Back to Knowledge Center Results

When Baby has Tummy Troubles

​​Your new baby is upset and crying, but you're not sure why because they can't tell you. It's possible it's tummy troubles.

Common Signs of Tummy Problems in Babies

For infants, spitting up or somewhat irregular bowel movements are not necessarily signs that a baby is having stomach issues. In fact, 75%-80% of babies spit up. This happens because where a baby's esophagus and stomach meet is naturally wide open, making it easier for stomach contents to go back up the esophagus.

Instead, if you have concerns about your baby's stomach, look at the following indicators:

  • Poor growth - whether or not a child is increasing their weight and growth at an appropriate rate
  • Excessive crying - meaning more than three or four hours a day
  • Severe crying with movement

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if crying is “severe" or “excessive". Even before concerns arise, pay close attention to the different reasons baby is crying and what those cries sound like. For example, note how they cry when their diaper is wet versus when they get a shot in their leg. This will help tell if a certain tone or kind of cry is an indicator of something they want or of a problem.

How to Relieve Common Tummy Troubles

Gas Pain

Babies can get gas for a variety of reasons, but no matter what the reason, a baby crying because of gas pain can mean frustrated parents and sleepless nights.

You can prevent or soothe gas pain by:

  • Keeping baby as upright as possible during feeding
  • Trying different types of nipples if bottle feeding - usually a slower flow helps
  • Trying different types of formula - baby may be intolerant to their formula (or even breastfeeding)
  • If breastfeeding, considering what mom is eating – mom's diet could be giving baby gas
  • Tight swaddling baby or going on a long car ride


Each baby is different in how frequently they poop. What determines constipation is the consistency of the bowel movement. Color is not as important, as long as it's not red or white. An occasional white or red poop might not be a problem, but you should consult with your pediatrician if it's consistent, or if a red poop looks slimy. If you're concerned, take photos to show to your pediatrician.

Signs that your baby may be constipated include:

  • Poop that is hard
  • Poop that is large in diameter
  • Baby is having difficulty pushing out a poop

If you notice these signs, you can help prevent constipation by:

  • Trying different types of formula - baby may be intolerant to their formula (or even breastfeeding)
  • Bending baby's knees toward their chest or exercise their legs gently in a bicycle motion.
  • Bathing baby in warm water to help relax their muscles
  • Massaging their belly with a gentle motion​

If these home care options don't work, there are some over-the-counter medications that you can try. Consult your pediatrician first.​

Health;Newborn Pediatric Gastroenterology