Baby crying and not feeding properly
Baby Fusses or Cries During Feeding: Causes & Solutions
Is your baby fussy every time you offer the breast? Do they cry, making it hard to breastfeed?
I’ve been there and know how it can be distressing when your baby is irritable while breastfeeding. It can make you question whether you’re doing something wrong and why the experience isn’t turning out how you imagined.
To help set your mind at ease and offer you some hope, we’ll share everything we know about what makes a baby upset during breastfeeding.
We’ll help you determine the cause of your baby’s fussiness. We’ll also offer our solutions so your breastfeeding sessions can return to being a peaceful experience you both enjoy.
Causes of Baby Crying During Feeding
Half the battle is finding out why your baby is crying and fussing when they should be enjoying their time at the breast. You want to know your baby is getting enough milk and thriving. But it’s hard to be sure when they always latch on and off, crying in between.
Let’s discuss some possible causes.
1. Baby Isn’t Latching On
If your baby is fussing or crying, getting them to latch on to feed can be challenging. Whether overtired, overstimulated, or just plain hungry, a crying baby is unlikely to latch.
Begin breastfeeding while your baby is calm and awake, before they get too hungry. Watch for early hunger cues such as rooting, smacking their lips, sucking their hands, sticking their tongue out, or waking from sleeping. Crying is a late sign of hunger.
Swaddling your baby and holding them close, dimming the lights, or moving somewhere peaceful and quiet might also help.
Another thing you can try is squeezing a few drops of milk onto your breast to entice your baby to latch on. The taste and smell of the milk might stimulate them to feed. Changing position or changing breasts can also work sometimes (1).
2.The Milk Flow Is Too Fast or Too Slow
Paying attention to when your baby starts to cry might shed some light on the reason.
If your baby is fussier in the morning, it could be that your overly full breasts release too much milk too quickly. Your breasts may have become engorged with milk during the night and your baby can’t cope with this forceful let-down.
Conversely, if they are fussier in the evenings, maybe the milk release is too slow and they get frustrated. They become impatient, waiting for the flow of milk that comes with the let-down, and start crying.
The Solution for Fast Milk Flow
A strong release of milk, or overactive let-down, can make your little one choke, gag, or cough when they’re feeding. They might unlatch from the breast because they don’t like or can’t cope with the fast flow. They could also be gulping a lot of air with the milk and getting gassy, which causes more upset.
These are some of the things you can do to counteract this:
- Express before feeding: Pumping some of your milk before feeding, or expressing by hand, can help slow down the flow. After you feel the first let-down pass and you see the flow is slowing, put your baby to your breast.
- Lie back when nursing: Adopting a laid-back feeding position with your baby lying on top of you can slow the flow. You could latch your baby on and then lie back against some cushions or pillows. Milk will flow against gravity and won’t pour down your baby’s throat.
- Burp regularly: When your milk is flowing fast, your baby may gulp lots of air while feeding. A gassy baby is a fussy baby, so burp them regularly, during and after the feed.
- Feed one side at a time: Alternate your breasts at each feed. That way, once the flow slows down on the breast your baby is feeding on, they might stop fussing.
- Take a feeding break: If your flow is too much for your little one to cope with, remove them from the breast for a few seconds. Let the excess milk leak onto a towel, and offer the breast again when it stops. This might make your baby fussier for a while, but it will pay off in the long run.
The Solution for Slow Milk Flow
Your baby is hungry, but your milk is not coming quick enough. Just as we can get “hangry” when we need food or drink and aren’t getting it, our babies can too!
Luckily, we have some things you can try to combat a slow flow or delayed let-down:
- Stimulate the flow: Either pumping or hand expressing a little milk before latching can kick-start your let-down reflex. Once you have a steady flow, then you can put your baby to your breast.
- Warm compress: Use a warm towel or compress for a few minutes to stimulate letdown. Place it on your breasts just before each feed.
- Massage: Massaging your breasts before and during a feed can help the milk flow faster.
- Try breast compressions: If you notice your baby is about to start fussing and might unlatch, squeeze your breast. This will give your baby a burst of milk, keeping them actively feeding.
- Get comfortable: Breastfeeding a fussy baby can be frustrating for you as well. Try and feed in a relaxing position, away from distractions. It’s a perfect time to just concentrate on your baby.
- Make sure your baby gets enough milk: All that fussing and crying might make your little one tired, and they may fall asleep at the breast before they’ve eaten enough. Try and stimulate them to continue feeding by tickling their foot or stroking their cheek. The more your baby feeds, the more milk you will produce.
- Some dos and don’ts: When breastfeeding, avoid smoking and alcohol. Also, try and steer clear of soda and coffee. All these could affect your milk production. Ensure you eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated, too (2).
