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Mom’s Question:

My daughter is 5 weeks old and she is fussy, has 8-10 loose and smelly stools, difficulty sleeping, and cries for long periods of time. She is acting like she wants to eat more in one feeding but it’s hard to get her to latch on to the bottle.

Any thoughts?


Baby Help Line:

Tips For Fussy Newborn Baby

Congratulations on your little daughter! All new babies are different, some sleep for long periods of time, others have lots of little naps, very frequent feeds and seem to be awake for long periods of time. In general, the younger the baby, the shorter the sleep cycle, which is why so many newborn babies catnap a lot. You can learn about baby sleep patterns at different ages here.

When you think about it, your little one has been happily safe and sound inside you, every need is taken care of, and now out in a big wide world full of everything new and having to figure out how to communicate her needs to you it is a real challenge (for you both!).

Babies cry because they need you, it isn’t being fussy, it is her way of letting you know she is uncomfortable, hungry, lonely, has a tummy or headache. Your baby is so young, the best thing you can do is have her with you as much as you possibly can, in fact, if she is unhappy, often skin contact is the most soothing thing (and Dad can tuck a baby inside their shirts too!) You can learn about more ways to soothe a baby here.

You say you are bottle feeding, and I suspect that is what she is struggling to cope with. For many reasons, breastfeeding doesn’t work for all Mom’s, but breast milk is the ideal for a new baby’s digestion. I suspect her little tummy is still pretty immature and she is struggling to digest the formula. That would probably explain the stools and her discomfort. She might cope better with more frequent, smaller bottles. You could talk with your Health Nurse or Pediatrician as to trying a different formula, some babies do better on Soy formulas for example.

You are both getting used to feeding and bottles, although convenient take a bit of getting used to for many new babies. You can experiment with different teats on the bottle, she may prefer one with bigger holes. To be fair, breastfeeding often takes weeks to figure out for mom and baby too!

At this young age it is all really an experiment to figure out what suits your baby, and what suits your lifestyle – there are no set rules. Babies pick up on Mom’s stress too, so if you are feeling anxious or worrying about going back to work for instance, your little one will be picking up on your stress. Try to relax and just enjoy her as much as you can, before you know it she’ll be off to school and you will wonder where the time went!

Studies show that 6 weeks is actually the peak in the amount of time spent crying for newborn babies unless they develop colic; after that, the time spent crying slowly starts to fall as the baby grows and matures. I actually think 6 weeks is the peak of Mom’s and Dad’s crying too although I haven’t seen any studies on that. It can be a very exhausting time! Things do get easier and better.

Warm wishes and good luck with your new baby,


More Crying Newborn Babies

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  1. Sabrina Eartha

    Your baby might have a tummy ache.