What To Do When Milk Comes Out Of Baby’s Nose?

Milk Coming Out of Baby Nose

Spitting up milk is a common and normal occurrence in infants, especially during the first few months of life.

This behaviour is often referred to as “spitting up” or “reflux.”

It happens because the muscle between the oesophagus and the baby’s stomach called the lower oesophageal sphincter, is still developing and may not close tightly.

what to do when milk comes out of baby's nose

As a result, small amounts of breast milk or formula can sometimes flow back into the baby’s mouth, leading to spitting up.

This is generally considered normal unless it is associated with signs of discomfort, poor weight gain, or other symptoms that may indicate a more serious issue.

Reasons For Milk Coming Out Of Nose

Milk coming out of a baby’s nose during or after feeding can be a common occurrence and is usually not a cause for major concern, so don’t panic.

There are a few reasons why this might happen:

1. Overactive letdown: If a breastfeeding mother has a strong and forceful milk ejection reflex (letdown), the milk can flow quickly, and the baby may have difficulty keeping up with the flow, leading to milk coming out of the nose.

2. Fast feeding: Some babies may feed very quickly or eagerly, swallowing air along with the milk. This air can create pressure and force milk to come out through the nose.

3. Positioning during feeding: If the baby’s head is not positioned correctly during feeding, it may be more challenging for them to manage the milk flow, and some may end up coming out of the nose.

4. Residual milk in the mouth: Babies might retain some milk in their mouths after feeding, and when they burp or cough, this milk can be expelled through the nose.

5. Normal development: In the early months, babies are still developing the coordination of their sucking and swallowing reflexes. This developmental process may contribute to occasional instances of milk coming out of the nose.

How To Respond And Comfort Measures

Parents, if you notice your baby occasionally spitting milk or it comes out of their nose during feeds, don’t worry. This is often a normal part of infant development.

Gently comfort your baby, ensure proper feeding techniques, and maintain a calm demeanour. It can happen due to factors like an overactive letdown, fast feeding, or simply as your baby learns to coordinate swallowing.

If your baby is otherwise healthy and thriving, these incidents are generally nothing to worry about. Trust your instincts, enjoy your parenting journey, and consult your paediatrician if you have persistent concerns.

Remember, every baby is unique, and these small challenges are a natural part of the parenting experience.

Clearing The Nose Gently

Clearing a baby’s nose gently is important to ensure their comfort, especially if they are congested.

To do this, you can use a bulb syringe or a nasal aspirator. Begin by squeezing the bulb, then gently insert the tip into one nostril while closing the other. Slowly release the bulb to create suction, and then remove any mucus. Repeat the process on the other nostril. Be cautious not to insert the syringe too far, and avoid excessive suction to prevent irritation.

Additionally, saline drops can help loosen mucus before using the bulb syringe. Always consult with your paediatrician if you have concerns about nasal congestion or if your baby is having difficulty breathing.

what to do when milk comes out of baby's nose

Prevention Strategies: Adjusting Feeding Positions

When babies experience nasal congestion, adjusting their feeding positions can make a significant difference.

Hold the baby upright during feeds to help minimise the chances of milk flowing into the nose. Holding your baby in a more vertical orientation can aid in digestion and reduce the likelihood of reflux. Experiment with different angles to find what works best for your little one.

Additionally, ensuring a good latch during breastfeeding or adjusting the bottle angle for bottle-fed babies can contribute to a smoother feeding experience.

These subtle changes can help ease potential discomfort associated with congestion and enhance the overall feeding process for both you and your baby.

Monitoring Feeding Pace

Pay attention to how quickly your baby is feeding and consider adjusting the pace if it seems too rapid.

A slow and steady feeding pace allows your baby to better manage the milk flow, reducing the likelihood of spillage into the nose. If you’re breastfeeding, ensure a proper latch to regulate the flow. If bottle-feeding, use a nipple with an appropriate flow rate.

Taking breaks during feeds to allow your newborn baby to swallow and breathe comfortably can also be beneficial.

When To Seek Professional Advice

While occasional milk coming out of the nose is typically normal, certain signs may warrant attention.

If your baby consistently appears uncomfortable during or after feeds, experiences difficulty breathing, shows signs of dehydration, exhibits poor weight gain, or if the spitting up becomes excessive or forceful, it’s advisable to consult a paediatrician.

Additionally, if you notice persistent nasal congestion or other unusual symptoms, seeking professional guidance is essential.

Trust your instincts as a parent, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor immediately for personalised advice and reassurance if you have concerns about your baby’s well-being.

Dos And Donts For Handling Milk Coming Out Of Nose

1. Stay Calm: Keep a calm and composed demeanour. Babies can pick up on your energy, and staying relaxed will help reassure them.

2. Comfort the Baby: Gently comfort and soothe your baby. Hold them in an upright position to help with any potential discomfort.

3. Clear the Nose Gently: Use a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator to clear the baby’s nose if necessary. This can aid breathing and prevent any milk residue.

4. Adjust Feeding Position: Consider a slightly more upright feeding position to minimise the chance of milk flowing into the nose and minimise spit-up occurrences.

5. Monitor Feeding Pace: Pay attention to the baby’s feeding pace and make adjustments to ensure a comfortable and manageable flow.

what to do when milk comes out of baby's nose

While it’s essential to respond promptly and calmly, there are certain things to avoid. Refrain from panicking, as this can escalate the baby’s distress.

Avoid forceful suction with a bulb syringe, as this can irritate. Additionally, don’t abruptly stop the feeding process; instead, adjust the feeding position or pace gradually.

Lastly, resist the urge to over analyse why your baby spits occasionally unless accompanied by persistent signs of discomfort or other concerning symptoms. If in doubt, always get professional medical advice on your baby’s unique needs and development.