After feeding my baby cries
Baby Cries After Feeding: What Should I Do?
Medically reviewed by Karen Gill, M.D. — By Chaunie Brusie on October 3, 2018
My daughter, the “crier”
My second daughter was what my oldest fondly referred to as a “crier.” Or, in other words, she cried. A lot. The crying with my baby girl seemed to intensify after every single feeding and particularly at night.
It was those hellish hours between darkness and dawn when my husband and I would take turns walking around the house with her in our arms, praying and, mostly in my case, sobbing because we couldn’t console our baby.
I didn’t know it then in my sleep-deprived state, but my daughter’s crying after feedings wasn’t that uncommon. In combination with her frequent spitting up, it was pretty much a classic textbook case of colic.
Colic, in technical terms, simply means a “crying, fussy baby that doctors can’t figure out.”
OK, so that’s not really the definition, but in essence, that’s what it boils down to. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) lists one criterion for colic: A baby that cries for at least three hours a day, three or more days a week, and is under 3 months old. Check, check, and check.
There isn’t one single known cause of colic. Even the actual clinical incidence of colic, estimated by BMJ to be around 20 percent of all babies, can be tricky.
One of those causes of crying after feeding and spitting up in babies is actually acid reflux. This condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) if it also causes significant symptoms such as poor weight gain.
When my “crier” daughter was 5, she frequently complained of her stomach hurting and as a result, had to undergo a series of testing with a gastroenterologist, a doctor that specializes in the GI system.
At our first appointment, the very first question he asked me was if she had colic as a baby and if she spit up a lot, to both of which I practically shouted, “Yes! How did you know?!”
He explained that acid reflux or GERD can manifest as symptoms similar to colic in babies, stomach pain in school-aged children, and later as actual heartburn pain in adolescents.
While many infants spit up, fewer have actual GERD, which can be caused by an underdeveloped flap between the esophagus and stomach or a higher-than-normal production of stomach acid.
In most cases, a diagnosis of infant reflux is simply based on your baby’s symptoms. If your doctor suspects a severe case however, there are several different tests that actually diagnose infant reflux.
Testing can involve taking a biopsy of your baby’s intestine or using a special type of X-ray to visualize any affected areas of obstruction.
Food sensitivities and allergies
Some babies, especially breastfed babies, may be allergic to certain food particles that their mothers are eating.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine notes that the most common offender is cow’s milk protein in the mother’s milk, but even a true allergy is very rare. Only about 0.5 to 1 percent of exclusively breastfed babies are thought to be allergic to cow’s milk protein.
The other most common culprits, according to the ABM, are egg, corn, and soy, in that order.
If your baby is displaying symptoms of extreme irritability after feedings and has other symptoms, such as bloody stools (poop), you should speak with your healthcare provider about getting them tested for allergies.
Aside from a true allergy, there’s also been some evidence that following a low allergen diet while breastfeeding (essentially avoiding those top allergy foods, such as dairy, eggs, and corn) may be beneficial for infants with colic.
Strict elimination diets can have their own risks, so speak with your doctor before significantly changing your diet.
In our situation, I found that dairy, caffeine, and certain seeded fruit exacerbated my daughter’s crying and spitting up. By eliminating those foods and substances from my diet, I was able to help lessen her discomfort.
If you have a baby with colic, you might want to try anything at all to help ease your baby’s crying. If you’re curious to see if your diet has any effect, you can start by logging your food in a food journal and writing down your baby’s reactions after each meal.
Next, you can eliminate one food at a time and see if reducing your intake of certain foods seems to make a difference in your baby’s behavior. If you hit on one you feel helps your baby to cry less, this does not mean they will not be able to eat that food in the future.
Just be sure to keep in mind that a true allergy is rare. Also, be sure to monitor for any additional symptoms, such as blood in your baby’s poop.
If your baby is crying a lot after every feeding, it may simply be a buildup of air swallowed while eating. It’s thought that bottle-fed babes in particular may be more prone to swallowing a lot of air during a feeding. This can trap gas in their stomachs and be uncomfortable.
In general, breastfed babies swallow less air while eating simply due to the way they eat. But every baby is different and even breastfed babies may need to be burped after a feeding.
Trying keeping your baby upright after a feeding and burping gently from the bottom of their back and up through the shoulders to work the gas bubbles up and out. Also check out this illustrated guide to burping a sleeping baby.
If your baby is formula-fed, swapping out the formula you use may be a simple solution to a crying baby after feedings. Every formula is a little bit different and certain brands make formulas for more sensitive baby tummies.
