Projectile vomiting is dangerous in babies. Not only are parents easy targets around such a baby, but this type of forceful vomiting could indicate something more serious about the baby's stomach. Doctors worry about this type of vomiting because it could be a sign of pyloric stenosis. Pyloric stenosis is when the baby's stomach muscle is too tight to allow food to pass through the stomach into the intestines.
This condition is potentially life threatening because it could cause the baby to become dehydrated and lose weight. Pyloric stenosis is more common in boys, but it can happen in either gender. It usually doesn't affect the baby right from birth, but develops slowly and finally rears its ugly head when the baby is three to six weeks old.
All babies spit up in large quantities at one time or another. Sometimes the milk even comes out of their noses. If forceful vomiting is infrequent, there is usually no cause for concern. However, if you see that the frequency of vomiting is increasing and your baby is unable to keep milk down, call your pediatrician.
Babies who are affected with pyloric stenosis initially tolerate feeding just fine, but they start throwing up around four weeks old. This vomiting gradually increases in frequency and force until it eventually occurs after almost every feeding. The baby usually appears very hungry but cannot keep the milk down. The projectile strength is impressive. The spit-up is large in quantity and can literally shoot across the room and splatter against the wall. If your baby is doing this, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Pyloric stenosis can be easily cured with a relatively small surgical procedure that takes less than an hour for an experienced surgeon to complete. Your baby might not be able to feed immediately after the surgery, but recovery is typically rapid. Most babies leave the hospital after only a day or two.