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She gets fussy and agitated after breastfeeding.

My daughter is one week and two days old and recently has been crying frequently to the point she is inconsolable. She seems like she is hungry more than usual and I've been breast feeding her as often as I can.

The things that worry me the most is that she coughs when fed by breast or bottle if I pump milk, she has constant hiccups and seems to have digestive distress. I want to keep on breast feeding her but I'm concerned my milk could be too much for her stomach.

She seems soothed at the time of feeding and after, but once digestion hits she gets fussy and agitated. I try to eat a relatively good diet and don't take in a lot of dairy. I also take my prenatal vitamins every day so I'm not sure what to do.


Rita Madden | Other-provider

Rita Madden

I wonder if your baby is going through a growth spurt. When growth spurts happen, it seems that the baby wants to eat all the time, more often than what you are used to.  She might nurse often and sleep well after feedings, but not sleep for long stretches.  This pattern of growth spurt feedings may continue for 2-4 days. 

I recommend that you keep a feeding log for a few days. Jot down the times she starts nursing and then count them up at the end of a 24-hour period. After doing this for 3 days, contact your IBCLC to discuss the pattern.

If she coughs when fed, it may be in response to a fast milk flow. This can be helped by nursing with you in a laid-back position, reclining, so that gravity will work against the flow of milk. If it happens with a bottle, pace her feedings and burp her often.

If she is having a hard time digesting, her stools will change color. Try to have a varied diet and keep a note of what you eat. If you find there is a food that consistently relates to fussiness, then eliminate that food for a month or two and try it again later. Some foods that commonly cause gassiness are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, or dairy.

Not all fussiness is related to feedings, she may want to be held or swaddled. Skin-to-skin holding can work wonders. She may want the reassurance of hearing your heartbeat, feeling your warmth and knowing you are close. These are all things she is used to from when you were pregnant with her and are very comforting to her.

Read more answers by Dr. Madden