During the first few months with a new baby there are many learning curves. Every baby is different, though not every experience is as blissful as we hope.
Sometimes baby cries more than we would expect, and the reason can be hard to figure out. It can be extremely stressful and very concerning for parents – not to mention to impact that loss of sleep can have on your mental health and ability to cope!
So working out how to help a baby who is crying excessively is good for both the baby AND the parent. But where to start? Fortunately, this phase will normally pass on its own – but there are some things to check to see if you can relieve your baby’s discomfort on your own, or if you need to get the advice of a health expert.
Common causes of baby crying after feeding:
- Wind or Gas: When taking in breast milk or formula, a baby also swallows air. It can sometimes take as long as thirty minutes to help release the excess within the stomach. At that time, the pain intensifies and causes discomfort. If your baby cries after feeding and burping, your baby may have swallowed too much air. Try changing your position and burp your little one again. Symptoms are often relieved with tummy massages such as bicycle movements, gripe water, or simple over the counter solutions to help mobilize the excess air bubbles. Burping a baby in between feeds is also a useful preventative tool. If you are using formula, switching to a different organic formula might help.
- Teething: Teething is something babies (and parents) dread as the soreness and pain in the gums can cause lots of tears and sleepless nights. Feeding can be especially tough because babies may be extra fussy, even when eating the thing they usually love. Sucking motions can also cause undue discomfort, so it might be growing pains. Offering baby a cold teething toy before and after feeds, or a dummy, may help soothe gums long enough for a successful feeding. For a long-term solution, ask your pediatrician if infant tylenol is recommended and the appropriate dose for your baby.
- Tired: Why is my baby so fussy after eating? This could be tiredness. That’s a common question mums and dads often ask when there is no apparent reason. It may very well be that your baby is tired or stressed out. Babies who are breastfed often go through cluster feeding periods where they request to be fed more often to increase mum’s milk production in order to satiate a bigger appetite. Due to cluster feeding, breastfed babies don’t get as much rest as those who are formula-fed. This can make parents feel tired and stressed out, too. It should settle at the three-month mark. Keeping a nap routine and bedtime routine with winding down periods may sometimes help in making sure the baby and parents get more rest.
Crying that may signal an underlying issue:
- Acid Reflux: Acid Reflux is also sometimes referred to as GER (Gastroesophageal Reflux). As babies mostly consume a liquid-based diet, acid reflux is more common than parents realise. A higher rate of stomach acid production or taking in too much food can cause acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux happens when the esophageal sphincter between the esophagus and stomach fails to close as it should. Symptoms of acid reflux include stomach pain, coughing, frequent vomiting, gagging, crying, choking, spitting up, and noticeable weight loss. If your baby is showing signs of Acid Reflux, inform your pediatrician right away to start an evaluation for diagnosis and treatment.
- Food Allergies: If your baby cries after feeding, a food allergy may be causing the pain and discomfort. Food allergies are problematic for both breastfed and formula-fed babies. Mothers can pass food particles to babies through their milk. If a formula has gluten, it can also occur. If a baby is allergic to food like milk, wheat, soy, corn, or nuts, a feeding can trigger a reaction. Often, skin irritations like eczema are signs of a dietary intolerance.
- Colic: One in five babies under three months of age show symptoms of having colic. While there is no medical cause nor cure, crying for hours and days without a reason is not unusual. Doctors speculate that an underdeveloped digestive system, food allergies, feeding amount, or anxiety could be the cause. Not knowing the cause leads to stress and sleepless nights. Baby massage experts say that massage can help alleviate colic symptoms – find baby massage classes near you.
- Thrush: Thrush is caused by a yeast called Candida Albicans. Don’t worry! While not harmful, it is painful. When it grows in excess, it causes white sores on the gums, tongue, and mouth. As they are bumps, they are tender, so whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, a nipple suction can irritate a baby’s mouth and cause pain.
Please talk to your Doctor or Health Visitor if you feel your baby is crying excessively after feeding, especially after ruling out common causes and remedies. Keeping a log with repetitive symptoms, a food diary, as well as consulting with health professional will help you to determine if your baby needs any changes to their diet or environment.
Disclaimer: We are not health experts and this article does not constitute medical advice – it has been written to help improve understanding. You should always seek the advice of a health professional before treating your baby in any way.