What is colic?

Colic is excessive wind which builds up in your baby’s system caused from little bubbles (burps) missed from feeds throughout the day. This is very painful and causes bouts of crying in a usually healthy baby. The crying can continue for several hours and although it is not always the case, is often early evening when the discomfort begins. It seems that no amount of comfort can console your baby, often leaving you feeling exhausted.

How can I help my baby?
Take time to feed. The average feed should take around one hour.
Wind well during and after every feed.
Allow kicking time, this gives baby the opportunity to dislodge the wind.
Don’t allow him to fall asleep on your shoulder. A baby will rarely complain when he falls asleep on your shoulder. He is comfortable and upright. When a baby is put down to sleep he will usually complain if he has wind, take this opportunity to spend the time winding after a little wriggle. It will pay off in the early evening!
Using the correct size teats if bottle feeding.
A baby drinking from a teat that is too small will fill up with wind. A baby using a teat too large will also create excessive wind. This tends to come up more easily but will cause discomfort.
Breastfeeding mums
If breast feeding be sure not to give too much foremilk. Too many times I see new parents swapping sides way before its necessary, effectively giving him two lots of foremilk rather than a mix of fore and hind milk (food and drink). Too much foremilk creates excessive wind and an unsettled baby.
I recommend that you feed 2/3 of your feed on the first side then swapping and giving 1/3 from the second side. At the next feed repeat the process starting on the side you finished feeding on. This should give him the correct amount of fore and hind milk making it easier to settle during the day and keeping colic to a minimum.

Colic drops
Colic drops can be purchased over the counter. These can be administered orally before the feed or some brands straight in to the milk. Colic drops are usually effective for a short period of time.
Should at any time you feel concerned about your baby you must contact your GP or a healthcare professional.
I hope this helps! Should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Happy Winding!
nicola@helpwithmybaby.com

How to deal with reflux in babies

What is reflux?

Reflux is caused by an immature valve at the end of your baby’s food pipe. The valve has not yet fully developed in a young baby and as result of this the contents of your baby’s stomach can come back up the food pipe leaving your baby in discomfort.

At what age does reflux in babies generally develop?

Reflux often develops around the 8 week mark. In more severe cases it can be much earlier and in other cases later too. In most cases that I have seen the baby has been between 6-10 weeks old.

What are signs of reflux in small babies?

A good feeder can often start to fuss, play with the bottle or breast. The amount of milk taken at each feed can decrease dramatically over a short period of time and both you and baby can find feed times extremely stressful. Other signs could be vomiting, Posseting more than usual, sticking out his tongue, comfort feeding to alleviate pain, crying more than usual during or after a feed, weight loss and blowing bubbles. All cases vary, should you feel cause for concern you should consult your doctor or a health professional.

During feeding times, the baby can scream in discomfort, go very rigid refuse the feed to the point where he takes the absolute minimum needed to stop the feeling of hunger. You may find yourself only being able to feed whilst walking around with him. This can happen practically overnight.

How can reflux be resolved?

In most cases this can easily be resolved by a trip to the G.P or paediatrician where medication can be prescribed.

Reflux in babies is often short lived and is more often than not resolved by the time he is on solids.

Sitting up after a feed and elevating the moses basket or cot can help with discomfort after feeding.

If you require further information, please don’t hesitate to call on me. Always happy to help!

Bath and Bedtime survival guide!

As a Maternity nurse and a mother of 2 I know how tough it can be to get through bath and bed time after a long day caring for a baby, doing the general household chores and sorting meals for the rest of the family etc.….

Here is a step by step guide to help you get through the hours of 5pm- 7pm with a small baby.

My feeling is that to get the best possible night’s sleep, your baby should always be awake by 5pm. Working on the 2 hr waking rule, baby should be tired by 7pm.

5pm wake baby if not already awake. This should be done gently. Unswaddle if swaddled and make general noise around baby. Put on the Tv or radio, do jobs such as emptying the dishwasher etc. If he is in the cot you could put the mobile on.

When your baby is awake a snack size bottle could be offered to the very young. This should only be around 1/3 of their usual size feed. Giving this bottle means that baby will be content enough to enjoy bath time but not so full that he will be sick or fall back to sleep.

After this feed the next half an hour can be tricky! Often baby will be grizzly, desperate to have a bath and a bottle and go to bed.

