“Belly pain after breastfeeding is extremely common,” says Joel Gator Warsh, MD, of Integrative Pediatrics and Medicine, Studio City, CA, and part of the pediatric staff of Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
“Reflux is the most common cause of abdominal pain in a baby,” continues Dr. Warsh. Acid reflux is why babies often spit up after being breast fed.
“All babies are born with a weak sphincter at the top of their stomach which leads to reflux.” The esophageal sphincter is between the top of the stomach (where food/drink goes into for digestion) and the bottom of the esophagus, the so-called food pipe.
“For most babies the discomfort is mild and the sphincter tightens up after the first few months without any other issues,” says Dr. Warsh.
“For some unlucky babies, the reflux can become pathologic and intervention is needed.
“Newborns are also often very gassy and the gas can lead to discomfort. They may be swallowing a lot of air while feeding, or they may be producing more gas than the average baby, leading to discomfort.”
Another Possible Cause of
Stomach Pain in a Baby
Following Breast Feeding
Dr. Warsh says, “I would also consider a food sensitivity or allergy. Babies can be sensitive or allergic to dairy or anything else their mother is eating, which can lead to gut inflammation; so an elimination diet for the mother may be needed.”