3.Baby Is Going Through a Growth Spurt
There are times during a baby’s first year of life when they go through growth spurts. Their weight and length will increase, as will their head circumference.
Your baby may want to feed more often during a growth spurt and can become fussy. It’s not uncommon for a baby to suddenly feed up to 18 times in 24 hours.
While one does not necessarily lead to the other, it makes sense that a growth spurt and sudden, frequent feeding go hand in hand. Your baby will need more milk to support the growth spurt, and nursing more will naturally boost your supply.
During this time, babies can also become fussier than usual. They might appear unsettled and clingy, and they may not sleep as well as usual.
Growth spurts generally happen several times during the first year. These are the ages when they are likely to occur:
- Two weeks old.
- Three weeks old.
- Six weeks old.
- Three months old.
- Six months old.
Not all babies will follow this timetable; some might have more growth spurts or they may be at different times. For some babies, there might be no change in their behavior when they have a growth spurt.
During this time, follow your baby’s lead. Respond to their needs, whether it’s more feeds, extra cuddles, or just quiet time and a nap.
Your baby might get fussy if you aren’t producing as much milk as they want. It can take a day or so for your supply to catch up with the demand. The more you let your baby feed, the more milk your breasts will produce.
Your baby may seem hungry after normal feeding time, so don’t be afraid to nurse again. Keep yourself feeling good during this time by staying hydrated and eating balanced meals. Remember, you are not Superwoman; let family and friends help with chores and shopping while you spend time with your baby.
4. Baby Is Going Through a Developmental Stage
Your baby is constantly developing mentally and learning new skills as they go along. It can be a bit overwhelming and confusing for them, and there might be weeks when they are fussier than usual. Sometimes called the “Wonder Weeks,” it can explain mood changes in your baby (3).
You might find that during these periods, your baby becomes more curious and distracted while feeding. They might want to feed more or, conversely, not stay latched on long enough for a good feed. They can be cranky and fussy and cry a lot when you’re trying to breastfeed.
The good news is that these periods generally only last a few days before your baby returns to normal behavioral patterns.
Not all babies will fit into the pattern of wonder weeks and develop at different times.
Feed your baby in a quiet room where there are likely to be fewer distractions. There’s nothing worse than having a situation where your little one latches on, then hears their dad or sees the dog and stops feeding (or worse yet, turns their head with your nipple still in their mouth!).
Trying to get your baby to pay attention can make them fussier and be a constant battle.
You might also find that your baby is fussier and wants to feed more often during these periods. Again, take your cue from them, and give them the extra time and attention they need.
5. Baby Needs to Burp
Babies often fuss, cry, or pull away from the breast when they need to burp. A fast flow of milk can exacerbate this. They can also swallow more air when they’re fussy or gulp down milk faster than usual if they’re over-hungry.
Breastfed babies tend not to need burping as often as bottle-fed ones. However, there are times when gas can make them uncomfortable and they need to get it out.
If your baby is fussing, stop the feed and try and burp them. If you let them carry on feeding while they’re crying, then they can take in more air and make the problem worse. Eventually, it can end up with them spitting up.
It’s a good idea to burp your little one mid-feed, even if they don’t appear to be in too much discomfort. Try to do it when switching breasts or when your baby latches off the nipple.
Other Reasons for Crying During Breastfeeding
We’ve looked at some of the main reasons your baby might cry while breastfeeding. There are a few other things that can cause this, including:
- Baby prefers one side: Your milk supply might be better on one breast than the other. This may be apparent if your baby only fusses when fed on one side.
- Teething: This can be a painful and uncomfortable time for your baby, and they might fuss more when feeding. You might first realize it’s happening when they clamp down on your nipple and you feel the teeth through the gums. I’m all too familiar with that pain! But trust me, your baby isn’t trying to hurt you; they just want to relieve their pain (4).
- Baby has eaten enough: If your little one starts fussing toward the end of a feed, this might be a sign they’ve had enough. Try offering the breast again a few times. If they don’t want it, move on. If you have ruled out any other causes for their crying, their little tummy might be full.
- Baby wants to be pacified: Your little one might be full but still wants to suckle. However, it can be frustrating for them when milk is still flowing. This could be an excellent time to offer a pacifier for them to suckle.
- Thrush: This fungal infection can affect your nipples or a baby’s mouth. If your baby has oral thrush, feeding will be uncomfortable, and they can get fussy. If you suspect this, contact your health care provider (5).
