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A Survival Guide for the Colic Baby

As new moms we have all been there.  We are so happy to be home with our new perfect infant.  They are being perfect angels, sleeping, feeding wonderfully.  We know exactly what they need and all is right in the world……okay so that lasted for about the first 10 minutes you got home.  Now your baby is crying and  its time to feed her .  You would think that I had an edge on the mommy thing being a doctor but honestly it doesn’t really help much.  If anything it makes us always think of the worst case scenario.   So when my kid began to cry for HOURS at a time I was looking for mosquitos in her crib at night, hair tourniquets, early signs of teething, until it finally dawned on me that I had a kid who had colic.  What is colic you may ask??  Colic stinks.  It sucks for the baby, it sucks for the mommy and daddy and everyone else involved.   

Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks or longer. The Infamous “Rule of 3s”. Nothing you do to try to help your baby during these episodes seems to bring any relief.  When the parents come to see me with their colic infants they are frustrated, sleep deprived and in need of help.

There are many supportive measures that can be used to help with colic.

The 5 S’s

The Dr Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s should be the first line to help.

Shush- this should be loud enough to be heard over the babies crying, white noise and music can be used with this also.

Swaddle- infants need to be wrapped up snug.  Many times their own limbs will wake them up from sleep. This can be done with a blanket or with the swaddling blankets with the velcro.

Side lie- also known as football hold, this works great when you are holding them on their side and you are gently swinging them at the same time.

Swing- This was my best friend. Typically works best when the child is about 4 weeks old and up.

Suck- It has been proven that pacifiers have decreased the rate of SIDS and also makes for a happier baby, but sucking will help colic also.

Carriers

mobybc-miracle-why-forward-tiny-pngOther methods that help colic babies is to wear your baby in a front carrier or sling.  The baby likes to be close and this sense of comfort instantly soothes the baby.

There are a variety of carrier options available.  Just to start with a few,  the Moby Wrap offers the wearer different configurations using the given fabric.  There may be a learning curve associated with it but the babies do love the belly to belly positioning that helps with the colic.

The Baby K’Tan is also available and is a “ready-to-wear” wrap, meaning that you do not need to buckle or wrap anything.  The double loop design goes on over your head and you adjust it for comfort. They also have videos on their website but they describe it as an easy 3 step process.

The Baby Bjorn is one of the first commercially available. It is well known and has good lower back support as the babies get bigger.

Feeding

bottlesThe best advice that I give all my patients is to not stick to your schedules so strictly.  If you think your baby is hungry but your chart says its not time yet- WHO CARES!! Feed the baby.  Many times feeding the baby will calm her down. Since we are talking about feeding I always like to look at the baby feeding during the appointment.  Many times we may need to change the bottle.  If the baby does not have a good latch on the bottle she will suck air in and that can contribute to her gassiness which can make her very fussy.

Always stop and burp your baby every 1-2 ounces during feeding.  Also feed your baby upright at about a 45 degree angle.

Homeopathic Medications

coliccalm

GW-Lineup1-OPT-min

Gripe water, Colic calm and Simethicone drops can be given for symptomatic relief.

 

 

Chamomile and Bay Leaf

If you actually look at the ingredients in the above products you will find these herbs.  I have been recommending to my patients to brew one bag of chamomile tea with a bay leaf and let it come to room temperature and it give the baby 1 oz of this during their fussiest time of day.  If your baby also suffers from contipation I have them add 1 tsp of Karo Corn Syrup to the tea which aids with the stool softening.

Massage

Gently massage the babies belly and legs.  Bring the legs back and forth bending the knees towards the belly button.  Ths promotes gas release and makes the baby more comfortable.

Warm compress

You can apply a warm heating pad over the babies onesie.  Place it on the abdomen for a few minutes.

Music

Music or white noise is very helpful for both mommy and baby.

 

Occasionally other changes may need to be made including changing the babies formula, or eliminating foods from the breastfeeding mother’s diet.  This may need to be discussed with your pediatrician.

#kidstummytroubles #moby #BabyBjorn #colic #homeopathy #BabyKtan

 

Stay Healthy and Be Well.  Let me know your thought and comments.

Remember When Breastfeeding Was Featured On Sesame Street?

This was a great article that I read by Kristen Tea on mothering.com. Definitely makes me wonder what happened in society in the past 35 years that now makes us feel so ashamed of breastfeeding in public.

http://www.mothering.com/articles/remember-breastfeeding-featured-sesame-street/

#kidstummytroubles #breastfeeding

Breastfeeding- The Ups & Downs Told By a Kids Tummy Doc

Mother breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding is the recommended form of sole nutrition for babies until 6 months of age.  Once the baby starts solids it is still recommended that breastfeeding continues with the solid foods until at least 1 year of age.

