Baby gets angry during feeding
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.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 reflexes
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.
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.
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 aversionDoes 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 equipmentDoes 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.
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 patternsIs 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 it's 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.
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 earlyHave 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.
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.
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 difficultiesDoes 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
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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What Went Wrong?90,000 12 causes of concern for a child when breastfeeding. Why does a baby cry during breastfeeding
In the first weeks after birth, a newborn and his mother only get used to each other, and much of the baby's behavior is unclear to the mother. Why, for example, does a child worry at the breast during feeding? There are many reasons for this, and we decided to describe them and offer ways to overcome difficulties. Let's start with the cause of the child's anxiety, which mothers call the first, but which really exists least of all.
Lack of milk
This is the first thing that comes to the mind of a nursing mother whose baby cries a lot, including at the breast. One of the biggest challenges with breastfeeding, oddly enough, is that breastfeeding moms don't know exactly how much milk their babies are getting or if they're getting enough.
If your child is overly restless, most outside well-wishers will likely point out to you that the baby is probably hungry. Since you are a mother, such remarks can make you feel guilty. After all, it is your responsibility to feed the child! How to dispel doubts and fears associated with a lack of milk?
- Watch your baby urinate and defecate. After the sixth day of life, you should receive at least six wet diapers and one dirty diaper per day. If so, then your baby is getting enough milk.
- Frequent feedings are normal. In the first few weeks of life, a newborn usually needs 8-12 feedings per day. At the very beginning, you may at times have to keep it near your chest almost all the time. For several hours, he will demand it very often, and then fall asleep for four to five hours. As the baby learns to suckle more effectively, the number of feeds decreases.
- Keep track of your baby's weight. By two weeks, the baby should have regained the weight it was born with and gain at least 150 grams per week for the next two to three months.
If you are still worried that you are not getting enough milk, you may find it helpful to have a lactation consultant who will monitor, assess your baby's weight gain and suggest ways to increase your milk supply, if needed.
Swelling of the breast
Sometimes the child's restless behavior at the breast is caused by breast swelling. Excessive breast swelling most often occurs in the first weeks after childbirth. To reduce it, express some milk manually or with a quality breast pump to make the breast softer and easier for the baby to take it. Don't express too much milk, as this can cause you to produce too much milk later on, which will only make the swelling worse. Apply cold compresses to your breasts between feedings to reduce swelling and soreness.
Flat or indented nipples
Also, the baby may be nervous to latch onto the breast if the mother has flat or indented nipples. To stretch them, you can wear special pads between feedings. Turning on the pump for a few minutes before putting the baby to the breast will help elongate the nipples and also start the flow of milk so that the baby will immediately receive it and is more likely to continue sucking instead of dropping the breast and crying.
In some cases, a woman has to use pads that encourage sucking until her nipples become more prominent. This should happen after about two to four weeks of breastfeeding. If you are having trouble with flat or sunken nipples, seek help from a lactation consultant as soon as possible.
Incorrect attachment, awkward posture
Another cause of restless behavior at the chest is incorrect position . Both the mother and the baby may be uncomfortable, due to which the effect on the breast is not as it should be, and a sufficient flow of milk is disturbed. If your baby is very nervous, your best bet is to use the underarm position (when you hold the baby to your side, holding him tightly against your nearest breast) or the "cradle" position (when you hold the baby horizontally at your chest), as these positions allow you to control his head.
These postures allow you to guide the baby to the breast and hold him there. The baby's nose and chin should be pressed into the mother's chest. As a rule, he suckles better when his mother holds him tightly. If something makes you feel uncomfortable while feeding, contact a consultant. Perhaps this is the reason for your baby's anxiety.
Almost all children have some degree of gastroesophageal reflux. This medical term refers to a condition in which the annular muscle (sphincter) that blocks the entrance to the stomach has not yet fully formed and does not always completely close the opening. Because of this, some milk, along with gastric juice, can flow back into the esophagus, causing a sensation that we call "heartburn."
As anyone who has ever experienced it knows, it is quite an unpleasant sensation. Just as an adult can relieve heartburn by sitting with a straight back, a child can also usually benefit from being held upright.
Sometimes reflux can occur during feeding. Its appearance can be prevented by holding the child more upright or periodically taking breaks so that the baby “stood” a little. As the child develops, so does the musculature, so that cases of reflux become rarer.
Sometimes the problem is so severe that the child is unable to eat normally due to reflux. In such cases, you must consult a doctor.
All newborns have flatulence . When a child begins to eat, he starts reflex gas production, which is necessary for the waste generated during nutrition to be removed from the body more quickly. This prevents constipation.
Since breast milk is very easy to digest, it takes very little time for this food to pass through the baby's gastrointestinal tract. You can often hear characteristic sounds while the baby is still suckling. Although all children have gas, some tolerate it better than others. The time of day can also influence this. Apparently, the problem of flatulence becomes more noticeable at the end of the day. Traditionally, this time is considered the most hectic. The child seems to not want to let go of the breast at all, and this, in turn, can aggravate flatulence. This problem disappears on its own as the baby develops.
