One question I often read online is what to do if your baby cries when you take a bottle away – the responses tell me it’s a common issue and there seems to be a number of reasons. Based on my own experiences as a father and listening to other parents, I discovered the possible whys!
If your baby cries when you take the bottle away it could be because they’re still hungry, need comfort, or are battling with colic, gas, infant reflux, food sensitivities, or allergies. Burping your baby during a feed could be another reason they cry when you take away their bottle.
- Food sensitivity, colic, gas, and infant reflux can make your baby cry when you take away a bottle.
- Growth spurts and comfort needs may be the reasons your baby cries if you take away a bottle.
- Burping during a feed could be why your baby is crying!
- Burping at the end of the feed, using a pacifier, or soothing sounds could prevent babies from crying.
Why does my baby cry when I take the bottle away?
If you’re switching your breastfed baby to bottle-feeding and they cry when you take away the bottle, they could be struggling with food sensitivity or an allergy to the formula. Babies can develop intolerance to some ingredients found in infant formula such as:
- Cow’s milk protein
Symptoms of infant formula intolerance include crying, diarrhea, or vomiting. Some mothers I know have experimented with different brands before settling on one that doesn’t trigger baby allergies to formula.
If your little one screams the minute you take away their bottle after a feed, the culprit could be acid or infant reflux. Symptoms of this painful condition include:
- Spitting up
- Gagging or choking
Acid reflux in babies happens when their esophagus isn’t fully developed, causing the milk to come back up during or after a feed. However, the reflux normally disappears as the baby’s esophagus develops from around four months old. I found holding our daughter in an upright position during feeding prevented issues such as reflux from happening or our daugther making a clicking sound.
Another reason your baby cries when you take away the bottle is colic. This unpleasant condition can be caused by an immature digestive system, gas buildup, or food sensitivity. Air ingestion during feeding contributes to gas buildup and using anti-colic bottles is one of the best ways to control this.
If your baby shows any of these symptoms after a feed, they could be battling with colic:
- Intense crying when the bottle is taken away
- Ongoing fussiness during and after a feed
- Facial blushing
- Pulled up legs, clenched fists, or tensed abdomen
Switching to a different infant formula brand could be the solution you’re looking for if you suspect your baby is struggling with colic.
Swallowing too much air during feeding results in gas getting trapped in your baby’s digestive system. This results in uncomfortable cramping, newborn hiccups, and crying when the bottle is taken away. Burping your baby during and after a feed can help to get rid of the gas in the stomach.
When comparing anti-colic bottles to regular ones, I suggest you opt for the former which includes features such as a venting system to reduce airflow during a feed. Anti-colic nipples include a vent to minimize the build-up of air in the teat.
Your baby is still hungry
If your baby isn’t battling with colic, acid reflux, allergies, or gas you can safely bet on the fact that they’re crying because they’re still hungry after a feed! To ensure your little one is getting enough milk, make sure you’re meeting their daily nutritional requirements for their age. Measuring the right amount of infant formula and water is essential to prevent underfeeding.
Watch out for growth spurts! Babies experience patterns of growth as they age and physical signs include changes in height and weight. During these short periods of growth spurts, your little one will be hungrier and will cry if they don’t feel satiated after a feed. Giving a little more infant formula during growth spurts will help but watch out for overfeeding!
The baby may simply like the feeling of a bottle in the mouth
For some babies, the feeling of a bottle in their mouth brings them comfort and a sense of security (similar to cuddling a stuffed animal!) Your little one is simply sucking on the nipple without consuming any milk because it soothes them.
Flutter sucking and comfort nursing are fairly common in breastfed babies wanting to be soothed. If your baby cries when you take away the bottle it could be they’re looking for some comfort. Either give them a pacifier or help them settle down with a comfort blanket or cuddly toy.
When you know it’s time to burp your baby
Pediatricians often recommend burping your baby every 2 to 3 ounces. This helps to control spit-ups and infant reflux. However, not all babies appreciate having their bottle taken away during a feed! They may not be ready to be burped because they’re still hungry.
When bottle-feeding our daughter, I noticed that she would press her tongue on the roof of her mouth – this was a sign that she was ready to be burped! I suggest looking out for similar signs.
Watch this informative video which demonstrates how to burp your baby during and after a feed.
How to prevent baby crying when taking the bottle away
Try burping after the entire bottle is finished
Waiting until your baby has finished the entire bottle before burping could prevent unnecessary crying and fussing during a feed. Not all babies like to be burped during a feed as they focus more on their need to satiate their hunger pangs!
Give your baby a pacifier after feeding
Giving your baby a pacifier once you take the bottle away after feeding could prevent unhappy crying particularly if they’re looking for comfort. However, try soothing your baby in other ways after a feed such as rocking them but if the crying persists even after burping, give them a pacifier.
Use soothing sounds to comfort your baby
Using soothing sounds such as singing their favorite lullaby could prevent your baby from crying when you take the bottle away. Talking softly while rocking your baby is soothing as is using a white noise machine with gentle natural sounds. These often mimic the sounds of the womb, comforting your little one after a feed.
As parents ourselves, ruling out conditions such as colic, reflux, gas, and allergies before finding other methods of soothing our daughter after a feed helped to prevent her from crying. Knowing when to give your baby a bottle (before or after a bath) could be the very solution you need to prevent your little one from crying!
Every baby is different and narrowing down the reasons will help you determine why your baby cries when you take away a bottle.