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A Survival Guide for the Colic Baby

 

I remember being a brand new mom. I was so happy to be home with my new, beautiful infant, who was being a perfect angel, sleeping and feeding wonderfully. All was right in the world. That probably lasted for about the first 10 minutes after we got home from the hospital. Then my baby started crying.  

When I came home with my baby, 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 me tend to think of all the worst-case scenarios.  When my new baby began to cry for hours at a time, I looked for all of the worst-case scenarios: Were there mosquitoes in her crib at night? Did she have a piece of hair wrapped around a toe? Could she have super early teething? Finally, it finally dawned on me: My baby had colic.

What is colic?  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, for three days a week, for three weeks or longer. That’s commonly called the “rule of threes,”

Colic stinks.  It stinks for the baby. It stinks for the mommy and daddy. In fact, it stinks for everyone involved. When parents come to see me with their colicy infants, they’re frustrated, sleep deprived, and in need of help.

Fortunately, many supportive measures can help with colic.  Here are some extremely helpful hints my patients swear by.

Use Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s: These should be the first line of defense for colic.

  • Shush: This should be loud enough to be heard over the babies crying, I recommend using white noise and music at the same time.
  • Swaddle: Infants need to be wrapped up snugly. Many times, movements of their own limbs will wake them up from sleep. You can swaddle your baby with a blanket or with a special swaddling blanket.
  • Side lie: Also known as football hold, this works great when you hold a baby on his side and gently swing him at the same time.
  • Swing: My baby’s swing was my best friend. Typically swings work best for babies four weeks old and older.
  • Suck: It’s been proven that pacifier use decreases the risk of SIDS, makes for a happier baby, and eases colic.

Carry your baby.

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Another method that helps colicy babies is to wear your baby in a front carrier or sling. Baby like to be close, and this sense of comfort instantly soothes them. You can buy a variety of carriers.

  • The Moby Wrap offers the wearer different configurations using the given fabric. It can be tricky to learn how to use a Moby Wrap, but babies with colic love its belly-to-belly positioning.
  • The Baby K’Tan a “ready-to-wear” wrap, which means that you don’t have to buckle or wrap anything. It has a double loop design that goes on over your head and can be adjusted for comfort.
  • The Baby Bjorn is well known and offers good lower back support, which is especially important as babies get bigger.

Be flexible with feeding. The best advice I give all my patients with babies with colic is don’t stick to your schedule so strictly. If you think your baby is hungry, but your chart says it’s not time to eat yet, who cares! Feed your baby. Many times, feeding the baby will calm her down.

bottles

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.

Check feeding techniques. Make sure your baby is getting a good latch on the bottle or breast. If the baby does not have a good latch, she will suck in air, which can contribute to gassiness and make her very fussy.  I always like to look at the baby feeding during the appointment.  Many times we may need to change the bottle.  Also feed your baby upright at about a 45-degree angle.

Burp often. When you’re feeding your baby, stop every 1 to 2 ounces to burp him.

Use Dr. Simon’s Remedy for Fussy Babies.  Brew one bag of Dr. Simon’s special blended tea.  Let it come to room temperature.  Then add 1 teaspoon of the sweetener, which is Non-GMO and contains no high fructose corn syrup. Give your baby 1-2 ounces of the tea, during the fussiest time of day.

Massage. Gently massage your baby’s belly and legs.  Bring her legs back and forth, bending her knees toward her belly button. This promotes gas release and makes the baby more comfortable.

Apply a warm compress. You can apply a warm heating pad over your baby’s onesie.  Place it on the abdomen for a few minutes. This can be done with the massage while baby is laying on her back.  As a reminder never leave your baby unattended while sing a warm compress.

Soothe with music. Playing music or white noise is very calming—for both babies and mommies.

If despite these remedies your baby still struggles with colic, talk it over with your pediatrician. Occasionally, other changes may need to be made, including changing the baby’s formula or eliminating foods from the breastfeeding mother’s diet.  

About the author: Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, DO, is a pediatric gastroenterologist in New York.  She graduated with honors from Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  She completed her internship and residency at NS-LIJ Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in Queens, NY, and her pediatric GI fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine – Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, NY.  She is certified with the American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics. She continues to educate in and out of her office setting through her popular blog Kidstummytroubles.com and is a contributing author in the Mommy MD Guides book series.

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

 

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