How to calm a crying baby
Many of the methods that promote calming are somehow related to the imitation of intrauterine conditions. Make sure that the air temperature is comfortable - not too hot and not too cool. Change diapers promptly. The baby can feel peace if he is held tightly to him or rocked. Swaddling or monotonous sounds - music or the buzzing of electrical appliances - may turn out to be effective. You can carry your baby in a sling, thereby providing him with comfort and getting the opportunity to do some business at the same time.
You can involve one of the family members in calming the child - for example, a father, grandmother or grandfather; in this case, the baby will not feel the smell of breast milk coming from the mother, which can excite him. In addition, this will give the mother the opportunity to devote some time to herself.
Physiological lactase deficiency
At the beginning of feeding, mother's milk is more saturated with milk sugar - lactose. It's called "front". After 10-15 minutes of feeding with the same breast, she begins to produce "hind" milk. It is richer in fats, which neutralize lactose and thereby reduce gas formation. If the baby is getting too much foremilk and not getting enough hindmilk, an excess of lactose and a lack of the lactase enzyme, which increases flatulence.
Try to have your baby suckle from one breast for at least 12-15 minutes to get the hind milk. When the baby grows up and sucks more efficiently, it will get to him in a shorter period of time after the start of feeding. Hindmilk has a calming effect and helps restless babies fall asleep. Most newborns naturally fall asleep at the end of a feed due to the calming action of hindmilk.
The baby chokes on milk
While the baby is just learning to breastfeed, the so-called milk ejection reflex can be too powerful for him and lead to him choking. Because of this, the baby can drop the breast and start to get nervous. Press firmly on the breast for about a minute to stop the too rapid flow of milk, and then put the baby back on the breast. Try expressing some milk before feeding and see if you can trigger the ejection reflex before the baby takes the breast. Feed your baby in the underarm position. As the baby gets older, it will be able to cope with the consequences of the milk ejection reflex in any position for feeding without any problems.
In rare cases, the baby becomes nervous and throws up the breast because of the soaps or creams you put on the breasts or nipples . If you start using some new remedy, and the child becomes more nervous, wash it off and start feeding again.
The baby may develop a yeast infection in the mouth or on the nipples - the so-called thrush. You will see white spots in the child's mouth.
Your nipples may become bright red or itchy and burn after feeding. During feeding, the baby may be more restless than usual.
See a doctor. If he confirms that you have a fungal infection, both you and the child will have to undergo treatment.
Too noisy and too bright
In some children, excessive anxiety is associated with overstimulation. They can behave more calmly during feeding if it takes place in a darkened and quiet room.
Wants to calm down with the breast
Before 12 weeks, babies have little ability to soothe themselves and often reach for the breast just for comfort. They begin to suck to calm down, not experiencing at this moment the need for food. For parents, this need of the baby should be on a par with all the other vital things that you provide to the child.
The main causes of restless behavior of the newborn disappear after the first six weeks. Some problems may exist for a little longer, but they are usually resolved by three months.
During this period, you must definitely take care of yourself. Eat well. Drink plenty of fluids and exercise outdoors. Try a variety of relaxation techniques—yoga, meditation, massage, or a warm bath—to help you get through the tough times.
Share your feelings with the child's father and other family members, and have them take turns comforting, lulling, and rocking the child.
Set small goals for yourself, like reading one chapter from a book or going for a walk for 15 minutes.
Group classes for young mothers are very useful, because there you will find out that other mothers and their children, like you and your child, go through exactly the same period of adjustment.
The main thing you need to remember is that this is a very short period in your own life and the life of your baby. Try to hug and cuddle your child as often as possible to help him get through a difficult time for him. Together you will succeed.
Why does the baby cry while breastfeeding
Yakovleva Ekaterina Andreevna
pediatrician, lactation consultant
Why does baby cry while breastfeeding? The answer may lie on the surface and depend on the situation. Some mothers themselves begin to put forward theories that are often incorrect - “I don’t have milk”, “I ate something wrong”, “The milk became tasteless and bitter”, “I shouldn’t have bought silicone pads” ... Consider the most frequent causes of crying at the breast and options for helping the baby together with Ekaterina Andreevna Yakovleva, pediatrician, breastfeeding consultant and mother of two babies. She knows about the tears of babies not only from professional, but also from maternal experience.
WHY A CHILD CRYS DURING FOOD
— Ekaterina Andreevna, is crying during feeding dangerous?
— Crying during feeding is a normal way for a baby to communicate with the outside world. So he calls his mother, shows that he wants to eat or something bothers him. The only thing that crying can affect is that the baby will come off the chest and take in air. This will lead to more abundant regurgitation, increased pain in the tummy.
