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Kids Health QA: Baby Bellyaches

Q. I breastfeed my 7-week-old, with occasional formula. She squirms and cries when she poops. I've tried everything. What else can I do?

Rest assured, this will go away, improving as her digestive system matures. Lots of babies squirm and fuss when they have a bowel movement, but I know it's hard to watch yours go through it. Sometimes babies who are mostly breastfed have gas and constipation with even just the occasional bottle of formula, so if it's not an important part of your routine, try nursing exclusively for a while. Otherwise, talk to your doctor about switching formulas.

If neither option works, consider eliminating dairy from your diet. A cow's-milk allergy can cause symptoms like these in breastfed babies whose moms eat milk-based foods.

In the meantime, holding her with her belly down may soothe the immediate discomfort (just don't let her sleep that way). Parents also sometimes ask me about simethicone drops, but I don't recommend them -- studies show they're no more effective than a placebo. If none of the other interventions helps, or if she develops hard stool, blood in her stool, vomiting, or fever, check in with your pediatrician.

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