After you have finished feeding your baby, he may be wide awake, ready to fall asleep or crying and fussing. It can be difficult to know what to do next, especially in the early days and weeks with your baby, before you are used his cues and preferred routines. Determine what type of mood your baby is in before deciding what to do after a feeding.
Many times, babies ingest some air along with their breast milk or baby formula. This swallowed air can cause pain and fussiness, according to Kids Health. Try burping your baby to see if that relieves her discomfort. Do this by placing her over your shoulder and gently rubbing or patting her back. Another option is to sit her on your lap, lean her forward, while being sure to support her head, and pat her back until she burps.
After eating, your baby may urinate or have a bowel movement. A wet or dirty diaper soon feels cold and uncomfortable and may sting if the baby has a diaper rash, states Family Education. Even if you just changed your baby's diaper before feeding him, check him after he eats, especially if he is fussing or crying or if you are planning on putting him down for a nap soon.
If your baby seems wide awake after a feeding, he may be ready for some gentle playtime. Talk to your little one, caress him or show him a brightly-colored toy or two. Pediatrician Dr. Sears suggests showing him his face in the mirror or directing his attention to the ceiling fan. Also, after a feeding is a good time to take him outside for a walk, because you know that he won't get hungry while you are gone.
Young infants often fall asleep after eating, so your baby may be drowsy but not quite asleep. Sometimes removing your breast or the bottle from her mouth will startle her out of a semi-sleeping state and may cause her to start crying. Swaddle her or hold her firmly and walk or bounce with her to calm her down. Place your baby in her bassinet or crib while she's drowsy but still awake. You can rub her back or stay close by for a moment, but encourage her to fall asleep on her own. If you're just finishing up with a night feeding, try to keep the environment calm and avoid stimulating your baby with sights or sounds. This will help to keep her in a sleepy state, which will make getting her back to sleep easier.