13 Newborn Upset Stomach Signs and 10 Ways to deal with it

Newborn Upset Stomach Signs

We know that welcoming a tiny human into your world comes with a whirlwind of emotions and a crash course in deciphering their cues. It’s like learning a secret language only you and your baby understand. This blog post will cover details about newborn upset stomach signs, those subtle hints your baby drops when their tummy isn’t exactly thrilled with its current status quo. From deciphering if that adorable little frown means “I ate too much, Mom!” to understanding if there’s more behind that sudden spitting-up extravaganza, this post will share things you can do to when newborn has stomach issues.

Newborn Digestive System Development

During those early weeks of life, a newborn’s digestive system is in a state of maturation. The intricate network of organs and enzymes responsible for breaking down nutrients is gradually gearing up to fulfill its role. This development, while natural, can make infants susceptible to digestive disturbances.

In their early days, newborns showcase various digestive patterns that might initially seem concerning but are usually part of their adjustment to the outside world. It’s common for them to exhibit irregular feeding patterns, ranging from frequent, small feedings to cluster feeding sessions. These variations are often reflective of the baby’s needs and are generally not a cause for worry.

Subscribe to my blog for Parenting tips that will make you feel like a pro, and get access to exclusive free Printables that will keep your little ones busy and happy! 

13 Important Newborn Upset Stomach Signs

Babies, especially newborns, have limited ways of communicating their discomfort. Being attentive to their cues can help you identify if their tummy is upset. Look out for the following signs:

Common Digestive Patterns in Newborns

In their early days, newborns showcase various digestive patterns that might initially seem concerning but are usually part of their adjustment to the outside world. It’s common for them to exhibit irregular feeding patterns, ranging from frequent, small feedings to cluster feeding sessions. These variations are often reflective of the baby’s needs and are generally not a cause for worry. This is one of the important newborn upset stomach signs.

Changes in Feeding Patterns

One of the first subtle newborn upset stomach signs is a shift in the baby’s feeding behavior. If your newborn suddenly becomes disinterested in feeding or starts to nurse more frequently, it could be an indicator of digestive discomfort. Some infants might pull away from the breast or bottle mid-feed, expressing their unease.

Excessive Gas and Burping

As newborns swallow air during feeds, gas accumulation is inevitable. However, an unusually high amount of gas, accompanied by frequent burping, can suggest an upset stomach. If your baby seems to be expelling gas more vigorously or is experiencing discomfort while passing gas, it’s worth investigating further.

Irritability During Feeding

If feeding times become moments of distress rather than nourishment, it might point to an upset stomach. Watch for signs of irritability, such as clenching fists, arching the back, or fussing during feeds. These behaviors could indicate that the baby is associating feeding with discomfort.

Frequent Spit-Up and Vomiting

Spit-up is a common occurrence in newborns due to their underdeveloped lower esophageal sphincter. However, excessive spit-up, especially if it’s forceful or accompanied by signs of discomfort, might signal an underlying issue. Projectile vomiting, where the milk is forcefully expelled, could also be indicative of digestive troubles.

Abdominal Distension and Tenderness

A bloated or distended abdomen, coupled with signs of tenderness, might be indicative of gas accumulation or gastrointestinal distress. Gently palpating the baby’s belly can give you an idea of their comfort level. If they react with fussiness or discomfort, it’s worth investigating further.

Irregular Bowel Movements

Irregular bowel movements is a one of the significant newborn upset stomach signs. Newborns have a wide range of bowel movement patterns. Some might have several bowel movements a day, while others might go a few days between movements. However, drastic changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, could signify digestive upset.

Restlessness and Disrupted Sleep

A content baby usually transitions smoothly into sleep. If your newborn seems unusually restless after feedings or has difficulty settling down, it could indicate digestive discomfort. Restlessness and disrupted sleep patterns are often linked to digestive issues.

Clenching and Arching of the Body

Observe how your baby’s body responds during and after feeds. If they clench their fists, arch their back, or display other tense body postures, it might be a manifestation of stomach discomfort. These physical cues can be subtle but are worth noting.

Persistent Crying Spells

Babies cry for various reasons, but if your newborn experiences prolonged and inconsolable crying spells, it could be due to digestive discomfort. This is especially true if the crying is accompanied by other signs of upset stomach, such as gas or spit-up.

Food Sensitivities and Allergies

Newborns can exhibit sensitivities to certain foods, especially if breastfeeding. Consuming spicy or gas-inducing foods can sometimes trigger discomfort in the baby. Similarly, if the baby is formula-fed, they might react to certain ingredients in the formula.

Overfeeding or Underfeeding

Balancing the right amount of milk for a growing newborn can be challenging. Overfeeding can lead to digestive overload, while underfeeding might cause hunger-related discomfort. Finding the right feeding rhythm is essential to prevent upset stomach.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a more severe form of acid reflux that can cause significant discomfort for infants. It’s characterized by frequent and persistent spitting up, often accompanied by signs of distress. Consulting a pediatrician is crucial if GERD is suspected.

