What To Do When Milk Comes From The Baby’s Nose

milk coming out of baby's nose

A new mother will always need lots of advice, and what to do when milk comes from the baby’s nose will be among the most valuable.

Breastfeeding is an absolute joy, but seeing milk coming out of baby’s nose while breastfeeding is not.

There are many weird things that a newborn baby does that are an absolute scare. This tops the charts.

As a new mom, I almost had a mini heart-attack when I first saw my newborn spitting up through the nose.

Had I known what I know now, I would have had a less alarming response. Read on to know why it happens and what to do when it does.

Spit Up Vs Vomit In Babies

Spitting up is an effortless return of liquid whereas vomiting occurs as a result of muscle contractions forcefully expelling the contents in the stomach.

Spit up is a smooth flow, like the milk that is usually accompanied by a baby burp.

Since the throat and nose are linked, milk or formula comes out of the nose, instead of the mouth. Other times, it can be a combination of milk coming out of the baby’s nose as well as the mouth.

Majority of infants will spit up, solely because they do not feed while seated upright.

However, too much spitting up may be a cause of concern, and you need to be on the lookout and seek medical help from your pediatrician.

Newborns Spitting Up Through The Nose: Why It Happens

Babies have a Master’s degree in spitting up milk. This common occurrence is known as reflux. In some instances, there will be milk coming out of baby’s nose.

Generally, this is considered normal and may be caused by a number of factors. Let’s have a close look at some reasons why your baby has nasal regurgitation.

Baby swallowing too much air while breastfeeding

If your baby is not latching properly, he will be ingesting air while breastfeeding. The air later comes out and it brings with it most of the ingested milk.

If the air comes out too forcefully, the milk will be ejected through the nose as well.

milk coming out of baby's nose

Here in the body, the mind is elsewhere a.k.a distractions

If you’re breastfeeding your baby in a room that has a lot of activities going on, the baby may get distracted.

Too much movement and loud voices may cause a breastfeeding baby to lose concentration and forget to swallow the milk.

The milk ends up chocking him and coming out through the nose.

Related: Cluster Feeding: Everything You Need To Know

Cough, cough, Atchoo!

Babies sneeze. A LOT. The sneezes may be caused by environmental factors such as dust in the air. Their little noses are also getting used to the smells of the world.

And you can’t time your sneezes or tell them to wait till you’re done swallowing, can you?

I’ve had my fair share of instant-polka-dots-moments when I have been sprinkled with food particles or when the sneezes come and the baby’s mouth is full of porridge.

For infants, the sneezes or a cough might cause them to choke leading to milk coming out of the baby’s nose when breastfeeding.

Baby is overfeeding

If your baby has a good appetite, chances are very high that he doesn’t know when he’s had enough. He just keeps at it until the milk comes out through the nose.

Related:Can You Overfeed a Breastfed Baby?

A man holding a newborn

How To Stop Milk From Coming Out Through The Baby’s Nose

Change the nursing atmosphere

Is your baby curious and easily distracted? Move to a quieter and calmer room. It helped me to have a specific breastfeeding chair in a quiet room.

The moment I got on that chair he knew it was feasting time. Ask your family members not to disturb you when you’re on the feeding throne.

Learn his ‘I’m full’ queues and do not overfeed him

There is definitely going to be some major spitting happening if the little tummy banks are broken.

Learn your baby’s first cue of being full and stop feeding them immediately.

Burp him religiously

Burp him with every feed. Use all the tricks in the book and out of the box, but do not put him down to sleep if he has not burped yet. If your baby is hard to burp, read this.

Keep the baby upright after feeding

Do not move the baby around or suddenly shift him after feeds.

Keep him upright for at least 30 minutes before he can get into any active movements. Wear him for a still moment that allows you to bond.

Keep the diaper and shorts loose

Any pressure on the stomach can facilitate spitting up. After feeding, keep the baby’s diaper and clothes loose especially around the tummy.

No tummy time after feeding

Baby lying on tummy

Do not put the baby down for his tummy time immediately after his feed.

If he falls asleep, do not put him on his stomach. Chances of the milk coming up are higher when he’s on his stomach. Sleeping on his side is the best.

SEE ALSO: How To Choose The Best Tummy Time Mats

Nasal Regurgitation In Newborns Survival Guide

Regurgitation is food moving backward from the stomach into the mouth.

If there is no proven medical condition as the cause of the nasal regurgitation in newborns, then it’s called functional infant regurgitation.

It may be normal, but it’s also scary especially for a new mother. If your baby spits up milk through his nose, the following steps can help.

Do not panic

Keep calm and hold your baby. Screaming and panic dialing the pediatrician is not the best reaction. You may scare the baby and cause unnecessary anxiety.

Clean him up and reassure him

You may not know what to do when milk comes from the baby’s nose, but remember the baby is just as confused as you are.

You’re not the only one scared by the spitting, the baby may also get a little shocked by the occurrence.

If you’ve had your lunch juices come up to your nose and throat, you know how uncomfortable that feels.

Give the baby some skin-to-skin contact, sing him a soothing song, or sit with him on a rocking chair.

Use age appropriate nipple

For bottle-fed babies, get a nipple that is right for his age. Often, most nipples are marked according to the age on the package or on the nipple itself.

A nipple with a big hole will produce a lot of milk which may increase the chances of spitting up.

These are the best baby bottles with a nipple that mimics mom’s nipple.

Give him shorter feeds

If the baby loves to nurse for 30 minutes non-stop, break the feeding times to give him time to breathe and digest.

Feed for only a couple of minutes and let him rest. This will give the milk enough time to settle and reduce the chances of spitting up.

DO NOT delay feeding

Ensure you feed your infant on time. Delayed feedings may make your baby hurriedly gulp down milk, which can increase the bouts of spit up through the nose.

Once the baby falls asleep, put him on his back in the crib

Not only does this reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), but it will also cut back on the spit ups.

The risk of choking should milk come out of baby’s nose is greatly minimized with the baby sleeping on their back.


One of the most important take-away point while searching for what to do when milk comes from the baby’s nose is knowing when it’s not normal.

Is the baby spitting up bloody milk? Does the baby refuse to feed again after the reflux? Is the baby not gaining weight as is expected?

If the answers to these questions are in the affirmative, the baby needs to see a pediatrician. It’s always safe to be sure.


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1 thought on “What To Do When Milk Comes From The Baby’s Nose”

  1. kasingahgeorgina@gmail.com

    I’ve really learnt a lot,as a new mom I get so much worried about my baby’s well-being but now I’m very happy knowing that I don’t have to be so much worried. Thank you so much

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