Kate and William are having the necessary privacy with their baby until even family around becomes too much and the natural feeling is to be in your own small family unit.
I remember those early days with a newborn baby and it doesn’t matter how much you know, because you are now in a unique situation, your family unit is a one-off and whatever advice people around you give, at the end of the day it has to be appropriate to your personal situation. Nurturing a baby may be very easy or it can be unpredictably very difficult.
A crying baby is stressful and distressing to everyone and everybody has the answer!
One of the commonest reasons is infantile colic but what is this?
The definition of colic used by researchers is:
“A healthy, well-fed infant who cries for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, for more than three weeks.”
We can’t explain it but talking to mothers and examining babies we know that
colic usually starts at about 2 weeks of age in a full-term infant (or later in a premature infant).
Colic almost always goes away by 3 or 4 months of age.
There is no difference in the prevalence of colic for boys and girls, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, and whether the baby is first born or not.
Scientific studies have shown that children who had colic are no different in terms of personality, mental health, intelligence, etc., than children who never had colic.
Despite many scientific studies, no single common cause for colic has been found. Infantile colic has many different causes, and that’s why there is no one way to help it.
Many nurse, doctors, nannies have made hypotheses but nuone are well founded and I certainly it is no-ones fault!
Some of these theoretical causes:-
*Air (gas) in the intestinal tract
*Increased hormone levels that cause stomach aches or a fussy mood
*Hypersensitivity to a stimulation in the environment (sound, light, etc.)
*An intense temperament in the newborn period
*An immature nervous system
*An immature digestive system in which the intestinal muscles are often in spasm
*Digestive problems, perhaps due to intolerance of cow’s milk protein or lactose
*Reflux (heartburn due to stomach acid and milk flowing back into the oesophagus
Needless to say, if a mother or father is concerned it is reasonable to consult the Health Visitor and /or the GP in order to check if there is another reason for the excessive crying or to consider treatment for the colic.
Other reasons to be considered are:-
*An infection (for example: an ear or urinary infection)
*evidence of reflux or gastrointestinal distress
*pressure or inflammation of the brain and nervous system
*an eye problem (for example: a scratch or increased pressure)
*an abnormality of the rhythm of the heart
*a bone fracture
*hair wrapped around a finger or toe
You will have advise from many sources but here are are few ideas that you may try on at a time
Different methods o sensory stimulation
*Swaddle your baby ( although with caution avoiding overheating,and caution around the hips
*Try more time in a front baby sling(the kind you wear over your chest).
*Take your baby for a ride in the car (but not when you are sleepy!).
*Put your baby in the car seat on or near the dishwasher or dryer (be careful the seat doesn’t vibrate and fall off!).
*Use “white noise” (such as static on the radio or the vacuum cleaner), classical music, or a “heartbeat tape” next to the crib.
*Try infant massage.
*Try the baby with a dummy/ soother
*Soak baby in a warm bath.
*Try an infant swing.
*Increase or decrease the amount of stimulation in the environment.
*Avoid eating certain foods (such as caffeine, milk, certain vegetables)
*Change the type of nipples on your baby’s bottle, use bottles with plastic liners, and wind your baby frequently to decrease air swallowing during feedings or wind your baby less.
*If bottle feeding, try to limit milk intake, and if that doesn’t work, avoid limiting milk intake.
*If your baby is vomiting, keep him or her upright
The following are usually prescription only
*Change from one cow’s milk formula to another.
*Change from a cow’s milk formula to a soy formula.
*Change from a regular formula to a “predigested,” hypoallergenic formula.
*Add Lactase drops to the formula.
* Use of probiotics
And don’t forget your baby may just want to be put down!
If you are really getting nowhere it may be you need to try
*Anti-reflux medicines, if reflux is suspected, may cut down on acid production and/or help to move the milk downstream.
*Try giving the baby some herbal tea (e.g., chamomile, mint, fennel, verbena, but NOT star anise, which can be toxic).
*Use drops such as Infacol or Windeze which sometimes work but can also make things worse
*Try giving the baby “gripe water,” but check the ingredients first. Most contain only herbs, but some from Europe may have alcohol or even phenobarbital, which, of course, you should avoid.
*Although there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of homeopathic drops for colic, some parents report they have helped their colicky baby.
NOTE: Make sure to check with your GP of Health Visitor if you are needing to use medication.
Sometimes parents think an intervention has worked,, but it may be that the colic just got better on its own. And other times, parents don’t find an intervention that works well and they just have to wait for things to improve on their own at 4 months or so.
Beware of magic (and expensive) “cures” that are guaranteed to work for all babies. There is no such thing!
It is very challenging to have a baby with colic and you may feel despairing, inadequate and angry because you cant solve this problem. This is not unusual and you have not failed as a parent : it will not last forever.
If you think your anger could get out of control and you could actually harm, shake, or strike your baby, get help right away.Put your baby in a safe place, like the crib, and leave the room. See if your spouse or a friend or neighbour can be with the baby while you get some space. Phone a Health visitor and she can talk with you on the phone or call to see you. Feel reassured that the surgery are always happy to fit a baby into a slot at anytime morning or evening and in the out of hours service babies are always considered a priority.
Here are some strategies to help you more gracefully survive this tough time:
Take a break! If you’ve tried everything and your little one is still crying away, it’s perfectly fine to put him to bed and let him continue to cry for a while without you holding him.
Let others care for your baby while you do something completely frivolous for yourself in the real world. Get out of the house for a while.
Don’t guilt trip yourself about this too much. You didn’t do anything to cause your baby’s colic.
Remember that this period in your baby’s life doesn’t last forever. You will get past this difficult stage.
Don’t go it alone! Seek support and help wherever you find it.
The following charity helpline may be useful:-
The stated aims remain ‘to be efficient and effective in providing self-help and support to families with excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies’
When to Worry About Colic
Don’t hesitate to bring your baby to the GP to be rechecked for a possible medical cause of his crying, especially if:
*The baby is not feeding well and the weight is not following the same centile line.
*He has symptoms of a possible medical problem (e.g., fever, lethargy, decreased feeding)
*You are so distressed that you are worried you could hurt him
*The colic persists for more than 5 months