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6 Common Feeding Difficulties

6 Common Feeding Difficulties

Maybe your baby’s a champion eater. Lucky you! But if your kiddo is like many babies, you'll probably run into a few baby feeding issues.

Medically reviewed by a board-certified pediatrician

It’s common for feeding issues to occur in the first three or four months of your little one’s life. Usually, this happens because your baby's digestive system’s still developing. It may be helpful to know what’s “normal” and what may need more evaluation.

Here are six common feeding difficulties and how to help ease them:

1. Feeding difficulties: Hiccups

Most babies hiccup after meals, especially in the first few months. Hiccups don’t typically indicate tummy-aches or indigestion, so don’t worry.


  • Try burping, your baby may have air trapped in their tummy

2. Feeding difficulties: Spitting up

Babies may spit up after meals. It’s common. It can be from swallowing air while feeding, being overstimulated, overfed, rushing through a feeding, or from responding to a change in their environment. It can also happen if the formula flows into their mouth too quickly. But, as their motor coordination and muscle tone strengthen, they’ll likely start to hold food down better.

Spitting up typically peaks around one to four months and reduces a lot by 12 months.


  • Offer smaller, more frequent feedings
  • Make feeding time as calm and relaxed as possible
  • Avoid interruptions
  • Burp your baby often
  • To check the flow, turn the bottle upside down. It should come out one drop at a time, not a steady stream. To change the flow, adjust the tightness of the bottle-top screw ring or switch to a slower-flow nipple
  • Hold or safely position your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after feeding
  • Plan some low-key time after feedings to help food settle
  • If spitting up continues, ask your doctor about thickened formulas designed to reduce spit up, such as Enfamil A.R.®


3. Feeding difficulties: Fussiness and gas

Your baby’s digestive system is still developing over the first several months. Until it's mature, it may produce extra gas. Additionally, air swallowed during feedings or while crying can become trapped in the digestive tract, making them even more uncomfortable.


  • Try burping, in case your baby has air in their tummy
  • Offer smaller, more frequent feedings
  • Make feeding time as calm and relaxed as possible
  • If your baby swallows too much air during feeding, check the nipple to see if it’s clogged, or if your baby’s ready for a faster-flow nipple
  • Check the angle you hold the bottle during feeding. It’s best to tip the bottle downward at a 45 degree angle with the nipple full of milk, not air
  • Avoid interruptions during feedings
  • Ask your doctor about special formulas designed for easing gas or fussiness, such as Enfamil NeuroPro™ Gentlease®

4. Feeding difficulties: Colic

Trouble getting them to sleep? Fussiness? Gas? Inconsolable crying for long stretches of time, often at the same time of day? If any of this sounds familiar, your baby may have colic. Most kids outgrow this by three to four months old. Although, some colic may be caused by a protein allergy. Consult with your baby’s pediatrician to properly identify the cause of your baby’s feeding issues.


  • Wrap your baby securely in a blanket or body carrier and gently rock them
  • Walk around
  • Put them in a car seat and take them for a drive
  • Give them a bottle. Don't let your baby go hungry for long periods of time
  • Try a pacifier
  • Play soothing music
  • Ask your doctor about hypoallergenic formula options for babies with colic due to cow's milk protein allergy, such as Nutramigen® with Enflora™ LGG®*

5. Feeding difficulties: Pooping Issues

Formula-fed babies generally have at least one bowel movement a day. The color you find in their diaper can range from yellow to brown to green and can have the consistency of peanut butter. Sorry to ruin that food for you!

Grunting noises and strained faces are common, but if your infant seems especially uneasy or if you see blood in their stool, call your pediatrician.


  • Ask your doctor about special formulas designed to gently help your baby's digestive system by promoting soft, comfortable stools, such as Enfamil® Reguline®

6. Feeding difficulties: Sleepiness

Some babies have trouble staying awake long enough to eat enough. A general rule of thumb when it comes to sleeping and eating is: eight or more feedings a day in the first two to three weeks, six to eight wet diapers, and one to three bowel movements, daily. But, if your baby seems too sleepy to eat, try out these suggestions:


  • Look, touch, and talk to your baby in varying tones
  • Undress them for a little extra stimulation
  • Gently rub the sole of their foot
  • Talk to your baby's doctor

Now you know some tips to help ease these six common feeding difficulties and your baby’s sensitive tummy. If you’ve got other questions, talk to your pediatrician. Or, if you want additional information, we’ve got more to say about spitting up, fussiness and gas, or pooping problems. Happy feeding!

*LGG is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S.