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Why Is My Baby So Fussy?

Why Is My Baby So Fussy?

Some babies are extra fussy. Colic, gas, and allergies are a few culprits of this common experience.

Fussiness can be frustrating for both you and your baby. You want to comfort your little one, but it can be hard to figure out why they’re crying.

Crying and fussiness are normal. It’s your baby’s way of communicating that something’s not quite right. Your baby may be hungry, overstimulated, or have an uncomfortable diaper rash. Here are some other reasons your little one may be fussy and tips to help soothe them.

Your baby might have colic

Some healthy babies cry more than others for no apparent reason. This is called colic, and it's most common in babies age six weeks through four months.

Colic is when a baby cries…

  • More than three hours a day
  • More than three days a week
  • For more than three weeks

The baby cries inconsolably and may clench their fists and pass gas.

Causes of colic

Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes colic, but it could be connected to overstimulation and the fact that babies are still learning to self-soothe.

How to ease colic

Here are some tips for soothing a colicky baby:

  • Rock your baby.
  • Try giving them a pacifier.
  • Hold, cuddle, and swaddle your baby.
  • Gently rub your baby’s back as they lay tummy-down across your knees.
  • Turn on soothing sounds like a white noise machine or go for a ride in the car.
  • Avoid overfeeding them.

Your baby might have gas

Like all of us, your baby will have gas. And while this is natural, your little one may experience gas issues, bloating, and pressure if those tiny tummy air bubbles aren't released. That discomfort can lead to crying and fussiness.

Causes of gas in babies

In most cases, gas is harmless and expected. Your baby has an immature digestive system that may not break down food completely. They could also be swallowing air when sucking on the breast or bottle. Less common causes of excessive gas are hypersensitivity to a food in mom’s diet, a cow’s milk protein sensitivity, or an underlying health condition such as reflux.

How to ease baby gas

You can try the following to help ease your baby’s gas:

  • Burp your baby during and after feeding.
  • Try tummy time, which can gently pressure their belly to promote gas release.
  • Try to minimize air swallowing during feeding by checking that your baby’s lips are sealed around the areola when breastfeeding or around the base of the nipple if bottle feeding.
  • Do a bicycle motion with your baby’s legs. Lay them on their back and move their legs in a circular motion.
  • If you’re breastfeeding and have a hunch that something in your diet could be linked to your baby’s gas, try to eliminate the suspected food from your diet for a week. Dairy and spicy foods are frequent considered culprits. Check with your doctor first before changing your diet.

Your baby may have cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA)

Is your baby spitting up, vomiting, and crying uncontrollably? These could signify an allergy or intolerance to cow’s milk protein. CMPA is the most common food allergy in babies, and while it’s rarer for breastfed babies, if your little one does have a sensitivity to the protein, they will be fussy and cry—a lot. It may seem like your baby has severe colic. The crying may be accompanied by the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash, including eczema or hives
  • Blood or mucus in stool
  • Face swelling
  • Runny nose
  • In severe cases, a baby may have breathing difficulties called anaphylaxis. This medical emergency requires immediate treatment, usually an injection of epinephrine.

Having a cow’s milk protein allergy means that your baby’s immune system triggers an adverse response (an allergic issue) when exposed to the protein in cow’s milk. Unlike lactose intolerance, when the body can't easily break down or digest lactose, a sugar found in milk products, CMPA causes injury to the stomach and intestines. Lactose intolerance does not involve the immune system.

Managing CMPA

Try to see your pediatrician as soon as possible if you believe your baby may have CMPA.

  • If you’re feeding your baby formula, your doctor will probably recommend switching to a hypoallergenic formula. Check with your pediatrician before changing formulas.
  • Breastfeeding mamas may be suggested to eliminate dairy products from their diet, as cow’s milk proteins can be passed to the baby through breast milk. Soy products can produce a similar allergic reaction in babies with CMPA, so those may need to be avoided as well. Don’t change your diet before speaking with your doctor.

Why do babies get fussy at night?

As many already exhausted moms and dads know, babies can be fussy at all hours of the day and night. But you may notice that your little one is particularly distressed in the evening. Not so affectionately known as the “witching hours,” here are some potential reasons your baby may get fussier at night.

Slower milk letdown

Sometimes breast milk flow slows down at night, which can be frustrating.

Growth spurt hunger

Your baby is getting bigger, fast, and may get pretty hangry during those phases of intense growth. They may naturally want to cluster feed and have several short feeds over a few hours.


Every day your baby is busy exploring and discovering new things. If they haven’t had a good nap, they may be overtired and cranky in the evening.


A colicky baby will cry more than three hours a day, and that’s not limited to daylight hours.


While we may be able to tune out many lights and sounds in the evening, babies can be more sensitive to their environment.

When to call a doctor about your baby’s fussiness

Fussiness is not usually a cause for alarm, but always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or if your baby…

  • Won’t stop crying and cannot be soothed
  • Is vomiting or has diarrhea
  • Looks uncomfortable
  • Has a fever

How to help a fussy baby

Babies fuss for many reasons. It’s a typical newborn behavior but, as always, reach out to your doctor with any questions. They are there to support you as you navigate your baby’s health. And if your doctor identifies that your baby’s fussiness could be stemming from colic or a cow’s milk protein allergy or sensitivity, ask them about Nutramigen® with probiotic LGG® Infant Formula, a hypoallergenic formula clinically shown to manage colic due to cow's milk protein allergy fast, in as quickly as 48 hours.* Nutramigen LGG can also help reduce the incidence of future allergy challenges, while still providing the nutrition your baby needs for healthy development. Learn more about Nutramigen LGG.


And while you’re trying to calm your baby, try to take care of yourself too. A fussy, crying baby can take an emotional toll on mom and dad. A fussy baby doesn’t mean you aren’t a good parent. Babies cry, and in most cases, it’s completely normal. Ask for assistance from family and friends when you need to, practice self-care strategies to help you de-stress, and give yourself some grace. The good news is that most babies outgrow the fussiness stage by four months, so try to be patient—you will get through it.


*Studied before the addition of DHA, ARA, or LGG.

All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.