You've waited nine long months to become a mommy, dreaming of cuddling, rocking and singing to your newborn. A fussy baby with a bellyache is not what you envisioned. While it's not uncommon for newborns to have fussy periods, if your baby is passing a lot of gas, crying inconsolably and pulling up his legs, consult your pediatrician to rule out a serious malady. If your doctor finds nothing wrong with your sweet new baby, there are some things you can do at home to help prevent and sooth a bellyache.
When you breastfeed your newborn, you are giving her the best start in life. Sometimes what you eat can cause your baby to get a bellyache if she is sensitive to certain foods. Foods you eat can enter your breast milk and cause pain within two hours, notes the website AskDrSears. Foods that sometimes cause fussiness include dairy products, drinks which contain caffeine, such as coffee and soft drinks, spicy foods, nuts and grains. Other foods that can cause a baby to be gassy include Brussels sprouts, green peppers, cabbage, broccoli, onions and cauliflower. Eliminate foods that your baby is sensitive to by keeping track of what you have eaten before a gassy or fussy period begins.
Certain formulas can sometimes cause fussiness, gas and bellyaches in a newborn as well. If the type of formula is suspected as being the reason for a stomachache, the pediatrician will often recommend trying a special formula that is made specifically for babies with special digestive needs. To help with spitting up, reflux and bellyaches, there are some things you can do. Avoid overfeeding your baby or feeding him too quickly, and burp your baby periodically during a feeding. There are a couple ways to effectively burp a baby, notes KidsHealth from Nemours. You can hold your baby against your chest or lay him on his belly across your lap and pat his back, while supporting his head with your other hand. It's also recommended that the hole in a bottle's nipple be the proper size, allowing just a few drops to drip out when you turn it upside down, according to the American Academy of Pediatric's website, HealthyChildren.org. This reduces the amount of air baby swallows while he drinks from a bottle.
Aside from feeding issues, there are several other possible causes of newborn bellyaches. Colic sometimes occurs in babies 5 months of age and younger, and causes uncontrollable crying in babies who are otherwise healthy. Constipation can make a newborn uncomfortable and cause a bellyache. If a baby has not had a bowel movement in three days or more, then constipation is likely the culprit. Illnesses such as stomach bugs, influenza, a common cold, ear infection and urinary tract infection can result in tummy aches as well, states BabyCenter. If any of these illnesses are suspected, consult your baby's pediatrician.
After consulting your doctor and ruling out anything serious, you can comfort your baby at home to relieve common belly pain. Hold your baby on his left side and rub his belly to encourage gas relief. Rock him or walk around with him. Make feeding time quiet and calm, avoiding sudden noise and distractions. Don't feed your newborn while he is lying down; keep him propped up instead. Time his feedings so you are feeding him before he gets exceedingly hungry.
- AskDrSears: Colic-Causing Foods in Breastfeeding
- HealthyChildren.org: Remedies for Spitty Babies
- AskDrSears: Choosing Formula
- HealthyChildren.org: Colic
- AskDrSears: Abdominal Pain
- BabyCenter: Stomachache in Babies
- KidsHealth from Nemours: Baby Basics, Burping Your Baby
- HealthyChildren.org: Calming a Fussy Baby
- HealthyChildren.org: Burping, Hiccups and Spitting Up
- Photo Credit Stefan_S/iStock/Getty Images
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