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How to Help a Newborn With Belly Aches

by Sara Ipatenco, studioD

If your newborn is pulling her knees up toward her chest and crying, chances are she has some belly pain. There are numerous reasons why your newborn would have a belly ache, including constipation, gas, infection or colic. You should call her pediatrician and schedule an appointment, but, in the meantime, there are numerous ways you can console and comfort your little one so she's more comfortable.

Rock your baby. While it won't necessarily make your baby's tummy stop hurting, it will provide a measure of comfort, which can help stop the fussiness and might even encourage your little one to fall asleep.

Place your baby on her back, hold her ankles gently in your hands and move her legs the way she would if she was riding a bike. This bicycle motion can help encourage bowel efficiency, which might help if your newborn is constipated or experiencing abdominal gas.

Analyze your newborn's diet. If you're breastfeeding, think about what you've eaten in the past few hours and try eliminating it in the future. If you've switched to formula or switched formula brands, think about making another change because a switch could also cause belly pain.

Give your newborn a warm bath. Often, the warm temperature will get the bowels moving if your little one has gas or is constipated, but the warmth can also help reduce the discomfort, no matter what's bothering your baby's belly.


  • Wash your hands often when you're caring for your newborn. Encourage other family members and guests to do the same. This will help prevent the spread of germs that could cause an infection or virus that will give your newborn a belly ache.


  • If your newborn has a fever or is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately. These suggest an infection or virus, which will require medical intervention rather than calming remedies at home.
  • If your newborn is having bloody stools or bloody diarrhea, seek medical attention right away. This could signal lactose intolerance or food poisoning, both of which require medical treatment.
  • Persistent crying can signal a serious condition such as an intestinal blockage. If you can't soothe or calm your baby no matter what you do, get medical attention right away.
  • If your baby's doctor prescribes medication, follow the directions exactly. This will help your little one feel better faster and help prevent a dangerous overdose of medicine.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images