- Baby has a cold: Trying to feed and breathe through a stuffy nose simultaneously can be challenging for a little one. They will become fussy and break away from the breast a lot. Use a nasal aspirator to try to clear their nose, or ask your pediatrician for advice.
- Food sensitivity or allergy: While you might enjoy eating spicy food for dinner, your baby may not. The flavor of the food you eat comes through in your milk, and your little one might not always like the taste or the smell. You might notice they are fussier when you have consumed certain foods they don’t like or are allergic to (6).
- Reflux: Although it’s not very common in breastfed babies, sometimes food comes back up from a baby’s stomach. This can make them cry and feel uncomfortable when feeding (7). Speak with your baby’s doctor if you suspect this is causing your baby to be fussy or cry during breastfeeding.
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Bottle Feeding Problems - Why Your Baby Squirms, Appears Uncomfortable – Baby Care Advice
When your baby squirms, appears uncomfortable during a feed, fusses, cries or refuses a bottle, seemingly fights the bottle despite being hungry, it can be challenge to figure out the cause. The timing and type of behavior she exhibits provides vital clues. This article discusses potential reasons for troubled feeding behavior.Signs of bottle-feeding problems
Does your baby display troubled behavior in relation to bottle-feeding, such as….
- Refuses a bottle
- Turning away from the bottle.
- Refusing to close her mouth around the nipple.
- Holding nipple in the mouth but not sucking.
- Taking only a small amount and then refusing more.
- Screaming when placed into a feeding position or at the sight of the bottle.
- Milk pouring out of baby's mouth.
- Feeding too quickly.
- Feeding too slowly.
- Falling asleep before the feed is completed.
- Coughing and spluttering when feeding.
- Not consuming as much milk as expected.
- Wanting more milk than expected.
- Throwing up large amounts of milk.
Then there may be steps you can take to remedy the situation and get your baby to calmly and happily take a bottle.Behavioral reasons
‘Behavioral’ means baby’s behavior is in response to the circumstances rather than a physical cause. Behavioral reasons are the most common of all reasons for infant feeding problems. There are numerous behavioral reasons for a baby to experience feeding problems and/or display problematic feeding behavior. Common reasons include:
1. Misinterpreting baby's cues as signs of hunger
Does baby at times refuse feeds?
Does she take only a little and not want more?
Babies are in an oral stage of develop. Sucking is the primary way babies soothe. They also learn by sucking and mouthing objects. Many babies have a strong desire to suck for reasons that extend beyond hunger, such as tiredness, boredom, discomfort and soothing. There may be times when you mistake your baby’s desire to suck for these reasons as hunger.
Newborn babies have an active sucking reflex. This means a newborn baby may accept a feed even when she’s not hungry, and she might guzzle down the bottle because she cannot choose to not suck when her sucking reflex is triggered. Once her sucking reflex has disappeared (usually by 3 months of age) she will willingly take only the amount she wants to take.
If you have mistakenly interpret her fussing or desire to such as hunger and offer her a feed, she might take a little and refuse the rest, or she refuse from the start. If you try to make her drink more than she wants, she will understandably get upset and fuss, cry and pull back from the bottle.WHAT TO DO
See Hungry baby for more reasons why babies often appear
See Infant reflexes2. Unrealistic expectations
Is baby not drinking as much as you expect?
Is she fussing if you try to get her to finish a bottle?
In around one third of consultations I have had with parents regarding an infant feeding problem, I found that parents were trying to make their baby drink more than he or she needed. In some cases, this was because of errors made their health professionals. They either failed to adjust calculations as baby matured or failed to consider baby as an individual. As a result, overestimated baby’s milk requirements.
If you think your baby is not drinking enough milk (breast milk or infant formula) you’re naturally going to feel concerned. If your concern translates into trying to pressure her to drink more than she wants or needs (gently or otherwise), you’re going to upset her. So it is very important for your peace of mind and your baby’s enjoyment at feeding times that you have realistic expectations about how much she needs.WHAT TO DO
See How much milk does baby need for standard estimations for age and weight, and reason why a baby might take more or less than recommended.
Follow your baby's feeding cues. Don't try to make her take more when she indicates she has had enough.3. Tiredness
Is your baby at times too tired to eat effectively?
Does she often fall asleep while feeding?
Sleeping and feeding are closely related when it comes to the needs of babies. Both are equally important to a baby's health, growth and development and feelings of wellbeing. You are no doubt aware that if your baby does not feed well she might not sleep well. But are you aware that the opposite is equally true. If she’s not getting enough sleep this has the potential to negatively impact on her feeding.
Physical fatigue can cause baby to fuss during feeds or falling asleep before the feed is completed. If you have a hungry/tired baby on your hands, tiredness will usually win out.WHAT TO DO
Ensure baby gets enough sleep.
