Common feeding issues usually occur because your baby's digestive system is still developing, especially during her first 3 to 4 months. One way to gauge whether there's something more behind your baby's discomfort is to observe how she acts when you feed her or shortly afterward.

Here are a few of the more common feeding issues and how to deal with them:

Feeding Issues: Hiccups

Most babies hiccup after meals, especially in the first few months. Hiccups aren't necessarily an indication  of tummy-aches or indigestion.

Tip: Try burping her, in case she has air in her tummy.

Feeding Issues: Spitting Up

Babies commonly spit up after meals. She may have swallowed air while feeding. Maybe she was overstimulated, overfed, or rushed through a feeding. Or is responding to a change in the environment. Also, spitting up can occur if the formula is flowing too fast into your baby's mouth. As your baby's motor coordination and muscle tone strengthen, food will be held down better. Spitting-up peaks around 1 to 4 months of age and usually stops by 12 months. 

Tips:

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

Feeding Issues: Fussiness and Gas

When a baby is born, her digestive system is still maturing, and continues to develop over the first several months. Until it's mature, her digestive system may produce extra gas. Additionally, air swallowed during feedings or while crying can become trapped in the digestive tract, contributing to discomfort.

Tips:

  • Try burping her, in case she has air in her tummy.
  • Give her smaller and more frequent feedings.
  • Make each feeding as calm and relaxed as possible.
  • If your baby is swallowing too much air during feeding, check the nipple to see if it is clogged, or if she's ready for a faster-flow nipple.
  • Also check the angle at which you're holding the bottle during feeding. Always tip the bottle downward into your baby's mouth at a 45° angle with the nipple full of milk, not air.
  • Avoid interruptions during feedings.
  • Ask your baby's doctor about special formulas designed for gassy or fussy babies, such as Enfamil Gentlease®.

Feeding Issues: Colic

Long periods of inconsolable crying, often at the same time of day. Fussiness. Issues with sleep. Gas. If these sound familiar, your baby may have colic, possibly from a protein allergy, so talk to your baby's doctor about it.

Tips:

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

Feeding Issues: Stooling Issues

Formula-fed babies generally have at least one bowel movement a day, which ranges from yellow to brown to green in color and has the consistency of peanut butter.

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

Tips:

  • If you are concerned about her stools, call her doctor.
  • Ask your baby's doctor about special formulas designed to gently help your baby's digestive system promote soft, comfortable stools, such as Enfamil® Reguline®.

Feeding Issues: Sleepiness

Some babies have trouble staying awake long enough to eat well. You'll know your baby is getting enough to eat if she:

  • Eats 8+ times per day in the first 2-3 weeks
  • Has 6-8 wet diapers per day
  • Has 1-3 bowel movements per day

Tips:

If your baby is too sleepy to eat, try:

  • Looking at her, touching her and talking to her in varying tones
  • Undressing her to stimulate alertness
  • Gently rubbing the sole of her foot
  • Talking to your baby's doctor

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

Want to learn more about cow's milk protein allergy? Visit our Cow's Milk Allergy Center.