Baby continues to cry after feeding
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
Nizam Khan (TechSpace)
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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Why does a baby cry - an article in the newspaper of the EMS clinic "On Health"
— The simplest answer to the question about sedatives is definitely: no. Parents should not use painkillers, sedatives, herbal “bye-bye”-fees and other means to calm the baby. In any case, until it was recommended by a neurologist after a comprehensive examination. Giving a sedative to an infant is like hiding your head under a pillow when the alarm goes off: it won't stop time and you'll be late for work anyway. You need to try to understand your baby, make sure that his most basic needs are met, and only then proceed to the exclusion of more complex and rare problems.
Try to remain calm and act only in the interests of the child
Up to three weeks of age, the most common cause of constant crying of a child is banal malnutrition. A common mistake of parents is the desire to stick to the schedule when breastfeeding in the first month of a child's life. A baby can suck out 150 ml of milk in three minutes, or maybe 20 ml in an hour, and a nursing mother is not able to understand how much has been eaten by the sensations of "emptying the breast". With free feeding in the first month, record the dynamics of the baby's weight gain. When feeding on a schedule, conduct a series of control feedings with measurement of body weight before and after feeding, so you can make sure that the amount of one feeding is sufficient. If the baby's crying stops instantly as soon as you give the breast, this is absolutely normal.
What to do if the baby cries even after you have changed the diaper, tried to feed, picked up? If this happens often and the mother does not succeed in calming the child for more than an hour, you should consult a doctor. It is not always obvious to parents, especially good ones, in what order to seek medical help: should I call an ambulance or go to see my pediatrician in a couple of days, or maybe it’s better to grab the child and the CHI policy and rush to the nearest city hospital? Try to remain calm and act only in the interests of the child. Here are some tips to help you.
- If the baby cries and cannot be calmed for more than two hours, call emergency services. Pre-measure the baby's temperature, check for rashes on the baby's body, and remember if there was a stool within the last 12 hours. Also make sure you have enough breast milk for a single feed. Report this information to the emergency services
- If a child often worries , sleep is short, but there is no monotonous crying-crying for more than two hours, then this can be dealt with on your own, and then with the help of a doctor at a clinic appointment or by calling him at home. The better prepared you are for your consultation, the more productive it will be. Things to do before the consultation:
- Determine breastfeeding volume by three to four checkweighs before and after feeding
- See if there is a connection between baby crying and feeding. When does the child worry and cry - immediately after eating, during feeding, an hour later, etc. ?
- Recall the circumstances in which anxiety and frequent crying appeared: vaccination, errors in the mother's diet, starting to use or changing formula?
- Note accompanying symptoms and their relationship to crying: regurgitation, constipation, frequent stools, flatulence, appearance or increase of skin rash
- Assess the change in stool frequency and consistency
- Observe whether restlessness and crying persist after passing stool or flatulence
- Find out if there is an effect when placing a gas tube or a glycerin suppository.
The task of a pediatrician when complaining of frequent and prolonged crying of a child is to determine why the child is crying, whether he has any disorders (including digestive disorders) and what kind they are - functional, that is, this is a conditionally normal condition associated with the growth and development of the body or a reaction to changes in external (primarily nutritional) factors, or it is a pathology that must be suspected, diagnosed and treated.
Three types of crying
Experts say that babies have three types of crying:
- Basic . This is, in fact, a means of communication between the child and others. This cry is intermittent, smooth, the sounds are not sharp.
- Angry . This is how babies cry when they really don't like something or they really want something. In this case, parents may notice how the child's facial expressions change. He roars loudly, confidently, mostly on the exhale. Angry crying is usually the longest.
- Painful . With his help, the baby reports that he is in pain. At the same time, he screams to a screech, with piercing notes until he exhales completely.
Why the baby is crying and what to do about it
The average baby cries Why Baby Cries 2-3 hours a day. And crying always has a reason. Most often they are quite clear: a wet diaper, approaching feeding time, or, for example, a fright caused by a new toy over the cradle. But sometimes, baby tears are a way to complain to parents about less obvious discomfort.
Remember: a child never cries for nothing. Therefore, it is important to understand what worries him.
When to see a doctor urgently if a baby is crying
Call your pediatrician immediately if a crying baby:
- keeps crying for more than two hours;
- has a temperature above 38℃;
- refuses to eat or drink or vomits;
- does not urinate or has blood in the stool;
- does not respond to attempts to calm him down.
Various diseases can manifest themselves in this way - from influenza and otitis media to concussion or digestive disorders. It is important to diagnose them in time.
If there are no dangerous symptoms, it is worth looking for the causes of crying in other, quite ordinary things. Crying in infancy.