Feed her before she becomes too tired.
Aim to establish a flexible feeding and sleep routine to minimize the risk of feeding and sleep times clashing.
If your baby is often irritable and not sleeping enough, (see Overtired baby for signs and symptoms) you might find that resolving any underlying sleeping problem will cause feeding difficulties to spontaneously resolve once she receives adequate sleep.
See our sleep section.
Download or order a paperback copy of my infant sleep book Your Sleepless Baby: The Rescue Guide. There you will find comprehensive information on the reasons and solutions to various infant sleeping problems.4. Distractibility
Is your baby too busy looking around or trying to play to want to feed?
Is it hard to keep her focused on feeding?
Babies over the age of 4 months can easily become distracted while feeding. They are often much more interested in the activities going on around them than they are in feeding.WHAT TO DO
Feed your baby in a quiet environment away from noise and distractions of other children.5. Feeding management
Some feeding problems can be related to what may appear like insignificant details but which can make feeding difficult or uncomfortable for a baby. For example, how you hold your baby will affect her ability to feed from a bottle. If her head is too far forward or too far back or her neck is twisted this can make it difficult for her to suck or swallow.WHAT TO DO
See How to bottle-fed a baby6. Feeding aversion
Does your baby refuse to feed even when hungry?
Does she scream at the sight of a bottle or when placed into a feeding position?
Have you resorted to trying to feed her while asleep?
A baby can develop an aversion to feeding when past feeding experiences have taught her that feeding is unpleasant, stressful or painful. Typically, baby is diagnosed with reflux and/or milk protein allergy or intolerance to explain her aversive feeding behavior. However, a behavioral feeding aversion (related to feeding management rather than a physical cause) is a far more common cause of infant feeding aversion.
A feeding aversion is the most complex of all infant feeding problems. An effective solution relies heavily on accurate identification of the cause.WHAT TO DO
See Feeding aversion for more information. Or purchase or download a copy of 'Your Baby's Bottle-Feeding Aversion: Reasons and Solutions'.7. Feeding equipment
Does your baby gag, cough or splutter during feed?
Does baby make clicking sounds while feeding?
It could be the nipple is too long, too short, too fast or too slow.
The most important piece of feeding equipment is the nipple. The nipple needs to be the right size and speed for your baby's size, age and sucking ability. If the nipple is too long, too short, too fast or too slow for your baby, she may experience feeding difficulties and express her frustration by fuss or crying.WHAT TO DO
See Feeding equipment for more information on choosing a feeding nipple.
Experiment with nipples of different lengths, shapes and speed.8. The nipple ring is screwed too tight
Does the nipple collapse in your baby’s mouth as she feeds?
Do you find that air rushes into the bottle once the bottle is removed from her mouth?
It's possible her feeding difficulties could be due to the nipple ring being screwed on too tight.
In order to maintain a neutral balance in air pressure within the bottle air needs to be able to enter the bottle to replace the void left by the milk the baby is removing. If the bottle is vented, this is achieved via the venting system. However, in the case of a non-vented bottle, the only ways air can enter the bottle are between the nipple ring and the rim of the bottle and through the holes at the end of the nipple. While sucking, a baby will maintain a seal over the holes at the end of the nipple with her tongue and prevent air entry in this way. If the nipple ring is screwed down tightly this also prevents air entry.
If air is prevented from entering the bottle, this causes a negative pressure to build in the bottle. As the pressure builds, baby need to work harder and harder to extract further milk, until such time and the air pressure is returned to normal. The effort required to suck against the negative pressure can cause a newborn baby to tire and fall asleep before completing the feed. An older baby may simply give up or express her frustration.WHAT TO DO
The nipple collapsing (not all will) or stopping to burp baby allows air to enter through the holes and neutralize the pressure. But you don’t want to wait for this to resolve the problem. By then baby is already tiring or getting frustrated. See ‘Collapsing nipple’ for ways to manage this problem.9. Feeding patterns
Is your baby often take only small amounts, refuse more, but then wants to feed again an hour or two later?
Some babies develop a grazing or snacking feeding pattern where they will only drink small amounts of formula at a time and then want to be feed frequently, possibly every hour or two. Although this will not cause any problems for a baby, provided she drinks enough formula in total over a 24 hour period, it can become very tiring for parents to keep up with her constant demands for feeding.WHAT TO DO
Try to encourage your baby to take as much milk as possible within 45 minutes. But don't try to make her feed if she doesn't want to. Stop sooner if she does not want to continue.
Ensure baby gets plenty of sleep.
Avoid allowing baby to fall asleep while feeding.
