If your baby is experiencing fussiness, gas, or frequent spit-up, you're certainly not alone. Feeding problems can occur whether you're breastfeeding or formula-feeding. They often happen because your baby's digestive system is still developing, especially during his first 3 or 4 months.
Feeding issues can usually be addressed, but the first step is to know what to look for. It can be confusing because so many different situations share similar behaviours, including fussiness, gas, and extensive crying. Spit-up, vomiting, and diarrhea can also overlap in both common and more serious feeding issues.
If your baby has a feeding issue, ask your baby's doctor about some options to help your baby's digestive system. The doctor may recommend adjusting your feeding technique or an alternative formula. Some formulas, such as Enfamil® A+ Solutions™, have been designed to help common feeding issues, while still providing the nourishment your baby needs for healthy development. It’s a good idea to keep notes or a log about your baby’s behaviour before you see the doctor.
Here's some information the doctor will want to know:
- Feeding time: note the brand and type of formula you're using, how much your baby eats at each feeding, and the time each feeding starts and stops.
- Behaviours: write down what you notice about your baby during or after feeding such as fussiness, gas, spit-up, prolonged crying, skin rashes, diarrhea, or constipation.
- Sleep patterns: note your baby's sleep habits, hours of uninterrupted sleep, number of times he wakes up per night, length and frequency of naps, and whether he's fussy before falling asleep.
- Bowel movements: keep track of your baby's bowel movements, including frequency and consistency. Believe it or not, your baby's stools can occasionally reveal a lot about what's going on.
- Daily assessment: at the end of each day, rate your baby's day on a scale of one (very good) to five (very bad). If it was bad or very bad, look over your notes and highlight the behaviours that especially concern you. We've provided a behaviour log sheet to help you get started.
- If there's a family history of allergies, be sure to pass on this information.
Also, if you've done some research about formulas for baby feeding problems, mention the information you've found. Once in the office, it's easy to get distracted by your baby or get so involved in the discussion that you forget the questions you want to ask. For that reason, it's a good idea to write down your questions beforehand so you can be sure to get all the answers you're looking for. We've started a list of questions you may want to ask, and left room for you to add your own.
Questions you may want to ask your baby's doctor
- How can I tell if my baby has a feeding issue?
- Which behaviours can indicate a milk allergy?
- What can I do when my breastfed baby has fussiness and gas?
- Are there soothing techniques that might help my baby?
- What is the right way to burp my baby?
- How do I know the right amount of formula to feed my baby?
- What are some changes in behaviour that might make my baby feel better?
- How do I safely switch to a different formula?
- How long will it take for my baby to adjust to a formula?
- Will my baby outgrow a feeding issue or should I do something about it now?
- Once I switch formulas, should I expect a change in my baby's bowel movements?