If you decide to try this, talk to your baby’s pediatrician about whether an elemental formula would be a good choice to try for a week. If you try one different brand and you see no change in your baby’s fussiness, continuing to try different brands is unlikely to help.
Colic, along with a few other common conditions, might be the culprit if you too have a “crier” on your hands.
If your baby doesn’t find relief after dietary changes or additional burping, then make an appointment to see their doctor.
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Chaunie Brusie, BSN, is a registered nurse with experience in labor and delivery, critical care, and long-term care nursing. She lives in Michigan with her husband and four young children, and is the author of the book “Tiny Blue Lines.”
Last medically reviewed on October 3, 2018
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- ABM clinical protocol #24: Allergic proctocolitis in the exclusively breastfed infant. (2011). DOI:
- Harrel MC, et al. (2015). Is there a correlation between maternal diet in breastfeeding mothers and infantile colic? DOI:
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Infant reflux.
- Rosen LD, et al. (2007). Complementary, holistic, and integrative medicine.
- Saavedra MA, et al. (2003). Infantile colic incidence and associated risk factors: A cohort study. .
- Sung V, et al. (2014). Treating infant colic with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: Double blind, placebo controlled randomised trial. DOI:
- Symptoms & causes of GER and GERD in infants. (2015).
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Oct 3, 2018
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Medically Reviewed By
Karen Richardson Gill, MD
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Baby Crying After Feeding: What Should You Do?
Did you imagine watching your new bundle of joy gently slip off to sleep in your arms while eating? Is your reality a screaming baby who can’t seem to get comfortable after feedings?
You’re not alone; it happens more frequently than you think. As moms, we’ve dealt with this ourselves. And as medical practitioners, we’ve seen plenty of parents with the same issue.
There are several reasons your baby might be feeling discomfort after feeding. We’ll look at some of the main causes of why your baby cries after feeding, and we’ll share some proven techniques you can use to make your baby more comfortable and your evenings calmer.
Why Do Babies Cry After Feeding?
If you’re dealing with an inconsolable child after feedings, you may have noticed some of the following symptoms of abdominal discomfort:
- Crying: Babies seem to experience more discomfort during the evening hours. If you’ve heard the cry before, you know it’s unmistakably a cry of pain. An urgency and intensity suggest it’s more than just complaining.
- Pulling up or extending their legs: Is your baby bringing their knees up to their chest or rigidly extending their legs? They are likely experiencing abdominal pain.
- Distended bellies: Most post-feeding discomfort can be linked to excessive gas in the baby’s system. If it’s trapped in their digestive system, it may lead to a hardened or swollen tummy. Their crying may be exacerbating the discomfort they’re already experiencing.
There are many possible causes of your baby’s discomfort. While this is not an exhaustive list, we’ll talk about some of the main sources of digestive discomfort in young babies.
Perhaps you’ve heard a baby referred to as colicky. Your pediatrician may have even given you the diagnosis. This designation came about after a pediatrician’s study on extremely fussy children and has been around for decades.
Having a colicky baby basically means you have a baby who cries — a lot. You can expect a baby with colic to cry at least three hours a day for at least three days a week (1). Using this definition, nearly a quarter of all infants will experience colic.
The good news is that 50% of babies with colic outgrow the condition by the time they’re three months old. By the time your baby reaches nine months old, there’s a 90% chance they’ll have outgrown the colic.
There’s usually no discernible cause for colic. But it’s clear your baby is uncomfortable. This discomfort is typically linked to the digestive system and follows feedings.
You may need to hold your colicky baby more often and provide lots of comfort. While it can be nerve-wracking and frustrating, having a colicky baby doesn’t mean your baby is unhealthy.
2. Acid Reflux
Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux is a common cause of post-feeding discomfort. It can be upsetting to hear your baby is experiencing reflux. But reflux isn’t uncommon; it affects up to 50% of babies during the first few months of life.
If your child is suffering from GERD, there may be additional accompanying symptoms, like difficulty gaining or maintaining weight. Children with GERD frequently spit up and may even experience aggressive vomiting (2).
When your child is experiencing acid reflux, it’s usually because the gastrointestinal system is not working properly. If the difficulty your baby is experiencing is related to an immature digestive system, a child may outgrow GERD. When this happens — as it does for about 95% of children — it usually does so by their first birthday.
There’s also a remote possibility your baby will not outgrow GERD. If this is the case, your doctor can help you create an ongoing treatment plan to support your child’s needs. If you suspect your child has GERD, you should make an appointment with a pediatric gastroenterologist to discuss your concerns.