Support your baby to extend the time between feeds, by offering a little water, a pacifier, a nap, playing with her, or taking her for a walk. Aim to encourage her to wait at least 3 hours from time you started her previous feed, but only if its reasonable to do so without distressing her. If necessary extend the time between feeds gradually. As your baby gets used to going longer periods between feeds she will gradually take larger amounts at each feed.10. Excessive night feedings
Is baby feeding more often at night than you would expect?
Unless your baby was born prematurely or is very small for her age, developmentally she no longer requires feeding during the night beyond the age 6 months. If nighttime feeding continues past this age its not going to harm her but it could have a negative effect on her appetite and feeding patterns during the day.
Your baby only needs a certain number of calories in her day (24 hours) to provide for her growth and energy needs. If after the age of 6 months she continues to receive calories from nighttime feeds this will dampen her appetite during the day and she will not need to drink as much formula during daytime feeds. You might find she is content to go for long periods of time between feeds (which is usually what would happen at night). She might fuss or refuse some of her daytime bottles when they are offered simply because she's not hungry at the time. Or she might graze during the day.
Nighttime feeding will cause your baby no harm, so if you're happy to continue feeding her during the night there's no reason to change a thing. However, it is important that you don't expect her to consume as much milk during the day as she may have otherwise taken if she did not feed at night.
Many babies will give up night time feedings on their own accord, but others will continue to wake and demand feeds overnight for months and possibly years while parents continue to provide feeds at night. Usually the reason babies continues to demand night feeds beyond the age of 6 months is because they have learned to rely on feeding as a way to fall asleep, or because their internal body clock gets turned around - where the baby has decreased appetite during the day because of the continued night feeds and as a consequence of small feeds during the day the baby wakes hungry during the night. Body clock problems can easily become a cyclical pattern that will continue over the long term unless parents take steps to change the situation. Healthy, thriving babies who continue to demand feedings at night beyond the age of 6 months often require guidance and support from parents to cease feeding at night and turn their body clock around to a normal day-night feeding pattern.WHAT TO DO
Aim to cease overnight feeds after 6 months of age. However, before attempting to do this it's important to address any feeding to sleep issues your baby might have. She would need to learn to fall asleep in a different way before you will be able to successfully encourage her to cease night feeds.11. Starting solids early
Have you started giving your baby solids before the age of 4 months?
Have you been advised to start solids early?
6 months is the recommended age for starting solid foods. Although a small number of babies may benefit from solids prior to this age, it's generally not recommended to start a baby on solid foods before the age of 4 months. An early start on solids has the potential to cause bottle feeding problems because solid foods may decrease the baby's appetite for milk (breast milk or formula).WHAT TO DO
If your baby is less than 6 months old, either cease or reduce the amount of solids you offer to see if this helps to improve the situation.
See our article on starting solids.12. Solids eaten before or between formula feeds
Do you give baby solids between or before bottle feeds?
If solids are offered prior to bottle feeds, either directly before or mid way between feeds, when it's time for your baby's bottle feed she might be feeling full from the solids, in which case she's probably not going to take much milk from her bottle.WHAT TO DO
For babies 4 - 9 months (when milk is still the most important food) offer solids 15 - 20 minutes after bottle feeds.
For babies 9 - 12 months (when solids are becoming increasingly more important to a baby's diet) offer solids shortly before or shortly after her bottle, whichever you find works best. Babies at this age are often down to 3 bottles per day plus 3 main meals and 1 or 2 snacks.13. Too much solids
Does your baby love solids so much that she would rather eat solids than drink milk?
In these early stages of learning to eat solids (4 - 7 months) solids are not needed to add value to a baby's nutritional intake, rather they are offered primarily to provide learning experiences. The baby is exposed to new food proteins that help prime her immune system. She gets to discover new tastes and textures and become accustomed to eating from a spoon. It is at this age that babies are most willing to accept new tastes. So variety rather than quantity is what solids are about.
Many babies, particularly very young babies, experience difficulty self-regulating their dietary intake. Some babies will continue to eat solid foods for as long their parents keep offering. Some babies will prefer eating solids compared to drinking formula. However, too much solids and not enough milk is not a balance diet for a baby. It may be necessary for parents to limit the amount of solids they offer in order to encourage their baby to have a greater appetite for milk feeds.WHAT TO DO
See our article on estimating how much milk your baby needs to make sure she's getting enough.14. Weaning difficulties
Does your breastfed baby refuse bottle-feeds?
Does your baby have a breast preference?
While some breastfed babies willing accept milk from a bottle many will not, at least not straight away.
