6 Rules For Parents With A Spit-Up Baby

by Jennifer Craven
Originally Published: 
Baby being held by mother's hands and smiling with its head tilted to the side
South_agency / iStock

If you’ve ever picked up your baby and then heard the all-too-familiar “splat” on the floor, or if you’ve ever gone through more than five outfit changes in a day, you probably have a spit-up baby. Spit-up stinks — literally and figuratively. And parents of these little creatures need to figure out how to navigate the floodgates. As the mom of not one, not two, but three happy spitters, I consider myself a reluctant expert on the topic. Here are some of my tips:

1. Embrace all shades of white.

You know those fashion “rules” that say what colors you should and shouldn’t wear based on your personal skin tone or hair color? Yeah, throw those out the window. Your new favorite color is cream. Cream or any version of it — tan, off-white, beige — whatever you want to call it. Why? Because it matches the milky white liquid that you will be repeatedly doused with by your sweet, sweet child. Don’t even think of wearing black or any dark color, for that matter. The goal here is to make the puke stains on your clothes as discreet as possible. Never mind the fact that you smell like a spoiled gallon of milk, at least it won’t be (as) visible.

2. Get some quality burp cloths — and by “some,” I mean 35.

When your baby spits up puddles the diameter of a dinner plate, a thin, flimsy rag just isn’t going to do the trick. Take my advice and invest is some high-quality burp cloths. Look for ones that are thick and super-absorbent. Cloth diapers actually double well for whatever your kid is eliminating on both ends of his body. Get over the fact that they’re not cute. Cute is the last thing you’re worried about when you’re trying to protect your new (cream) J.Crew sweater.

3. Don’t shop at J.Crew.

Resist the urge to wear nice clothes — I mean, at least until your tiny puker is done spitting like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Realize that you will probably change your outfit multiple times per day, so there’s really no point in dressing to the nines. This goes for baby too: When your kid wears a bib 24/7 for the first eight months of life, no one needs to know that they’re actually wearing a Christmas onesie in April simply because everything else is in the laundry.

4. Find your favorite fragrance, and buy it in bulk.

So maybe you’ve figured out how to minimize the spit-up’s appearance, but let me tell you, the smell is harder to conceal. Everything reeks — and that includes not only you and your baby, but also your carpet, couch, bed, and car. My tip to you is to buy stock in your favorite candle brand. Burn those suckers around the clock, and you might be able to cover up a portion of the pungent aroma that has infiltrated your home.

5. Instruct others to proceed with caution.

When someone asks to hold your baby, the first thing out of your mouth will be “He spits. A lot.” You’ll toss a damp burp cloth over their shoulder and cross your fingers that maybe, just maybe, he’ll keep his lunch down for the 10 minutes it takes your great aunt to get her baby fix. But your little one has other plans — plans that involve regurgitating on anyone and everyone in proximity. So when that happens, just give a nervous laugh and say, “Well, you were warned!”

6. Keep calm, and don’t punch your friends.

There will undoubtedly be a friend who complains about her baby’s spit-up when in reality it’s literally the smallest dribble possible. Resist the urge to punch this friend in the throat for her annoying whining. True spitters — the kind you’re dealing with — are in a league of their own, and no one truly understands how maddening it is except for the parents who are soaked all day.

Dealing with spit-up all day, every day sucks — really freaking sucks. But as a wise person once said, this too shall pass. Eventually. Until then, embrace the “eau de baby” scent and get friendly with your washer and dryer.

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