When you can cope with crying on your own
1.The baby is hungry
Even if you feed your baby by the clock and are absolutely sure that the time for the next feeding has not yet come. The fact is that babies grow in leaps and bounds. And when the next growth spurt occurs, the child needs more food.
What to do
The first thing you do when you hear your baby crying is to take your baby in your arms and try offering him a breast or a bottle.
2. He is scared
Maybe there was a loud extraneous sound outside the window. Or the door slammed. Or maybe the kid just lost sight of his mother. Be that as it may, even tiny children can feel fear and anxiety, and tears are the most accessible way for them to show it.
What to do
Take the baby in your arms and, as in the previous paragraph, offer him a bottle or breast. Another option is a pacifier: most babies just need to put it in their mouth to calm down.
3. Is he hot or cold
Parents often want to wrap their baby up. This habit was given to us by evolution: for tens of millennia, keeping warm was the key to survival. But there is another extreme: moms and dads arrange a “hardening” for the child, leaving him naked in a cool room. Since there is not enough fat in the body of a newborn, the baby reacts to cold by crying.
What to do
Check that the child is not cold or overheated. Check if his legs and arms are cold. Did the hair get wet, did it turn red (these are signs that the baby is hot). If necessary, throw a blanket over the crumbs or, conversely, remove excess clothing.
4. The baby is physically uncomfortable
A full diaper is just one of the causes of discomfort that a baby may experience. It happens that other things cause discomfort. Perhaps, too tight diaper elastic rubbed the delicate skin and now this place hurts. Or, for example, between the fingers, "packed" in socks, a thread got in the way, which interferes.
What to do
Check for redness, rash, scratches on the skin. Is the baby under pressure from clothing? In the end, is he in a comfortable position. The reason for crying is the most unexpected things: maybe because of the unsuccessfully turned head, the baby pinched his earlobe. In general, make sure that there are no physical reasons for discomfort.
5. He wants to be wrapped up
Or vice versa - to get rid of excessively tight swaddling.
What to do
Check this assumption: swaddle the baby or, on the contrary, undress him. Maybe the crying will stop.
6. He is tired
Unlike adults, overworked children tend to become fussy and irritable rather than fall asleep.
What to do
Try putting the baby to sleep. One of the most effective ways to do this is swaddling. In a diaper that restricts movement, the baby feels like in a cramped womb. This calms him down. Another option is vibration. Go for a walk, putting the baby in the stroller and rocking it. Or take a ride in a car, placing the heir or heiress in the infant carrier.
7. The child is under stress
Toddlers have a weak nervous system, so external stimuli - for example, too bright lights and music in the mall or screaming children on the playground - can make him feel uncomfortable and cry.
What to do
Track how your baby reacts to the fuss, noise, light around. You will quickly understand whether he likes it or, on the contrary, annoys him. If the baby is sensitive, try to limit the time you spend in noisy areas.
8. He has a tummy ache
This is a common problem that Crying in infancy affects many babies between the ages of 3 weeks and 3 months. Pain can be caused by various factors:
- swallowed during feeding and not expelled air;
What to do
Remember to keep your baby upright (in a column) after a feed to help him burp the air he swallows. If you are bottle feeding, use a slow flow nipple.
Colic Colic and crying — self‑care not related to eating. Their causes are not yet well understood, but nevertheless they are considered a normal part of development and go away on their own by 3-4 months. To help the baby, lay him on his tummy more often, and also do a gentle massage of the abdomen in a clockwise direction.
If, despite your efforts, your baby continues to cry frequently, be sure to discuss this with your pediatrician. He may suggest that you take tests to make sure that you are not allergic to components of breast milk (mixture) or to rule out other digestive disorders.
9. He wants to sleep next to his mother
By 6–9 months, babies begin to recognize themselves as separate beings. But even as they get older, they still sometimes want to feel in their mother's arms and may refuse to fall asleep if their mother does not lie down next to them.
What to do
Here the approaches differ. So, American pediatricians believe that you should not fit next to the child or take him in your arms at the first cry. It is worth waiting a while and then letting the baby cry for longer and longer before coming to him. This is supposed to train children's self-control.
However, if you have the time and opportunity, give the baby as much attention as he wants. But do not do this by stepping over your own fatigue and other needs. The more tired the parent, the worse he takes care of the baby.
How to soothe your child
Pediatricians recommend several common ways:
- Play soft, gentle music in the baby. Perhaps a white noise generator can help you.
- Talk to the baby. The sound of a mother's or father's voice soothes and gives the baby a sense of security.
- Help the infant to change position - he may be uncomfortable.
- Take the baby in your arms and hold it against your chest. The mother's heartbeat, the smell of her skin, her breath, the close embrace - all this reminds the baby of that serene time when he was in the tummy.
How not to calm a child
Never shake him, even if he does not want to calm down, and you are very irritated.