Difficulty weaning from breast to bottle is rarely resolved by finding the 'right' feeding nipple. (All feeding nipples will feel equally foreign to a breastfed baby.) Nor does a solution lie in finding a formula with the 'right' taste. All formula will taste strange to a breastfed baby). The difficulty associated with weaning to a bottle most often lies in the fact that bottle-feeding requires a very different sucking action to breastfeeding. While breastfeeding the movement of your baby's tongue milks the breast, where as bottle-feeding requires a sucking action. A baby who has been exclusively breastfed beyond the age of 3 months will often refuse milk from a bottle because it "doesn't feel right" and she doesn't know how to suck from a bottle.
It takes time and practice before a breastfed baby learns how to suck on a bottle.WHAT TO DO
Try offering expressed breast milk in a bottle initially. (Don't be too optimistic and put too much in to start with. It would be a shame to waste it.)
A soft flexible nipple often works better.
NOTE: Many breast fed babies will refuse to accept a bottle while they are still being breastfed at times. They will simply wait until a breastfeed is offered. For these babies it will be the case of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, but not both.How we can help your baby take a bottle
- Your Baby's Bottle-feeding Aversion book
- Baby Care Advice consultation
- Rowena Bennett's Online Bottle-Feeding Aversion Program
In my book, ‘Your baby’s Bottle-feeding Aversion’, I have described physical and behavioral reasons for babies to develop an aversion to bottle-feeding. How to identify the cause and the solutions to match. Included are step-by-step instructions on how to regain your baby’s trust and resolve a feeding aversion caused or reinforced by repeated pressure to feed.
While the book was written for bottle-fed babies, many nursing mothers have found that applying the same strategies has also helped them to successfully resolve a breastfeeding aversion.
You might find that reading this book is all you need to do to understand the steps you need to take to resolve your baby’s feeding aversion and get him back to the point of enjoying eating until satisfied.Baby Care Advice Consultations
If you would like an individualized assessment of all reasons for infant feeding problems, not just feeding aversion, we also provide a consultation service. Baby Care Advice consultants have extensive experience in pinpointing the cause of feeding aversion and other behavioral feeding problems such as those related to equipment and the parent’s feeding practices. (For more on what’s included in a consultation).
By Rowena Bennett, RN, RM, CHN, MHN, IBCLC.
Copyright www.babycareadvice.com 2021. All rights reserved. Permission from the author must be obtained to reproduce all or any part of this article.Rowena's Online Bottle-Feeding Aversion Program
Six time-saving modules to help your family enjoy feeding again with Rowena's step-by-step plan. Enjoy additional tools to manage anxiety, troubleshoot any issues, introduce new carers, how to manage illness/teething and much more.
- Module 1: Understanding feeding aversions
- Module 2: Identify the cause
- Module 3: Prepare for success
- Module 4: How to resolve your baby's bottle-feeding aversion
- Module 5: What to expect
- Module 6: Troubleshooting
- BONUS: Guided meditations
If the child does not eat well: what to do and what not to do
What to do if the child does not want to eat.
- Malyusik, well, one more spoon - and that's it! Last! I ate only two, let's have a little more, here's the most delicious piece for you! - says the average mother, offering a spoon with one hand, playing the accordion with the other, showing the trick with the disappearance of the handkerchief with the third, turning the cutlets over with the fourth, while doing somersaults on one leg.
Every dad has an instinct to bring home food, and mom has to feed the baby food. And if he refuses to eat, a signal is triggered - "I'm a bad mother" or "the child is sick."
In this case, the most important thing for a parent to understand is whether the child DOES NOT WANT or CANNOT eat?
If the baby is running around, having fun and looking good, without showing any signs of illness, then most likely he does not want to eat. There can be many reasons:
- A breastfeeding child prefers milk and dairy products, intuitively understanding that he needs calcium, and now milk is healthier for him than soup.
- The child wants a cookie, not vegetables.
- He really wasn't hungry. For example, his metabolism is slow, breakfast has not yet been digested, and lunch is already being offered. Or the child was sitting in front of the TV after breakfast and his appetite had not yet had enough time to play out. Compared to the boy next door who was outside all day.
- If a child is not genetically destined to become Uncle Styopa, then he can eat much less than his peer, who has tall parents.
- Psychological problems. If earlier you accidentally gave your child a bitter cucumber, then he may refuse any green food. Or you yell at the child during the meal, and for him the food is perceived as a trauma.
If your child is lively, but at the same time he has a "bad appetite", then this is not his problem, but yours - the psychological problem of an unsatisfied instinct. If a child jumps, jumps, he has healthy nails, hair, etc., think less about what he lacks. Better think about something nice))
An active child = not a hungry child.