Another common reason babies cry after feeding has to do with gas. Babies’ bodies are still developing their basic skills. A baby who swallows too much air during feedings may not be able to process the extra gas easily.
This leads to pressure and distension and can cause crying and extreme discomfort after meals. It may not be possible to keep your baby from taking in too much air during feedings. However, there are some things you can do to keep air intake to a minimum:
- Frequently burp your baby: Burping can help remove some of the excess air from your baby’s system and leave them feeling more comfortable. To successfully burp your baby, hold them upright, supporting their head well, and pat or rub their back. Some babies seem to burp a lot, while others might have one good burp per feeding.
- Feed in a more upright position: Keep your baby upright for at least 20 to 30 minutes after meals to reduce gas discomfort. If your little one is uncomfortable during sleep, you can also try an inclined mattress, following safe sleep guidelines (3).
- Cycle your baby’s legs: If your baby is visibly uncomfortable, you can lie them on their back and cycle their legs as though they’re riding a bike. This can help push the air through their system and provide them with some relief.
- Try to catch the crying early: It can be tempting to let your baby work through the crying and get to sleep. If it’s likely your child won’t stop, intercept the crying as soon as possible. Crying usually involves gulping air, which will lead to more gas — and more crying.
- Don’t put your baby to sleep directly after a large meal: We all know it’s best for your baby to sleep on their back. But putting a baby down on their back with a full stomach can be a recipe for discomfort. Hold your little one for 20 minutes post-feeding, even if they’re already asleep.
These approaches are great whether you’re nursing or formula feeding. However, there are some specific things you’ll want to look out for, depending on how you feed.
- Pay attention to how you eat: What you eat directly impacts your breast milk. Certain foods, including broccoli, beans, and onions, are notoriously difficult for your baby to break down. If you notice gas is especially bad for your baby after you eat a particular type of food, you can limit it in your diet.
- Food sensitivity: Something in your diet may be making your baby fussy. The most common culprits are dairy and caffeine. Usually, there are additional symptoms. Keeping a food journal may help you pinpoint the offending item so you can eliminate it from your diet.
- Nurse your baby in positions that keep their head above their stomach: This will help limit the amount of air intake and encourage digestion.
- Get rid of the excess gas: Plan on burping your baby before switching sides and after feeding.
- Pay attention to the bottle nipple you’re using: If your bottle nipple releases fluid more quickly than your baby can comfortably eat, they will guzzle their meal. This leads to an increase in air intake and plenty of gas. Using a slow-flow nipple can help avoid this problem.
- Position your bottle properly: Make sure your bottle is tilted enough to allow the milk to cover the nipple completely. This will help prevent your baby from sucking in the air that’s in the bottle along with their meal.
- Force out the extra air: Expect to burp your baby after every ounce of milk or formula is consumed.
Gas can be highly uncomfortable for your little one. Following these tips will help you mitigate gas and discomfort for your baby.
4. Food Sensitivities
It’s possible that some of your child’s crying after eating is related to an intolerance or allergy.
Everything you consume is passed on to your child in your milk. Some foods — like dairy and eggs — are frequently associated with food sensitivities (4).
If you’re nursing, the best way to determine what’s agitating your child is by charting your food intake. Keep a food journal; you may be surprised at where correlations begin to appear.
Early on, my youngest was inconsolable after the last meal of the day — just when the time came to settle into sleep.
The common link to the discomfort? Spicy food and cheese during my dinner. I cut back on those, and my baby was happier for it.
We were fortunate our baby was only intolerant of these foods and didn’t have a true allergy. Sometimes a young system has difficulty handling certain foods. If your child has a true allergy, you’ll notice more symptoms than abdominal distress.
Be on the lookout for hives, skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and any face or tongue swelling (5). If you suspect your child has an allergy, you should consult your pediatrician immediately. And if your little one is struggling with breathing after eating, call 911.
When starting solids, always introduce one new food at a time to your little one to determine what might have caused the response.
Formula feeding your baby? If you notice signs of a food allergy before introducing solid foods, your baby may be allergic to the formula (most commonly the cow’s milk protein). If you think this might be the case, work closely with your pediatrician to determine a suitable alternative formula.
Other Reasons For Crying After Eating
Many causes of post-feeding crying come back to the digestive process. They aren’t the only reasons, though. Some other things may cause your baby to cry.
Most babies will begin teething between 4 and 6 months of age. This doesn’t guarantee the teeth will show up shortly afterward, though. Some babies could go through several months of teething before the teeth break through the gums.
