Vomiting in Infants

Vomiting is very common in babies. Sometimes it can be entirely normal, like when babies spit up mouthfuls of breastmilk or formula after eating. Sometimes it can be a sign of illness or a blockage somewhere in the intestines. Less commonly, it can even be a sign of accidental poisoning or be caused by a bad bump to the head.

If your child is younger than one year and is vomiting, this health decision guide will help you understand more about what may be causing it and help you know when to call your doctor. Please note, this guide is not meant to take the place of a visit to your doctor's office.

Click here to begin.

Vomiting sometimes is a sign of serious illness.

Do any of the following statements describe your baby?

  • He has a fever (a rectal temperature reading of 100.4F or higher).

  • His stomach looks swollen or hard, and is painful to the touch.

  • He is acting like his head hurts (touching it, holding it) or he is having difficulty moving his head.

  • He is refusing to drink or eat.

  • He hasn't had wet diaper for more than six hours.

  • He has not had a bowel movement in several days.

  • He seems extremely tired or weak.

  • He seems confused.

  • He is very cranky (irritable).

  • He has dark red spots on his skin that don't get paler when you press on them.

Yes, my baby has one or more of these symptoms.

No, this does not describe my baby.

Your baby is vomiting but does not have a fever, is moving his head, arms and legs normally, is eating and drinking, and does not seem extremely tired, confused, or cranky. That is reassuring.

Do any of the following statements describe your baby's vomit?

  • The vomit is greenish-yellow.

  • There is blood in the vomit.

  • The vomit looks like coffee grounds.

Yes, this describes my baby's vomit.

No, that does not describe my baby's vomit.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »