Learning how to calm your baby with colic, lactose intolerance, spit-up, gas, fussiness, bloating, or normal reflux is important. See how to address common feeding issues with nurse and pediatrics hotline expert, Cheryl Clancy. She explores some easy tips for smoother feedings and takes you through the top 5 techniques for calming a fussy baby.


Cheryl Clancy, RN

Cheryl Clancy, RN

Cheri Clancy is a registered pediatric nurse and pediatric hotline expert. She has earned two masters degrees from the California College for Health Sciences and has been a keynote speaker and a presenter at numerous medical seminars. She is a member of many professional organizations including the American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, and Development Dimensions International.

Video Transcript

(Wording may vary slightly from the video.)

HOST: I'm Natalie, your host for The Inside Track, a series of videos from Enfamil that will help you learn about easing the feeding issues that may be affecting your baby. Like you, I'm a mom and I have just as many questions as you do.

With me is Cheri Clancy, a Board Certified Nurse and After Hours Pediatric Hotline expert who fields calls from concerned moms night after night.

CHERI: Yes, and feeding issues are probably the number one reasons moms call our hotline.

HOST: Sometimes it seems like feeding a baby is just one hurdle after another...gas, fussiness, spitting up.

CHERI: The first thing I tell moms is that a lot of these problems are really just common events in your baby's development. In fact, over 70% of babies experience feeding issues. The good news is you're not alone and most issues can be helped.

HOST: Can they also happen if you're breastfeeding?

CHERI: Absolutely and for breastfeeding moms, fussiness and gas can be caused by something in your diet. You might try holding off a while on spicy dishes along with gassy foods like cabbage, garlic, and broccoli to see if this helps. Eliminating caffeine, eggs, citrus and other dairy products can also make a difference. Whether you're breastfeeding or using formula it's also important to take time to burp your baby several times during a feeding — not just at the end. Don't bang on their upper shoulder, but pat on the lower back where the stomach actually is. Then work your way up from there. Somehow you don't see people burp this way, but it really helps to move the gas up and out of their system.

HOST: Really? I don't do it that way, but I'll give it a try!

CHERI: Massaging your baby's stomach can relieve gas pain or you can try holding him in your arm like this and use your hand to gently apply pressure on his stomach.

And if you're formula-feeding you might also ask your baby's doctor about formulas with partially broken-down proteins — or in other words formulas that have been partially hydrolyzed. These formulas are designed to help ease fussiness and gas.

HOST: When my daughter spit-up, I assumed that it was a problem. Turns out it wasn't, but could you give us some guidelines about how to know what's normal?

CHERI: It's not uncommon for a baby to spit-up regularly or even vomit occasionally.

I tell moms that babies tend to spit up less when they're fed in an upright position. So try keeping your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after feeding. If your arms get tired, it's fine to use a front pack, backpack, or infant seat. Or try smaller, more frequent feedings to keep from overfeeding. If you're formula feeding make sure the hole in the nipple isn't too big. If it is, try a slower flow nipple. Sometimes a formula change can reduce spit up significantly so ask your pediatrician if this might help your baby.

HOST: Lately I've heard a lot about babies with reflux. I always thought that was for older people.

CHERI: Not at all. Although many babies experience reflux, it can still cause a lot of gas and pain. But if you hold your baby upright it helps move gas out of the body and reduces heartburn. And although it sounds old fashioned, a warm towel or warm water bottle on the baby's stomach may also be soothing.

HOST: I'm curious, Cheri, about what question you hear over and over again.

CHERI: "Why is my baby crying?" I hear that a whole lot.

HOST: Do those babies often have colic?

CHERI: When that fussiness and crying is extreme it's called colic. Did you know that colic most often begins at the same time every day? And the fussiness usually kicks in around dinnertime? So I'm going to give you the inside scoop on some comforting tips so your evening might go a little more smoothly. The first technique, and one of the most obvious, is holding your child. The more hours a baby is held, even early in the day, the less time he may spend being fussy in the evening. My second tip is to gently rock your baby. Rocking is very calming and can also help your baby pass gas. Number 3: Singing. Lullabies can be powerfully calming to your baby. Or play CDs of soothing songs. Next is motion. In fact, there are devices that help mimic the motion of a car since so many moms use a car ride to calm their babies. And number 5-sound. Did you know that babies can feel lonely? White noise can help fill up the space they feel. So try a white noise machine or a fan which makes a similar sound.

HOST: My brother's baby was calmed by the sound of the vacuum cleaner so he actually made a recording of it! Thanks Cheri. Now all we need is your phone number and we'll all breathe a little easier! Using some of these tips to comfort your fussy baby is a great first step and hopefully will ease the problem. If not, talk to your pediatrician who may recommend a feeding change. And to learn more about Exploring Options be sure and join us next time when renowned pediatrician and author, Dr. Gary Morchower gives you The Inside Track about some products that can help get your baby back on track.