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Why Does Milk Come Out Of Newborn’s Nose

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Are you a new parent who has noticed that your newborn sometimes spits up milk out of their nose? Don’t worry, this is a common occurrence in many infants.

While it may be alarming to see, it is generally not a cause for concern. However, understanding why this happens and how to prevent it can help ease any worries you may have.

Newborns have special reflexes when it comes to swallowing that are different from adults. These reflexes are necessary for feeding and protecting the airways from choking or aspiration.

But sometimes, during feeding, milk can come back up through the esophagus and into the nasal cavity, causing it to come out of their nose.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why milk comes out of your newborn’s nose and what you can do about it.

Understanding Newborn Swallowing Reflexes

When your baby drinks milk, they have a natural instinct to swallow in order to get the milk down into their stomach. However, sometimes this reflex is not developed fully yet and can result in milk coming out of their nose instead of going down their throat.

This is because when your baby sucks on the nipple or bottle, it triggers a complex series of muscles in their mouth and throat to work together to move the milk towards their stomach. But if this process isn’t coordinated properly, some of the milk might enter their nasal passages instead.

This is why it’s important to keep an eye on your baby while they’re feeding and take breaks if necessary to allow them time to cough or sneeze out any excess milk that may have entered their nose.

Causes of Milk Coming Out of the Nose

If you notice milk coming out of your newborn’s nose during feeding, it could be due to their immature swallowing reflexes. This means that your baby may not be able to coordinate the movements necessary for successful swallowing.

Overfeeding can also cause milk to come out of the nose as your baby tries to manage an excessive amount of milk in their mouth.

Lastly, the position in which you feed your baby can also play a role in milk coming out of their nose. If your baby is lying too flat or at an awkward angle, gravity can cause milk to flow into their nasal cavity and result in it coming out of their nose.

Be sure to keep your baby propped up and at an appropriate angle during feeding time.

Immature Swallowing Reflexes

As babies learn to swallow, their reflexes may not be fully developed, leading to occasional spills. This is especially true for newborns who are still getting used to the process of feeding. When a baby drinks milk from a bottle or breast, they use their tongue and throat muscles to move the liquid towards the back of their mouth and down into their esophagus. However, if these muscles are not strong enough yet, some milk may end up going into the nasal passages instead.

One reason why a baby’s swallowing reflexes may be immature is simply because they are new to the world. They have never had to eat or drink before and so it takes time for them to figure out how everything works. Additionally, some babies may have medical conditions that affect their ability to swallow properly such as cleft palate or neurological disorders. In any case, it is important for parents to keep an eye on their baby’s feeding habits and seek medical attention if they notice anything unusual or concerning.

Babies can learn quicklyMay take time for reflexes to develop
Spills can be cleaned up easilyCan cause discomfort for baby
Parents can help by holding baby in proper position during feedingsMay require medical intervention in some cases Provides essential nutrients for growth and developmentCan be time-consuming for parents


You may be unknowingly overfeeding your baby, causing discomfort and potential health problems.

Newborns have tiny stomachs and can only consume small amounts of milk at a time.

If you continue to feed your baby even after they show signs of being full, they may end up swallowing too much milk, which can then come out through their nose.

Overfeeding can lead to other issues as well, such as colic and excessive weight gain.

It’s important to pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues and stop feeding them once they seem satisfied.

You can also try offering smaller amounts of milk more frequently throughout the day instead of large feedings all at once.

This will help prevent milk from coming out through their nose and promote healthy digestion for your little one.

Positioning During Feeding

Ensure your baby is positioned correctly during feeding to prevent discomfort and promote healthy digestion. The right position can help prevent milk from entering their nose.

The ideal position involves holding your baby close to you, with their head slightly elevated above the level of their stomach. This will allow gravity to work in your favor by keeping the milk in their tummy.

Another essential aspect of positioning is ensuring that your baby’s mouth is latched correctly onto your nipple. A shallow latch can cause a range of problems, including improper suction, which could lead to swallowing air or choking on milk.

To achieve a good latch, make sure that your baby’s lips are spread wide around the nipple and that they take in as much of the areola as possible into their mouth.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that both you and your baby enjoy a comfortable feeding experience without any unnecessary complications like milk coming out of their nose.

Prevention and Management

To prevent and manage milk coming out of your newborn’s nose, try keeping your little one upright while feeding and burping them frequently to avoid excess air intake. This will help ensure that the milk goes down their esophagus instead of up their nose.