Wait for the natural desire and correctly distribute energy costs - walk more often, send the child to the sports section, or simply say: “If you don’t want to, take a walk, dinner is not earlier than seven and no snacks.” That is, if your child simply does not want to eat, normalize feeding - strictly at a certain time and without snacks. The body will get used to secrete gastric juice strictly according to the schedule.
And one more thing. There are no rules about how much a child should eat. He can eat a kilo (and make you very happy) and 9Send 00 grams to the toilet. Or eat 100 g and learn everything.
But it is much more difficult if the child CANNOT eat.
- If you are breastfeeding, you may have “tight breasts”, when it is very difficult for the baby to suck milk.
- The child has a runny nose, and when he eats, he begins to choke.
- Food hot, cold, sour, bitter.
- He has sores in his mouth (for example, from toys), and they hurt when food gets on them.
- Teeth are cut, gums hurt.
- Bowel problems. The stomach starts to hurt while eating.
- The child simply fell ill (cold, SARS, poisoning, influenza, etc.). If the child is sick, and he is not dystrophic, then you should not force him to eat. The body fights infections better when it's hungry. But be sure to drink.
If a child at first shows appetite and interest in food, but refuses to eat through a spoon or two, then, most likely, the process of eating causes him certain difficulties.
If the baby CANNOT eat and you can't identify or eliminate the cause, the best thing to do is contact your pediatrician. The doctor will accurately determine the problem and give the necessary recommendations.
Our clinic has a wonderful pediatrician Yuliya Vladimirovna Sinyagina with 17 years of experience! You can sign up to her))
Bon appetit everyone! As well as strength, patience and satisfied instincts!
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The child is often psychotic and naughty
Author: Marfa Goncharova, "My Baby and I" magazine; consultant: Yulia Andronnikova, pediatrician of the highest category, head of the pediatric department of the Center for Traditional Obstetrics and Family Medicine.
The expressed emotional state of the child is a message of discomfort. Leaving these messages unattended means ignoring the needs of the baby, which can be physical and psychological.
Inconsolable crying, screaming, stubbornness and irritation out of the blue - what upsets parents so much and outrages outsiders who have become unwitting witnesses to an unpleasant scene is usually called whims. In fact, if in an adult a completely unreasonable whim can be called a whim, then children's whims, as a rule, have a serious reason.
Yulia Andronnikova: "Children under one year old are not characterized by whims in their everyday sense. If a child suddenly starts behaving in an unusual way for him, this is always a signal for his mother, a message of discomfort. No doctor can say for sure: if a child cries for minutes ten - this is normal, and if longer, then this is a sign of illness. Mom's intuition should work here. After all, already in the first 2-3 months of life, being in close contact with the baby, the mother studies him so well that she knows perfectly well what is typical for her child and what goes beyond normal behavior. 0003
If the baby is crying, the mother calms him down with the usual methods that suit him. Children love to be picked up, maintaining skin-to-skin contact, being rocked, talking in a low, calm voice, and being placed on their chest. Someone stops worrying in a warm bath, and someone better to undress for a while. The set of techniques may vary, but if the baby continues to cry despite the usual stress-relief rituals, the mother should watch him carefully. "
Unusually prolonged crying for a child or, conversely, lethargy, refusal to eat in children of any age are often the first sign of the development of an infectious disease. Like it or not, it becomes obvious in just a few hours: the temperature may begin to rise, a cough or runny nose will appear. For babies who still can neither say nor show that they are in pain, loud crying can be a sign of otitis media that has begun. If the ears hurt, there may be no fever or other signs of a cold, it is precisely the abruptly changed behavior that will cause suspicion: the child is inappropriately naughty, shakes his head, sometimes screams sharply, starts crying when the position of the head changes, refuses to eat, because it provokes pain. In such a situation, you should definitely call a doctor.
The peculiarity of the response of the autonomic nervous system to changing environmental conditions is called meteosensitivity. Training the nervous system and blood vessels of the baby will help to cope with meteosensitivity. Thanks to hardening, the adaptive capabilities of the organism will grow, and the reaction to a change in the weather will become less violent or disappear altogether.
For toddlers, outdoor walks in any weather are the best hardening. Not only a change in pressure, rain, a thunderstorm, but also simply cloudy weather or a long absence of the sun in the sky can affect the body. In newborns, sudden changes in the weather are often worrisome. After a few months, the majority of such meteorological dependence disappears, but in children with a weakened autonomic nervous system, it can continue to manifest itself and even intensify against the background of stressful conditions.
