Babies can sometimes experience regurgitation, which means the voluntary or involuntary bringing up of stomach contents. Understanding why babies regurgitate can help you navigate it with confidence.


Immature Digestive System

Babies between the ages of 6 to 12 months, the typical starting point for Baby-Led Weaning (BLW), often experience regurgitation due to their immature digestive systems. The digestive system undergoes significant developmental changes during infancy, and this process is not yet complete during the BLW stage. One key player in this system is the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscular ring that separates the stomach from the esophagus. In young infants, the LES may not fully close or function as efficiently as it does in adults. This developmental immaturity means that the LES may occasionally relax or allow small amounts of stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus, leading to regurgitation.

The transition to solid foods during BLW introduces new challenges to this still-maturing digestive system. The introduction of various textures and consistencies can sometimes trigger the LES to relax further, especially if the baby hasn’t yet fully adapted to managing these new foods. As a result, regurgitation can occur as the digestive system navigates these changes. It’s important for parents to understand that this regurgitation is a normal part of a baby’s developmental process and is not necessarily a cause for concern. Babies’ digestive systems gradually mature over time, and regurgitation tends to decrease as they grow and adapt to solid foods.


Exploration and Learning

Babies aged 6 to 12 months are naturally curious and driven to explore their surroundings, including food. This innate curiosity extends to their mouths, making self-feeding and experimentation with food a key aspect of BLW. During BLW, babies are encouraged to take control of their eating experiences, touching, tasting, and exploring various textures and flavors. While this hands-on approach is essential for their sensory development and learning, it can sometimes lead to regurgitation.

As babies explore and manipulate food in their mouths, they may inadvertently push small amounts back up into their mouths, leading to regurgitation. This is a normal part of the learning process as they figure out how to manage different foods and textures. The sensory experience of touching and tasting foods, combined with the development of oral motor skills, can sometimes result in food being temporarily pushed out of the mouth. Parents should view this as a natural part of their baby’s journey toward becoming a more skilled and independent eater. It’s essential for caregivers to remain patient and supportive during these exploration phases, allowing babies to learn and adapt at their own pace while minimizing any potential stress or discomfort associated with regurgitation.


Overeating or Rapid Eating

Regurgitation in babies can be influenced by the pace and quantity of their eating. Both spoon-fed and Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) babies may occasionally eat too quickly or consume more than their stomachs can comfortably accommodate. This can lead to regurgitation due to the pressure exerted on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

Overeating occurs when a baby consumes an excessive amount of food in a single feeding session. This overload of food can overwhelm the stomach’s capacity, causing the LES to relax and allowing stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. Rapid eating, on the other hand, involves consuming food too quickly, which can result in swallowing air along with the food. The swallowed air can further distend the stomach, potentially leading to regurgitation. Both overeating and rapid eating are common behaviors in babies, as they are still learning to regulate their food intake. Parents practicing BLW should be aware that these feeding habits can contribute to occasional regurgitation episodes. It’s important to offer appropriate portion sizes and encourage babies to eat at a comfortable pace, allowing them to develop healthy eating habits over time.



The position in which a baby is fed or sits during meals plays a crucial role in influencing regurgitation. Babies who are fed while lying flat or in a reclined position are more likely to experience regurgitation because gravity doesn’t assist in keeping stomach contents down.

When babies are placed in a flat or reclined position during feedings, gravity cannot effectively aid in keeping food in the stomach. This can lead to an increased likelihood of stomach contents flowing back up into the esophagus and potentially causing regurgitation. In contrast, babies who are positioned in an upright or slightly inclined manner during meals are better equipped to maintain proper control over their food intake. An upright posture allows gravity to work in their favor, helping to keep food in the stomach where it belongs. Parents practicing BLW should ensure that their baby is seated in a suitable, upright position during meals to minimize the risk of regurgitation. This simple adjustment can contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable feeding experience for both the baby and the caregiver.


Growth and Development

Babies experience significant growth and development during the 6 to 12-month age range, which often corresponds with the period when parents opt for Baby-Led Weaning (BLW). As babies grow, their digestive system undergoes maturation, and regurgitation tends to decrease with time. This natural progression is a result of the increasing coordination and strength of their muscles, including those involved in digestion.

During the early months of life, a baby’s digestive system is relatively immature. Muscles, including the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), may not function as efficiently as they do in older children and adults. However, as babies grow and develop, their muscles become stronger and more coordinated. This includes the muscles responsible for maintaining the integrity of the LES, which separates the stomach from the esophagus. As these muscles strengthen and become more adept at keeping stomach contents down, regurgitation episodes tend to decrease in frequency and intensity. Many babies naturally outgrow the phase of frequent regurgitation as their digestive system matures, allowing parents practicing BLW to gradually experience fewer instances of regurgitation as their baby develops.


Food Texture and Consistency

The choice of food textures and consistencies offered during Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) can also influence the likelihood of regurgitation. Some foods may be more prone to regurgitation if they possess characteristics such as dryness, crumbliness, or a level of difficulty in swallowing without adequate chewing.

When introducing solid foods through BLW, it’s important to consider the readiness of the baby to handle different textures. Babies may initially struggle with foods that are excessively dry or crumbly, as these textures can be challenging to manage without well-developed chewing skills. When babies attempt to swallow such foods without adequate chewing, there is an increased likelihood of regurgitation occurring. Therefore, parents practicing BLW should select foods that align with their baby’s developmental stage and oral motor skills. Offering age-appropriate foods with textures that are manageable for their baby’s current capabilities can help reduce the risk of regurgitation during mealtimes. As the baby continues to develop chewing skills and adapt to a wider range of textures, regurgitation is likely to decrease naturally over time.


Parents opting for BLW should be aware that regurgitation is a common and typically harmless occurrence in babies as they explore food and develop their digestive systems. It’s important to create a positive mealtime environment, ensure proper seating and positioning during meals, and allow babies to eat at their own pace. If regurgitation is frequent, painful, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a pediatrician for a thorough evaluation and guidance.