Unfortunately, your child will likely experience inflammation and extreme discomfort in the mouth and gums during this time. This can make even usually benign experiences, like nursing or bottle-feeding, incredibly painful.
If your baby is experiencing teething-related pain, you can help by numbing their gums with cool water before feeding. Just dip your thumb in water and rub directly onto the gums (6). Or let them chew on a washcloth that has been wet and then slightly frozen.
Other pain management approaches can include numbing oral medications and anti-inflammatories (though you’ll want to ask your baby’s doctor before using these). You’ll also want to provide plenty of opportunities for your baby to practice gnawing on things. This can help relieve the pressure, encouraging teeth to break through a little more quickly.
Babies can experience an overgrowth of yeast in their mouths (7). While Candida, a parasitic fungus, is normally present in your body and in your baby’s mouth, excess yeast can be a problem. It’s extremely uncomfortable and may impact your baby’s ability to eat properly.
Excess amounts of yeast frequently happen after a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics will kill off the bad bacteria, but they don’t discriminate. This means they may also kill off good bacteria, leaving an imbalance that can lead to thrush.
Thrush is usually a visible condition. If you suspect your baby has thrush, look inside their mouth. If thrush is present, you’ll see filmy white patches that may look like milk. If the patch doesn’t come away with a swipe from your finger, you’re looking at thrush.
If your baby has thrush, make an appointment with your pediatrician. A simple course of prescription antifungal medication will help clean up the condition.
Yeast is quite persistent. If you’re dealing with thrush, plan on sterilizing every plastic nipple or pacifier you own to prevent recontamination. Nursing? You’ll need to be treated for thrush as well — or you will simply pass the infection back and forth between you and your baby.
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Baby cries after feeding - Gastroenterology - 07/05/2014
Hello doctor. Girl 3 months and 1 week old, weight 6600g, height 63 cm, breastfeeding. There were colic from birth, the ultrasound also said a lot of gas in the intestines, but for the last 2 weeks she began to arch out strongly after feeding and cry. He eats with pleasure, after eating he smiles, but after 10-15 minutes he begins to whimper, arches his back strongly and begins to cry. He can fall asleep with his back arched in his arms, he cannot lie on a flat surface during such bouts of crying, he arches. When I feed, I hold my hand on her tummy and feel how she rumbles there during meals. Please tell me how to help her and what tests to pass? Is it the gases that bother her, or maybe something else? My diet does not affect her, I can sit on one buckwheat and still she has a strong nasal formation. Thanks in advance.
Answered by Borsch Svetlana Kornelivna
1. Eat enough with the use of cereals, meat, vegetables, fruits, cottage cheese and other dairy products, fish. Exclude products with individually insufficient tolerance, as well as those containing artificial food additives and dyes, exotic products. 2. Height and weight are age appropriate. After eating, hold upright until the swallowed air escapes, before feeding, spread on the stomach on warm diapers for 5-19minutes. Feed at least once every 2 hours, include night feedings. Feed 1 breast, then offer another. 3. Use lactase baby when feeding: ferment the first portion of pre-expressed milk, start feeding after spoon feeding, 3 weeks. Take Bifidumbacterin forte 1 sachet 2 times a day for 3 weeks. You can take an additional espumizan 20 drops before feeding. When eliminating colic, do not take espumizan. 4. Analyzes: analysis of feces for coprogram, carbohydrates and microflora. Upon receipt of the results, treatment may be adjusted.
Thank you very much! I'll post the results after the test.
Borsch Svetlana Kornelivna
Be healthy. ) You can start taking Espumizan and using lactase baby now. Bifidumbacterin forte start taking immediately after the test.
anonymous (Female, 23 years old)
The child constantly cries after feeding and sleeps badly during the day yellow to green, the baby constantly cries after...
anonymous (Woman, 38 years old)
The child cries after feeding
The child is 1.5 months old, we are on IV, we eat Nutrilon 1. We switched to it a week ago. On the previous mixture, 90 ml were eaten per feeding. Now my daughter eats sluggishly, does not eat 90 ml,...
anonymous (Female, 34 years old)
The child cries intermittently after formula feeding
Hello. We are 1 month old. On IV almost immediately from birth. The first 2 weeks she still gave breasts, but there was not enough milk. In the maternity hospital they gave Nutrilon, then we bought Nestozhen (I heard good ones ...