But what if the baby not only suddenly changed his behavior, but is constantly in a depressed state - he is lethargic, whines all the time and practically does not smile? Yulia Andronnikova: “The general well-being of a child is an important indicator of his health. A healthy baby may start to act up in the evening when he is tired, but he should wake up in a good mood - this is a signal to his mother that everything is in order with him.
If the child is naughty every day and is in a bad mood all the time, and you have ruled out the presence of any infections, it is worth bringing this to the attention of your pediatrician. Constant whims, pallor, lethargy, lack of a smile from birth, low weight gain and height are a set of symptoms characteristic of hormonal disorders. The earlier the diagnosis is made, the better, because with the timely initiation of treatment, the disease can be compensated and the life, health and intelligence of the child can be saved. If such diseases are suspected, the pediatrician will refer the child to an endocrinologist.
Approximately the same symptoms can be with anemia or kidney problems. Routine blood and urine tests will help clarify the situation, confirming or dispelling such concerns.”
If a child is naughty in the evening, mothers usually explain it like this: “I didn’t sleep well during the day” or “Went to class, he got too excited talking with other children”. Perhaps here it will be enough to put the daily routine in order, give the baby more opportunities for rest, sleep and walks. If the child is excitable in itself, cannot sit still, control his emotions, and at the same time gets very tired, pedagogical problems are superimposed on physical ones, since parents literally do not keep up with the baby. A competent neurologist will help normalize the regimen and strengthen the nervous system, for example, with the help of massage and hardening techniques. A psychologist will advise parents about the features of proper communication with the child.
Caprice as a message to parents
Caprice is always a child's message about discomfort, which he does not know how to express in an acceptable form. If the child is naughty all the time, and you have excluded physical causes (malaise, fatigue), it is worth considering what state of mind he is in. Psychologists note that often the child's inappropriate behavior is a reaction to intra-family disharmony. The grandmother is unhappy with the way the young mother is raising the baby, she is constantly indignant and gives unsolicited advice. Or parents begin to quarrel every time the baby needs to be put to bed. Explicit or unspoken claims and conflicts, a tense situation in the family most affect the child. In this case, his “whims” are the materialization of the discontent and irritation surrounding him. And the situation can be corrected only by establishing relationships in the family.
Certain pedagogical disturbances in the family can also easily become a source of whims. If the parents allow the child absolutely everything, and he simply does not understand the word "no", any attempt to prohibit it leads him almost to hysteria. As a rule, parents are afraid of such a reaction and are ready to do anything to avoid its repetition, which means they continue to indulge the baby. And this inevitably deepens discord in the family and makes its members even more irritable. The opposite situation can also involve the whole family in a vicious circle: they behave with the child too strictly and literally stop all attempts to act independently and make decisions. The kid protests, parents become even stricter with him. The same effect occurs if different family members adhere to diametrically opposed parenting styles - for example, mom is very strict with the baby, and dad allows absolutely everything. All these situations are best dealt with by a family psychologist.
Struggle for independence
Parents often mistake the child's desire for independence for whims. From 8–9 months, the baby is already beginning to “test the strength” of the surrounding adults. They give him a toy, he throws it on the floor and immediately demands it back. This can be repeated many times in a row. The child finds out the boundaries of what is permitted, and when communicating with mom, dad or grandmother, the boundaries can be different. At the same time, it is quite easy to distinguish the crying of a real need from a “testing” cry: “checking”, the baby sometimes stops crying, looks around and listens in order to evaluate the effect produced. Such stops are a sign of the need for attention to oneself. This does not mean that in this case it should be ignored, it is better to talk softly with the child, give reasonable arguments, explain your actions, including the necessary refusals or prohibitions. Such verbal contact, if established at birth, makes it easier to distinguish what exactly caused unusual behavior, and to cope with the situation.
At the age of 2–3 years, the time comes when the child literally answers everything: “I myself!”. Moreover, if attempts to do something on their own are not very successful (spilled, raked, broke, fell), the best strategy would be not to scold the baby, but to celebrate his achievements and offer to bring the matter to the end together. Often, the mere fact of recognizing the child's independent attempts to do something is already enough to live in harmony and reduce "whims" to a minimum.
- Even if the baby likes to cry in principle, certain conditions should alert parents. These are the so-called emergencies.
- A loud, pronounced cry of a child for two or more hours, in which no ordinary methods of calming help, is a signal to call a doctor. With problems such as intussusception (intestinal volvulus) or appendicitis, a young child may not have any other obvious external signs other than intense continuous crying. Only a doctor can diagnose the problem. It cannot be said that these cases are frequent. If a mother breastfeeds her baby and is well acquainted with the principles of introducing complementary foods, then volvulus, caused by a sharp transition to unfamiliar food in large quantities and at too early an age, does not threaten her child.