Spit-Up vs Vomit: Difference and Comparison

It can be hard to differentiate between spit-up and vomit as they seem pretty similar, but there’s a need to monitor signs to see the difference between them. Besides, it is normal for infants to spit, yet vomiting can be a cause of concern. So, observing temperature and signs along with this condition can help a lot in understanding what’s happening. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Spit-up is a mild, involuntary release of stomach contents, occurring in infants due to an immature digestive system.
  2. Vomit is a forceful expulsion of stomach contents, caused by illness, food poisoning, or other factors in children and adults.
  3. Spit-up does not require medical attention, whereas vomiting may need intervention if it persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

Spit-Up vs Vomit 

Spit-up is a common occurrence in infants and young babies, caused by overfeeding, swallowing air, or immature digestive function. Vomiting is a forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth. It is more serious than spit-up and can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Spit Up vs Vomit
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Spit-up is a slow and smooth liquid ejection from the mouth without any discomfort. It is also related to food. Moreover, spit-up is harmless. Since it is part of an infant’s natural growth and development, it is very little in quantity. But, it can be disgusting and surprising for many individuals. Besides, it can happen when a baby is neither eating nor swallowing, thereby opening the sphincter that, results in spit-up. 

Vomit is the expulsion of liquid forcefully with gastric contents from the mouth, accompanying discomfort or other signs of distress. It is not natural for anyone. Thus,  there may be an underlying cause for pain. Furthermore, as for the quantity, it is plentiful. In addition, there may be signs of temperature change and change in appetite.  

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison Spit-upVomit
Definition Spit-up is a slow and smooth liquid ejection from the mouth without any discomfort or distress. Vomit is the expulsion of liquid forcefully with gastric contents with discomfort and distress.
HarmlessSpit-up is harmless.Vomit can be harmful. 
Discomfort Spit-up is without any discomfort. Vomit is with discomfort and distress. 
QuantitySpit-up is lesser in quantity.Vomit is plentiful. 
ChangeSpit-up is not associated with abnormal change. Vomit comes along with a change in temperature and appetite. 
NaturalSpit-up is a natural part of an infant’s growth. Vomit is not. 

What is Spit-Up?

Spit-up is a slow and smooth liquid ejected from the mouth without any discomfort. It is very natural and a part of an infant’s growth and development. But always look out for other signs as well. Usually, the baby doesn’t react at all while spit-up. It just happens in a fraction of a second. Furthermore, it is harmless but can be disgusting and surprising for many individuals. 

Spit-up is also related to food that comes out after swallowing or eating any food. Most infants spit up as there’s uneven pressure in their stomach which may lead to spit-up. However, the quantity is considerably less. At the end of the food pipe, there’s a sphincter that opens to the stomach. But, sometimes, it opens up and results in the coming back of food through food, resulting in spit-up. The reason behind this is the change in pressure between the chest and abdomen. 

That also explains the smooth and slower expulsion from the mouth rather than the violent expulsion in vomit. So, this is very common during an infant’s growth and development. It can also occur because of drinking too much milk, drinking fast, and swallowing a lot of air with it. Therefore, there’s a need for burping an infant every time they get fed. Moreover, it is harmless unless it occurs very frequently. And it doesn’t affect an infant much if it happens moderately. 

spit up

What is Vomit?

Vomit is the expulsion of liquid forcefully with gastric contents with signs of discomfort and distress.  It happens due to underlying health conditions, so check it as soon as possible. During spit-up, an infant doesn’t react as it doesn’t accompany any signs of discomfort or distress, although an infant cries or squirms while vomiting as it’s violent in nature and forceful. It also can be accompanied by a change in temperature and a change in appetite. 

If vomiting is persistent, seek medical consultation to find its underlying cause. Vomit is forceful, with a large quantity of liquid coming out. It may happen due to overfeeding, formula intolerance, etc. Therefore, it is also related to food similar to spit up as liquid going to the stomach but coming out of the stomach. 

To an extent, if you observe how much is fed to an infant or recognize the difference when there’s a change in the formula. Sometimes, these affect an infant and result in vomiting. Moreover, it seems disgusting to a growing, but it also disgusts an infant. Therefore they show a sign of discomfort and distress as well. 

vomit

Main Differences Between Spit-Up and Vomit

Spit-up and vomit may seem similar, but they are very different. Many infants experience these a lot. Spit-up is much more natural than vomiting. Since it is considered a natural part of an infant’s growth and development, both will be disgusting for many individuals. Moreover, keep an eye on abnormal changes and signs.

  1. Spit-up is a slow and smooth liquid ejection from the mouth without any discomfort or distress. Meanwhile, vomit is the expulsion of liquid forcefully with gastric contents with discomfort and distress. 
  2. Spit-up is harmless, while vomit can be harmful if persistent. 
  3. Spit-up is without any discomfort or distress. On the other hand, vomiting is with discomfort and distress. 
  4. Spit-up is not much in quantity, while vomit is plentiful. 
  5. In spit-up, there’s no abnormal change. Meanwhile, there’s a change in temperature and appetite. 
  6. Spit-up is natural during an infant’s growth, while vomiting is not. 
Difference Between Spit Up and Vomit
References
  1. https://journals.lww.com/advancesinneonatalcare/Fulltext/2004/08000/Parent_s_Guide_To_Gastroesophageal_Reflux.12.aspx
  2. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/bfm.2008.9994

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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