Ksyunya Palgueva (Female, 23 years old)
Baby cries after formula feeding 2 weeks the child crept up with a rash, switched to a hipp combiot, a month later the child bled out again! At the same time drinking...0003
Hello! Please help I don't know what to do! The baby was born full-term 2,700 kg, spit up a lot in the maternity hospital, because he swallowed amniotic fluid, he was put on drips and everything stopped, milk came home ... , please help with the answer! My child is a month old and we are on willows because the milk was gone even in the first week after childbirth.0003
anonymous (Female, 29 years old)
Baby cries after feeding
Hello! The child is a month old, breastfeeding, the last few days he began to cry after eating. At first he starts hiccuping and after 10 minutes he starts crying, whimpering crying, sometimes turning into a scream. Maybe. ..
Why does my baby cry after feeding?
My daughter, the "Caller"
My second daughter was what my elder daughter affectionately called the "Caller". Or, in other words, she cried. A lot of. My little one's crying seemed to get worse after every feed, especially at night.
It was those hellish hours between darkness and dawn when my husband and I took turns walking around the house with her in our arms, praying and, mostly in my case, weeping because we couldn't comfort our child.
I didn't know it then, in my sleepless state, but my daughter's crying after a feed was not unusual. Combined with her frequent regurgitation, it was almost a classic case of textbook colic.
Colic, technically speaking, simply means "a crying, fussy baby that doctors can't understand."
Okay, that's not exactly a definition, but essentially, that's what it all boils down to. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) lists one criterion for colic: a baby who cries for at least three hours a day, three or more days a week, and is less than 3 months old. Check, check, check.
There is no single known cause of colic. Even the actual clinical incidence of colic, estimated by the BMJ to be around 20 percent of all children, can be a daunting task.
One such cause of crying after feeding and spitting up in babies is actually acid reflux. This condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) if it also causes severe symptoms such as poor weight gain.
When my screaming daughter was 5 years old, she often complained of stomach pains, which led her to undergo a series of examinations by a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in the gastrointestinal tract.
At our first appointment, the very first question he asked me was if she had colic as a child and did she spit up a lot, to both questions I practically yelled, “Yes! How do you know?!"
He explained that acid reflux or GERD can present with symptoms like colic in infants, abdominal pain in school-age children, and later true heartburn in adolescents.
While many babies spit up, fewer babies have true GERD, which can be caused by an underdeveloped flap between the esophagus and stomach or by more than normal stomach acid production.
In most cases, the diagnosis of infantile reflux is made simply on the basis of your child's symptoms. However, if your doctor suspects a severe case, there are several different tests that actually diagnose infantile reflux.
Testing may include taking a biopsy of your child's bowel or using a special type of x-ray to visualize any affected areas of obstruction.
Food sensitivities and allergies
Some babies, especially those who are breastfed, may be allergic to certain food particles their mothers eat.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine notes that the most common culprit is cow's milk protein in human milk, but even true allergies are very rare. Only 0.5 to 1 percent of exclusively breastfed babies are thought to be allergic to cow's milk protein.
The other most common culprits according to ABM are eggs, corn and soy, in that order.
If your baby has symptoms of extreme irritability after feeding and other symptoms such as bloody stools (faeces), you should talk to your doctor about having him tested for allergies.
In addition to true allergies, there is also some evidence that eating a low allergen diet while breastfeeding (essentially avoiding allergenic foods such as dairy, eggs, and corn) may be beneficial for infants with colic.
Strict elimination diets can have their risks, so talk to your doctor before making major dietary changes.
In our situation, I have found that dairy products, caffeine, and certain seeded fruits increase my daughter's crying and spitting up. By eliminating these foods and substances from my diet, I was able to reduce her discomfort.
If your baby has colic, you may want to try something to help your baby cry. If you're curious about whether your diet is having any effect, you can start by writing down your food in a food journal and recording your child's reaction after each meal.
You can then cut out one food at a time and see if cutting down on certain foods will affect your child's behavior. If you click on one that you think will help your baby cry less, it doesn't mean he won't be able to eat that food in the future.
Just remember that true allergies are rare. Also, be sure to watch for any additional symptoms, such as blood in your child's stool.
If your baby cries a lot after each feed, it may just be air swallowed during meals. It is believed that formula-fed babies may be more prone to swallowing large amounts of air during feeding. This can trap gas in their stomachs and cause discomfort.
Generally, breastfed babies swallow less air during meals simply because of the way they eat. But every baby is different, and even breastfed babies may need to vomit after feeding.
Try to keep the baby upright after feeding and burp gently from bottom to top over the shoulders to release gas bubbles up and out.