What if a 1-month-old baby wants to eat all the time? Is this normal?
The mom in this Q&A has a 5 weeks old baby that cries and wants to eat frequently and also seems to be constipated.
My baby is 5 weeks old and he never gets full, he is forever crying for his bottle. Is there something more solid or something else that I can give him?
Another thing is that I think he is constipated, because he cries whenever he has to po-po or fart, what can I do, pls help?
(CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA)
Tips When Baby Wants to Eat All The Time
Before I go into the tips, there are a few things that might be interesting for you to know about babies at the age of 5-6 weeks:
- They are in a growth spurt. A rule of thumb is that 6 days, 6 weeks and 6 months are times when babies tend to start needing more food than previously because of their growth. For example at the age of 6 months, it may be hard for breastfeeding moms to keep their babies content on only breast milk. (These episodes of frequent feeding are often called cluster feeding. You can read about cluster feeding here, and how to cope with cluster feeding here.
- Babies are very different in how obvious their growth spurts are. One of my kids became totally crazy for more food during a growth spurt. (And had them often!)
- At 6 weeks, babies’ time spent crying tend to peak (unless the suffer from colic). This can be a very exhausting period for parents, but a few weeks later things have often calmed down, at least a bit.
All this said, I think there are a few things you can do for your hungry little baby:
- Give him more food – formula in your case. Offer food more often, maybe he is really hungry! At this age, it really doesn’t matter if your baby becomes a bit chubby. Breastfed babies often become downright fat during their first months of living, but as soon as they start moving around, this starts to normalize. In growth spurts, breastfed babies sometimes want to nurse every hour or every second hour. Exhausting, but they need it. While bottle-fed babies often remain full for a bit longer periods, they may also go through periods when they need to eat more frequently.
- It is better for your baby if you try to offer food more often than in larger portions, particularly if he seems to have some tummy pain. You can even try cutting down the amount a bit and feed him more often to see if it helps for his gas and pain. (But don’t stop before he is more or less content, or you’ll just have a very fussy baby.)
- Don’t try to give him anything more solid than formula! Formula is tough enough for young babies’ tummies and something even more solid will only result in more constipation and pain.
- Also, don’t be tempted to add more formula powder to the water, to make the formula more filling. It will also cause tummy pain and constipation.
From the information you give, I can’t say if your baby is really constipated or not. He can be, since he is formula fed.
Are the stools hard? Does he pass stools less often than once a day?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, your baby may be constipated. In such case, check here for more symptoms as well as tips on how to deal with your baby’s constipation.
If the stools are not hard, your baby is likely to just suffer from ordinary newborn problems. Their digestive systems need some time to mature and gas and pain are very common problems during the first 2-3 months.
One thing you can do then is to try to help your baby with the pain:
- Baby massage as well as gently pressing his legs towards his stomach to help him release gas can be very efficient.
- Also try carrying him around on your arm belly down with his head close to your elbow. This grips seems to comfort many infants. (Make sure you hold him steadily!)
- You can of course also consider offering him a pacifier, which really helps soothing some children.
Good luck with your little son!
More On Bottle-Fed Babies
Who else has a baby that wants to eat all the time? Share your comments below.