Distinguishing Factors between Upset Stomach and Colic

Colic and upset stomach can share some common symptoms, but they have distinct characteristics. Upset stomach symptoms often revolve around feeding and digestion, while colic is characterized by prolonged, unexplained crying spells.

Possible Causes of Upset Stomach in Newborns

Understanding the potential causes of your baby’s upset stomach can help you address the issue effectively. Here are some common culprits:

  • Gas – Gas is a normal part of digestion, but it can cause discomfort in newborns. Their immature digestive systems may struggle to pass gas efficiently, leading to trapped bubbles. Look for excessive fussiness during and after feedings, as well as pulling their legs towards their chest or appearing bloated.
  • Indigestion – Indigestion, including acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can affect infants. Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents flow back into the esophagus, causing discomfort. Watch out for arching of the back, grimacing, and frequent spitting up.
  • Constipation – Newborns may experience constipation, especially when their diet or routine changes. Their developing digestive systems may struggle to pass regular bowel movements. If your baby has hard and dry stools or shows signs of discomfort during bowel movements, constipation may be the cause.
  • Food Sensitivities – Even breastfed babies can develop sensitivities to certain foods through breast milk. Pay attention to any consistent patterns of discomfort after consuming specific foods. Consider eliminating potential trigger foods from your diet to see if symptoms of baby upset stomach improve.

Soothing Techniques for Your Baby Upset Stomach

Uncover 13 Newborn Upset Stomach Signs
Uncover 13 Newborn Upset Stomach Signs

Now that you are familiar with the signs and causes of an upset stomach in newborns, let’s explore effective techniques to soothe your baby’s discomfort:

  • Baby Massage – Gentle infant massage can provide relief for your baby’s upset stomach. Use moderate pressure and perform a 15-minute massage on their face, abdomen, and limbs. This can help alleviate abdominal discomfort and promote healthy digestion.
  • Leg Exercises for Gas Relief– Bicycle baby’s legs by gently moving them back and forth. This motion can help release trapped gas in the intestines and provide relief. Another exercise is to bend your baby’s legs and bring their knees towards their tummy. These leg exercises can aid in gas expulsion.
  • Consider Formula Options – If your baby is formula-fed, consider trying an easy-to-digest formula. Some formulas have milk proteins partially broken down, making them easier for babies to digest. Look for formulas labeled as “gentle” and those that contain probiotics, as they can aid in digestion for fussy infants.
  • Check Baby’s Latch and Feeding Technique – Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, ensure your baby has a proper latch to prevent excess air intake. Contact a lactation consultant to adjust the latch if needed. For bottle-feeding, hold the bottle in a way that prevents excess air from entering. Burp your baby frequently during feedings to minimize gas buildup.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet – If you breastfeed, pay attention to your diet as certain foods can impact your baby’s digestion. Spicy foods, dairy, and caffeine are common culprits. Experiment with eliminating potential trigger foods from your diet to see if it improves your baby’s stomach discomfort. Learn about the list of food that could lead to gas in babies
  • Tummy Time and Positioning – Engage your baby in regular tummy time to help relieve gas and promote healthy digestion. Ensure your baby is comfortable by providing support and avoiding tight waistbands or diapers. When your baby is lying down, prop their feet against a surface to aid in bowel movement efforts.
  • Warm Baths and Warm Towels – A warm bath or placing a warm towel on your baby’s tummy can provide soothing relief. Make sure the water or towel is not too hot to avoid discomfort. These warm treatments can help relax your baby and potentially aid in bowel movements.
  • Upright Positioning After Feedings – After feeding, keep your baby upright for about 20 to 30 minutes to aid in digestion. Avoid laying them down immediately, as it may cause discomfort. If breastfeeding, consider utilizing an upright breastfeeding position, such as the football hold or laid-back position, to minimize reflux.
  • Probiotics and Fiber-rich Foods – Discuss with your pediatrician the potential use of probiotics for your baby, as they can help promote a healthy gut. For babies who have started solids, incorporate fiber-rich foods into their diet to prevent constipation and aid in digestion. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are excellent choices.
  • Seek Medical Advice if Needed– If your baby upset stomach persists or worsens, or if you notice additional concerning symptoms such as a fever, blood in the stool, or extreme distress, it is essential to consult your pediatrician. They can provide expert guidance and rule out any underlying medical conditions.


Understanding the signs and causes of an upset stomach in newborns is crucial for providing relief and comfort to your baby. By implementing gentle soothing techniques, such as baby massage, leg exercises, and proper feeding practices, you can help alleviate their discomfort. Additionally, being mindful of your baby’s diet, maintaining an upright position after feedings, and seeking medical advice when necessary can contribute to their overall well-being. Remember, each baby is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the most effective methods for your little one. Stay attentive to their needs, and with time and patience, you will help your baby find relief from their upset stomach.

Newborn Upset Stomach Signs

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

I would stay connected and keep you updated with parenting tips, pregnancy guides, creative ideas, easy crafts, and Free Printables. Subscribe to Colossalumbrella to get new ideas delivered to your inbox. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

13 Newborn Upset Stomach Signs and 10 Ways to deal with it
Share on Social Media
Scroll to top