condition causes the tonsil of a person to swell more than the usual size. Since the tonsils are around the throat/esophageal region, it automatically causes increased saliva production. Not just that, it blocks the flow of saliva to and fro the digestive tract. When this occurs up to a certain threshold, it causes the baby to choke.

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 his or her spit.

4.    Lesions or Tumors in a baby’s throat

If the 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. Baby in these conditions is very prone to choking on their spits. They choke on their spit at any slight provocation of the throat.

5.    Neurological conditions that warrant saliva production

Some babies have genetically induced neurological conditions. Some suffer these conditions due to certain complications during their pregnancy. The conditions in question include examples like Parkinson’s syndrome and Down syndrome. These diseases are often characterized by muscle weakness and a high volume of saliva production. Babies in this state often experience situations where they choke on their spits.

6.   Allergies that induce saliva production or swollen respiratory tract

Some babies have allergic reactions that immediately cause hypersalivation and swollen respiratory tract. These allergies are capable of making babies choke on their spit intermittently. Most times, when this happens, the situation could be very dire.


Baby choking on spit up, Here is what to do

When your baby chokes on a spit, there are certain measures to immediately prevent any more complications. After the first aid, there are also things to check for and possibly, work on to prevent such things from recurring. Let’s delve in and see some of those things.

1.  Keep the baby upright for 30 Minutes

If your baby is awake and active when they choke on their spits, you should try as much as possible to slowly put the baby in an upright position. You should then endeavour to keep the baby in this position for about 30 minutes to stabilize them. By then, the child’s body would most likely be calm.

2.   Give the baby water

Immediately the baby is calm, you should try to give the baby water regularly. You have to be cautious that the baby takes the water in little quantities at a time.  Note that before the baby attempts to swallow the water, you should make the baby spit out the first two sips to rinse their mouths. In a younger baby that cannot spit, put drops of breast milk into the baby’s mouth in a little by little fashion.

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.

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 it’s supposed to be.

5.   You can raise the head of the bed slightly

Still on the sleeping baby; raise the head of the baby’s cot slightly to prevent some reflexive choking.

5.   Choking

After the above-stated first aid – would not usually pose a threat. However, if it occurs intermittently, you should take note to take your baby to the doctor. At the doctor’s, you would determine the root cause and deal with it accordingly. For example, if the cause happens to be tonsillitis, the doctor has to remove it through surgery.

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.


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



In child care, little things may be big; big things may be little. In any case, be sure to always seek professional help to know which is which and the next steps to take. Child health is not something to gamble with. Take caution!

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