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Signs of Stomach Cramps in Newborns

author image Nicole Crawford
Nicole Crawford is a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist. She is studying to be a nutrition coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher. Nicole contributes regularly at Breaking Muscle and has also written for "Paleo Magazine," The Bump and Fit Bottomed Mamas.
Signs of Stomach Cramps in Newborns
newborn crying in crib Photo Credit: mitarart/iStock/Getty Images

If you've tried cuddling, feeding, rocking and other methods of baby soothing, but your newborn still complains, she might have stomach cramps. If your baby has a fever, stops gaining weight at a healthy rate or if she seems like she's in pain, consult your pediatrician to discuss possible causes.

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Colic is often the diagnosis if crying occurs more than three hours a day, three days a week for more than three weeks in an otherwise healthy baby. Although doctors are unsure what the exact cause of crying is in babies with colic, theories suggest that stomach pain is to blame, according to KidsHealth. Babies might turn red in the face and often curl their legs into the fetal position when they suffer from stomach cramps. Persistent crying can be very discouraging for parents, so be sure to seek help if you need it.


Gassiness is another manifestation of stomach cramps in newborns. If gas is the problem, your newborn's stomach might also appear bloated and swollen. Gas and crying often go together and each makes the other worse. When babies cry, they gulp in air, which worsens the gassiness. To minimize gas, be sure that you burp your newborn after feedings. If you breastfeed, try eliminating gassy foods from your diet, such as caffeine, beans, cabbage, and broccoli, as eating them can cause gas in your newborn.


Your baby's diapers may also indicate gastrointestinal problems. If your newborn has green, foamy stools, she might be getting too much lactose in her system, which causes gassiness and discomfort. According to the La Leche League, women who breastfeed can prevent this problem by always making sure that the baby empties the breast completely. This practice ensures that your baby gets enough hindmilk, which is the milk that comes in at the end of a nursing session. Hindmilk has a lower lactose content than the milk at the beginning of the nursing session; it also contains fat that aids in digestion.

Comforting Your Baby

Stomach cramps can be very uncomfortable for babies and stressful for parents. You can relieve some of your newborn's discomfort by rocking her, carrying her in an infant carrier, or holding her in an upright position. Overstimulation can make colic worse; some newborns might benefit from being swaddled in a quiet room. Babies usually outgrow colic around 3 or 4 months of age, notes MedlinePlus. If your baby has persistent vomiting, diarrhea or bloody stools, call your doctor right away.

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