There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the baby.  These include a decrease in the following:

  • chance of ear infections
  • allergies
  • respiratory illnesses
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • meningitis

The benefits of breastfeeding to the mother is:

  • Return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster
  • Reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Less postpartum bleeding
  • The hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract and helps decrease your belly size more quickly

These are the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  They have many helpful links for breastfeeding moms and many FAQs on their webpage that are very useful.  I now want to share with you my experience with breastfeeding as a “Kids Tummy Doctor.”

I see so many new moms come into me exhausted, frustrated and emotional.  I was one of these new moms with my first daughter.  It was exhausting to breastfeed her especially when my milk hadn’t come in yet fully.  She was constantly crying and hungry.  As a Peds GI doctor I should have been able to do this easily, right??  Well I guess not.  I was an emotional mess!! Eventually with taking some some herbal supplements ( I took fenugreek 3 times a day) and drinking Mothers Milk Tea to help my milk production, pumping constantly between feeds and latching her on as frequent as possible it started coming together. BUT I had to supplement her with formula due to her poor weight gain and not enough wet diapers.  As a new mom we try to write EVERYTHING down.  We keep a record of when they pee, poop, eat, burp.  We follow the rules, do what we are told to do by our doctors.

As a doctor, I tell my new moms something and I will tell you guys now, it’s okay if you have to supplement.  It’s okay if you only partially breastfeed because that is what works with your schedule and for your own sanity.  When I see moms with very apparent postpartum depression, sleep deprived and worried to switch to formula because they were told breastfeeding was the “right thing to do” I say to them that as a mom you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your baby.  I see moms who won’t take their antidepression meds because they don’t want to keep breastfeeding. PLEASE DON’T FEEL GUILTY IF YOU HAVE TO SUPPLEMENT OR STOP BREASTFEEDING!  You can still pump your milk to keep up your supply if you want to return to breastfeeding.  If you tried breastfeeding for 2 months than your baby did receive some of these valuable benefits for the first 2 months.   Please take care of yourself as a mommy so that you can take care of that beautiful, wonderful baby.

Also to those moms that are able to keep breastfeeding and pump and stock pile a freezer full of milk, YOU ROCK!  I was always so envious of you as a mom.  I honestly was breastfeeding my daughter probably for a full month every night towards the end and she would receive probably 2 oz combined from both breasts.  I knew this but didn’t want to lose that bonding that breastfeeding gives us with our babies.  Did I feel guilty when I realized that it was time to stop?  Yes.  I was so sad that I cried. In retrospect why did I feel guilty?  Why did my supply dry up?  It was most likely a combination of things.  When I went back to work when my daughter was 8 weeks old ( yup all i got off was 8 weeks; I had 6 weeks maternity leave plus my 2 weeks vacation that I saved and added on… but don’t get me started on that) I was never able to pump more than once a day during my workshifts when that timespan would cover 3 feeds, and the breastpump also never produced much milk for me.  I was supplementing with formula which can get tricky to do and still keep up with breastfeeding.  I felt guilty because I should have been able to make this work.  I am a Peds GI doctor, this is WHAT I DO!!  AGHHH!!  I was so angry with myself and what I want to say to you is that it’s okay to stop breastfeeding whenever you want.  Everyone’s situation is different.  You have to do what is right for you.   We try our best.  I paid for a private lactation consultant to come to my house, did everything and with my first baby I breastfed til 14 weeks old, with my second I was able to breastfeed til she was 7 months old.   Just because it doesn’t work perfectly with your first doesn’t mean the same scenario will happen with your other children.

Why am I telling you all this you ask??  Its because I don’t feel like enough people tell you their real stories.  They make it seem like breastfeeding will be easy.  That once you become a mommy you are supposed to automatically know how to do this. And if it doesn’t come naturally you feel like you are a bad mother.  I want you to know that it’s not easy for everyone.  It can be painful, so painful that when they latch onto your nipple it can make your toes curl.  That it is difficult and if you are able to experience this with your child even if only for a few weeks, you did awesome!!

Please, make sure you ask for help when you need it.  Call your pediatrician, they can recommend a lactation consultant if they can’t help you.  If your are feeling sad and overly depressed and emotional please go back to your OB/GYN and tell them.  You may be suffering from postpartum depression and need help.  As women, professionals and mothers please lets start to help build each other up as a society.  Share your true stories with your family and friends.  Don’t sugarcoat it, lets help each other become better moms.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Breastfeeding