Baby feeding issues

Baby feeding issues

This article looks at the possible problems you and your baby may experience during feeding, such as colic, vomiting, diarrhoea as well as food allergies and intolerances – along with the potential causes and the solutions. Hopefully it will help you get to the root of the problem so you can both get back to enjoying feeding time.

Baby feeding issues

However you feed your baby, be it breast or bottle, there might be the occasional niggle. Which is hardly surprising when you consider that feeding is a brand new experience for you and your baby. But more often than not, any little problems you encounter can be remedied easily. So try not to worry too much if things don’t go as smoothly as you’d imagined.

When it comes to feeding time, your baby will show you they’re hungry with signs such as sucking their fists, getting restless and eventually crying. In some cases your baby will continue to cry after a feed. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong, it might just be that they need winding or even that they’re still hungry. Also, posseting is fairly common in young babies after a feed and nothing to worry about in the majority of cases. However, regular vomiting and weight loss are more serious issues that will require support and advice from your doctor or health visitor.


The symptoms of colic include a flushed face, clenched fists, and legs pulled up to the chest with 3 hours of crying, three times a day, three times per week. Although no-one really knows what causes it, colic is common in young babies with up to 1 in 5 suffering from it. If you are concerned, speak to your health visitor or doctor.

Crying before feeding

If your baby cries before feeding, it’s usually just to let you know they’re hungry. Some mums say that this type of cry sounds different to other crying. Don’t worry if it all sounds the same to you now, you’ll soon learn to distinguish between them and understand what your baby’s trying to tell you.

Crying after feeding

If your baby cries after their feed, it could mean several things and not necessarily that something is wrong. Winding your baby properly after every feed may help, as could offering them more milk to see if they’re still hungry – however, it’s worth noting that breastfed babies will probably need less winding than those who are bottlefed. If your baby still seems distressed, your health visitor should be able to offer some advice. Or you can give our experts a call anytime on 0800 996 1000.

Baby feeding issues

Poor weight gain

Most newborn babies lose a little weight straight after birth, but they should soon begin to put weight on if they are feeding correctly. Since your newborn’s stomach is quite small, they will need to feed a little and often. Anything from every 1 to 5 hours is quite normal. But each is different, so listen to your baby’s needs and feed them accordingly. There’s also no ideal amount or rate at which they should gain weight – again because they’re all different. But your health visitor will monitor your baby's weight gain, and let you know if there’s any cause for concern.


Posseting and regurgitation are terms given to the little bit of milk a baby brings up after feeding. Although a little posseting is natural, if it happens regularly – more than 4 times a day – and your baby brings up more than just a little bit of feed, there may be a chance that they have reflux , although in other cases this is just normal. If you suspect your baby is posseting too much, you should speak to your health visitor.


Vomiting is when your baby brings their entire feed back up. It's different to the effortless and gentle action of posseting, which tends to happen immediately after a feed. Vomiting happens a little longer afterwards and is a more forceful action with a larger volume. It often smells unpleasant too. You should contact your doctor if your baby is vomiting regularly, if it’s a large amount, if you ever notice blood in their vomit , if they also have diarrhoea or if they’re younger than 3 months.


With breastfeeding baby’s, it’s normal for them to have runny stools and to pass them quite frequently – this is not diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is usually caused by either a bug or a feeding issue – if you’re at all worried about it, speak to your health visitor or doctor.

Medical problems

If your baby has a cold or is feeling poorly, it can put them off their food. For example, a blocked-up nose can make it difficult to breathe and leave your baby reluctant to close their mouth to feed. If this happens, ask your health visitor to show you how to safely relieve your baby’s congestion.

Food allergies and intolerances

Food allergies and intolerances can be another explanation for weight loss or difficulty in feeding. If you suspect something’s wrong, it’s always worth taking your baby to see the doctor.

If you have any questions about feeding your baby, contact our baby feeding experts, anytime, on 0800 996 1000. Or use our confidential instant messaging service, Live Chat.


beckboo said...

My baby girl Lola has just turned 20 weeks, i've been feeding her formula for the last 3-4 weeks but am having real troubles getting her to take more than 2-3 oz at a time during the day, yet she's waking very hungry at night and taking more..!! I have tried everything, feeding in a quite room, stretching her to 4hrly longer sometimes and she's not interested, i have now given in and try 3hrly to just do my best and getting some milk inside her in hope that i'll get some sleep but it's to no avail..! What can i do..??

20 January 2011 10:11
steph1977 said...

I have a new baby who is 4 weeks old. after a feed he has started bringin quite alot of milk back. At fisrt i thought it was because he was chesty but he is still doing it, he is hungry again after bein sick. He is on sma at the moment and im thinkin of changing to something else. What should i do ?

2 April 2011 17:12
nataflea263 said...

hi steph1977 i have a son whose now 7mths old and i found i had the same problem when he was on sma, i was advised by health visitor to wean him onto a colic and constipation relief milk (aptamil colic and constipation relief milk) as he had really bad colic and was bringing up most of his milk feed and was hungry again straight after. After the first couple of feeds on the new milk he had reduced the amount of milk he was bringing up and also drinking more ounces which was great. Dr. Browns bottles also are great as they reduce the amount of air baby takes in when drinking...when teamed with aptamils milk and colief it worked brilliant and my son has been sleeping through the night since he was 9wks old. hope this helps

21 June 2011 22:33
jevans201728 said...

my daughter is nearly 3 weeks old and nearly everytime she as her feed she chocks, iv changed her teats to a few different ones,and is now on slow flow teats and it is not making any diffence,shes keeping all her feed down but its catchin hr breath and its worrying

16 July 2011 15:38
honey2 said...

my son is 4 weeks old and on aptamil im thinking of chnging him to the coilc n consipaton comfert milk as he always has bad problems bringin up windn have problems with number 2 im now feeding him 5 ozs every 3 hours after 2 hours he is looking for more food but in the night he has his last feed at half9 then up at half 3 do u think i should change his food x

12 September 2011 18:55
olliebear said...

hello honey2
My son is 5 weeks old and has 50zs every 3hrs and has a few probs with wind and having a poo but sleeps from 9 pm to about 2am did you change his milk and has your son improved with his colic?

6 January 2012 12:22
mia d said...

my baby girl is 13 weeks old and she doesn't like milk iv tried all the brands and nothing is working. my health visitor is useless she is not putting weight on sick of waiting 2 hear from docs and hvs any ideas as she crys all time b'cos she is hungry ?

10 March 2012 00:46
Tij said...

My 5 month old still brings up her milk after every feed, I started her on first milk then gave her hungry baby after 2months she wants bring her milk up with hungry baby but was drinking less but more often so I then swapped back to first milk and she drinks more and is fuller for longer but she's bringing up her milk after every feed. I've started weaning her and she really enjoys her food but in concerned that she's vomiting with her milk and not keeping it down. Shouldn't she have grown out of the sickness? Or should I switch her back to hungry baby. I feel confused as in a months time I'm going to have to change her to follow on milk. Any ideas?

1 November 2012 18:01

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