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Common Infant Stomach Problems

By Amber Canaan ; Updated June 13, 2017

Newborn and older babies can have a variety of stomach problems related to immature digestive systems and foods eaten by their mothers. Stomach problems and digestive issues cause a host of symptoms including fussiness, gas and poor feeding. Parents should consult with their family doctor or pediatrician for diagnosis and treatment options if they suspect a stomach problem.


Reflux is due to babies' immature stomach and lower esophageal sphincter muscle. Dr. Bryan Vartabedian at "Parents" magazine explains that some babies' stomachs do not empty as quickly as they should, and milk can flow back into the esophagus. Reflux causes a burning sensation that may be uncomfortable for a baby and cause her to resist feeding. Doctors prescribe medications to help manage reflux until the baby grows out of it, which occurs most often between 4 and 12 months of age.


Vomiting is a normal occurrence for most babies. In some cases, babies frequently vomit large amounts of formula or breast milk; sometimes they may vomit an entire feeding. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, vomiting large quantities of food may indicate a medical problem. Formula intolerance and overfeeding can result in vomiting. A blockage in the intestines can also cause this symptom. A physician should examine babies who vomit frequently to determine the cause and find an appropriate treatment. Continued vomiting can result in dehydration and malnourishment.


Colic is a widely misunderstood disorder. Drs. William and Martha Sears explain that babies are often diagnosed as having colic when they cry inconsolably for hours on end. According to Drs. Sears, this crying is a baby's response to abdominal pain, although the exact cause of the pain may be unknown in most cases. Colic occurs most often in the first three weeks of a baby’s life, and the crying episodes usually last for at least three hours a day.

Food Intolerance

Breast-fed babies may develop stomach problems such as excess gas, vomiting or pain from something in the mother’s diet that passes through breast milk. Common foods that may cause these reactions in babies include dairy products, meats and gas-producing foods such as cabbage or green peppers. Mothers who breast-feed can keep a record of the foods they eat before the baby’s symptoms appear to identify and eliminate offending foods from their diets.

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