Table. Newborn cries during feeding - 9 reasons0135
— Can a change in a baby's priorities affect his behavior at the breast?
- Up to three months, babies have one priority - they need to either eat and sleep or change a wet diaper. After the children become more active, they are already interested in the world around them. Therefore, when feeding in public places, and also when the mother combines the process with talking on the phone or watching TV, the child can be distracted: suck - turn away - suck, ask for different breasts in turn, indulge.
After three or four months, the baby should not be on the breast very often, but mothers find it difficult to readjust and continue to breastfeed constantly to soothe him. But in fact, the child’s needs are already different - he wants to be vilified on the handles, paid attention to him, played with him, showed him toys.
- Let's discuss misattachment in more detail. What can a mother do wrong if the child does not eat well and cries?
- A very common symptom of improper attachment or refusal of the breast is trouble-free feeding only in sleep. When the child sleeps, he eats calmly, and when he is awake, he begins to twist at the chest, cry. Mom can get tired of this, and in order to calm and feed the baby, during the day she gives him a bottle. In such a situation, it makes sense to talk about breastfeeding and work to restore normal feeding.
Problems may arise from awkward or repetitive posture during feeding. By trial and error, the mother should choose the position that will be most convenient for her and the child. However, if a baby is fed only lying down from birth, at an older age he may refuse to eat in his arms, break out and cry.
A CHILD CRYING WHEN FEEDING - HOW TO HELP
- Ekaterina Andreevna, everything is very individual for small children. How to understand why a child eats and cries?
— If the baby cries during feeding, the mother should examine the possible reasons for such behavior step by step and:
- Eliminate the reasons related to the child's well-being, which she can deal with herself.
- Practice breastfeeding techniques.
- Seek medical attention if all else fails - child continues to cry and has additional questionable symptoms.
A triad of symptoms that are always alarming
You should also consult a doctor if, during feeding, the child wriggles and cries from constant acute pain, cannot calm down, vomiting, blood and mucus in the stool, rashes in the mouth, stuffy nose are observed. Fever is an acute condition that is not associated with constant (for example, for a month) baby crying during feeding.
— What should I do if my baby refuses to breastfeed?
— The main thing for a mother is to remain calm and adequate. For a breastfed baby, one break can last an hour, and another five to six hours if the baby has slept long and well. Taking long breaks during the day, the child will still finish his daily allowance in order to develop normally. For example, if he has not eaten for six hours during the daytime, he will breastfeed more often at night. Therefore, in feeding children in the first half of life during the day, it is better not to take breaks for more than 3-3.5 hours. With the introduction of complementary foods, the intervals may be slightly longer.
Night breaks are individual and depend only on the child - some children are born with a 6-8 hour interval, and some sleep at night for eight to twelve hours or eat every hour.
- About the reasons why a child refuses breast milk and whether it is necessary to switch to mixed or artificial feeding in such cases.
- Should I stop feeding if the baby is naughty?
- Depends on age. Mom should feel what exactly the child needs at this moment. If a newborn cries and refuses to breastfeed, you can calm him down, vilify him with a column, shake him, and then attach him to the breast again. If, having calmed down, the child turns away from the chest, then he has eaten.
An older child is distracted from the breast, becoming interested in something else. Do not force feed him. We must try to remove all irritants - feed in isolation in a separate room, not be distracted by gadgets, sounds, or give the child the opportunity to satisfy his interests, and then offer the breast again.
— What else can help calm the baby?
- Since most causes of crying are not related to medical problems, medication is not needed. It is necessary to relax, set up the baby, pump him, try to competently organize breastfeeding - apply correctly, do not give a dummy, nipple, supplement from a cup or syringe without a needle. As a rule, this is how most feeding problems go away.
— In what situations can a breast be replaced with a bottle?
— It is not worth replacing breastfeeding with formula feeding without acute vital signs. When a baby is not accepting the breast well, it is worth removing all bottles, continuing to supplement with “non-sucking” items, and contacting a breastfeeding specialist to try to establish attachment and breastfeeding. This is done by a lot of people.
- Does changing the feeding regimen help to get rid of crying?
- Rather, these are unrelated things. It is not worth forcibly adjusting the feeding regimen, you need to listen to the child - in the first three months, the children constantly hang on their chest, after they begin to form a regimen and the intervals between meals increase. It is important to feel the needs of the child, because not only hunger, but also other things can disturb him, and if he constantly poke his chest, he will not be very pleased.
Table. Errors during breastfeeding
The baby cries during breastfeeding for many reasons. It can be improper attachment to the breast, "tangled nipples", inflammatory diseases of the oral cavity, runny nose, colic, teething, lactase deficiency, or a very nervous state of the mother. It is possible to understand what the problem is only by eliminating the organic and psychological causes of crying. With prolonged ongoing anxiety, the child should be shown to a specialist.
* Breast milk is the best food for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding after complementary foods are introduced until the age of 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist.