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Infant feeding problems

Infant feeding problems

In this article, we will cover symptoms of common infant feeding problems and comforting techniques.

Common infant feeding problems: symptoms and tips

50% of infants will experience symptoms of a common feeding problem in their first year of life[1]

If you have any questions about infant feeding please speak to your healthcare professional for advice. Breastfeeding is recommended from birth onwards.

Colic

Did you know? Colic usually develops at 2-3 weeks[2] and symptoms normally happen in the evening.

Common symptoms of colic include:

  • Intense crying, lasting several hours
  • Clenched fists, arched back, knees being pulled up to tummy
  • Red or flushed face when crying
  • Inconsolable – nothing you do seems to make it better

Comforting techniques include:

  • Soothing with gentle rocking motions
  • Warm baths
  • Gentle stomach or back rubs

If you think your baby has colic, speak to your healthcare professional for advice about possible management options.

Reflux and Regurgitation

Did you know? The peak time for reflux and regurgitation is 4-6 months[3]

Common symptoms of reflux and regurgitation include:

  • Constant or sudden crying when feeding
  • Bringing up milk during or after feeds (regularly)
  • Lots of hiccups or coughing
  • Refusing, gagging or choking during feeds

Comforting techniques include:

  • Avoid over feeding
  • Burping your baby before, during and after feeding
  • Dressing your baby in loose clothes

If you think your baby has reflux or regurgitation, speak to your healthcare professional for advice about possible management options.

Constipation

Did you know? Around 15% of infants[4] suffer from functional constipation in the first year of life.

Common symptoms of constipation include:

  • Poos that are larger than usual
  • Unusually smelly wind and poo
  • Dry, hard, lumpy or pellet-like poos
  • Tummy may feel firm

Comforting techniques include:

  • Lie your baby down and rotate their legs in a cycling motion
  • Lie your baby down and give them a gentle tummy massage

If you think your baby has constipation, speak to your healthcare professional for advice about possible management options.

If you want to, you can check your baby's symptoms with the Aptaclub baby symptom checker here.


[1] 50% of infants will experience symptoms of a common feeding in their first year of life - Iacono G, Merolla R, D’Amico D, Bonci E, Cavataio F, Di Prima L, et al. Gastrointestinal symptoms in infancy: a population-based prospective study. Dig Liver Dis 2005;37(6):432–8.

[2] National Health Service (NHS). Colic [Online] 2018. www.nhs.uk/conditions/colic [Accessed July 2021].

[3] NHS. Reflux in babies [Online]. 2019. www.nhs.uk/conditions/reflux-in-babies [Accessed July 2021].

[4] NHS Start 4 Life. Breastfeeding challenges – Constipation [Online]. www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-challenges/constipation [Accessed July 2021].