Try to prolong this where you can. Often only around 20 mins is possible. During this time, you could put baby under the cot mobile for a kick whilst you prepare the bath, show him some toys, put in bouncy chair, use one of the black and white books that babies adore or put on the play mat for a good old kick. You often find yourself doing them all as well as pacing around!

Hopefully you’ve got through that 20-30 minute period ok. The next bit is relatively easy, bath time! This should happen around the 5.45/6pm mark. Most babies who have a bath prepared to the correct temperature will enjoy this time. I quite like those moulded seats as it gives you a free hand and baby can kick freely.

Once bath time is over, coming out with a scream is often the case. Wrapping quickly in a warm towel and giving baby a cuddle can soon calm him down.

Dry baby and give a quick massage with oil.  Dress and feed. If you are breast feeding you should offer the full feed. If you are bottle feeding you could reduce the feed by 1oz  as he had his light snack at 5pm. We are aiming for baby to drink as much as possible to try and push him to late night 10/11pm feed.

Feeding should be done in a low lit room with little or no background noise or eye contact. Shhhing is fine if necessary.

When he has finished. Wind well and settle him in his room.

I find it is usual for a baby to take anything up to an hour to settle. This gradually gets quicker taking around 15 minutes in the not too distant future so please don’t be alarmed! I hope this helps!

 

Give me a shout if you require anymore advice, always happy to help!

 

Happy bathing!

Tips to encourage night time sleep

Around 95% of the calls I receive are from new mums of 3-4 week old babies. After running on adrenaline for a few weeks exhaustion is starting to kick in. Often with a partner at work and doing all of the night feeds alone, the days can feel lonely and the nights long and tiring so and tips can be gratefully received.

 

Here a few helpful tips to try and keep night feeds to a minimum

 

Regular feeds during the day

Feeding your baby regularly during the day rather than leaving to sleep for long periods will help. I suggest 3-4 hourly. This way most of your baby’s recommended milk consumption will be taken between the hours of 7am-11pm, hopefully leaving you only 1-2 night feeds between 11pm – 7am. A good daytime feeding routine should set you in good stead for the night.

 

Regular Feeding v’s demand feeding

I am a strong believer in routine, whatever may suit your lifestyle. I believe that feeding at regular intervals gives your baby opportunity to digest the feed rather than demand feeding which can create lots of wind resulting in a very colicky, irritable baby. Feeding on demand can contribute to the very unsettled period that lots of babies have between 1-4am when very young moving to between 6-11pm a few weeks down the line.

 

Wind wind wind!

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to wind well. Everything seems to be going to plan, Baby arrives home from hospital and is the world’s greatest burper, then between week 3-4 it all seems to grind to a holt.

The mistake I feel most parents make is that they move baby around in too many positions far too quickly. Often just as the wind is about to come up baby is moved and the wind goes back in to the tummy. The easiest way to explain this is to imagine the bubble in a spirit level. The wind would go back and forth. Hold your baby in one position for more than a few seconds. When baby seems to be struggling and fighting against you is often when the wind is coming up so try to give him a minute or two before changing position. Colic drops can also be useful. Your health visitor or G.P can advise if needed and they can be bought over the counter.

 

Stimulation

Play mats or kicking time is very important not only for exercise and to tire baby out but also to dislodge trapped wind. If you find during a feed that you baby cannot get the wind out, rather than letting baby fall asleep on your knee you should try and lay him on the play mat. After a short kick around he will start to complain. If you leave him until right before he is about to cry then pick up and wind you will often find baby will bring up a very satisfying burp!!

 

Teats if bottle feeding

If you are bottle feeding it is important to use the correct size teats. If he is falling asleep before the end of the feed and waking before the 3-4 hour mark unable to wait for the next feed, then the chances are he may need to move up to the next size teat. Babies tire themselves out on teats that are too small. This also creates wind.

 

Bedtime routine

A night time routine is very important from an early age. The bath and bed routine really helps babies to differentiate day from night. A nice warm bath followed by a massage is bound to help your baby feel more relaxed?

 

Eye contact

Stimulating your baby at night should be a no. Night time feeds should be as calm and dark as possible to encourage baby to go straight back to sleep. A good night’s sleep means more alert time during the day, therefore better feeds and active time promoting a better night’s sleep the following night.

 

I hope these tips help you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you need other questions answered.

Happy Sleeping!