Additionally, consider slowing down the feeding pace or using a smaller nipple size on the bottle to reduce the amount of milk being consumed at once.

If you’re breastfeeding, try adjusting your position or technique to ensure a proper latch and flow rate for your baby’s needs. Remember to always monitor your baby during feedings and contact a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about their breathing or overall health.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Now that you know how to prevent and manage milk coming out of your newborn’s nose, it’s important to recognize when it’s time to seek medical attention.

While some amount of milk coming out of the nose is normal, excessive amounts or frequent occurrences could be a sign of an underlying issue.

If your baby seems to be struggling with breathing while milk is coming out of their nose or if they turn blue or pale, seek immediate medical attention. These could be signs of respiratory distress and require prompt treatment.

Additionally, if your baby has a fever, appears lethargic, refuses to eat or drink, or exhibits other concerning symptoms along with milk coming out of their nose, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider.

Remember that as a parent, you know your child best. If something seems off or concerning about the frequency or severity of milk coming out of their nose, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help.

Your healthcare provider can assess your baby’s overall health and provide guidance on any necessary interventions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it typically take for a newborn to develop a strong swallowing reflex?

As a new parent, you might be wondering how long it typically takes for your newborn to develop a strong swallowing reflex. Generally, newborns begin to improve their swallowing reflex within the first few days of life.

By two months old, they should have developed the ability to swallow more efficiently and with less risk of milk coming out of their nose or causing them discomfort. However, every baby is different and may progress at their own pace, so it’s important to monitor your baby’s feeding habits and consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about their swallowing or feeding abilities.

Can the position in which a newborn is fed contribute to milk coming out of their nose?

When feeding your newborn, it’s important to pay attention to their position. If they’re not held in the correct position, milk can sometimes come out of their nose.

Make sure they’re upright and their head is supported during feedings. This will help them swallow properly and prevent any milk from going up their nasal passage.

By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your baby is comfortable and happy during feedings and minimize the chances of milk coming out of their nose.

Are there any particular foods or substances that a breastfeeding mother should avoid to prevent milk from coming out of their baby’s nose?

To prevent milk from coming out of your baby’s nose while breastfeeding, there are a few foods and substances you may want to avoid.

Spicy or acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and peppers can cause irritation in your baby’s delicate digestive system, leading to milk being expelled through their nose.

Additionally, alcohol and caffeine can also have negative effects on your baby’s ability to process breastmilk properly.

It’s best to stick with a balanced diet that includes plenty of water and nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, lean proteins, and leafy greens.

By being mindful of what you eat and drink while breastfeeding, you can help reduce the likelihood of milk coming out of your newborn’s nose during feedings.

Is it common for newborns to experience discomfort or pain when milk comes out of their nose?

If your newborn is experiencing discomfort or pain when milk comes out of their nose, it’s not uncommon. This can happen because the milk may be going down too quickly for them to handle, causing them to choke or gag.

It’s important to hold your baby upright during feedings and take breaks as needed to allow them to catch their breath.

Additionally, if you notice that your baby is consistently struggling with milk coming out of their nose, consider talking to their pediatrician for further guidance on how to prevent this from happening in the future.

Are there any long-term health consequences for a newborn who regularly experiences milk coming out of their nose?

If your newborn regularly experiences milk coming out of their nose, you may be wondering if there are any long-term health consequences.

It’s important to note that while it may seem concerning, this is actually quite common in newborns and typically not a cause for alarm. In most cases, milk coming out of the nose is simply a result of your baby’s developing digestive system and their inability to coordinate swallowing and breathing at the same time.

With time and practice, your baby will learn how to properly manage their feeding and lessen the likelihood of milk coming out of their nose. However, if you have concerns or notice any other symptoms, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician for further guidance and reassurance.


In conclusion, experiencing milk coming out of your newborn’s nose can be a common occurrence and isn’t usually a cause for concern. As a new parent, it’s important to understand the swallowing reflexes of your baby and how they develop over time.

It’s also helpful to know the potential causes of milk coming out of their nose, such as an overactive let-down or feeding position. By taking preventative measures, such as adjusting feeding positions and allowing breaks during feeding sessions, you can minimize the chances of milk coming out of your baby’s nose.

However, if you notice excessive or persistent nasal discharge or difficulty breathing in your newborn after feedings, it’s best to seek medical attention from a healthcare provider. Remember to always trust your instincts as a parent and seek help when needed.

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