Winding, Reflux and Colic in Babies

IMG_0927I’m here to clear up a subject I feel very strongly about.  Midwifes aren’t always right!!!  I was advised with my first child that breastfed babies do not need winding, well let me tell you straight off.  THIS WAS WRONG INFORMATION!  So I wanted to delve into this subject a little more and talk about reflux in babies and colic, which I personally dealt with myself with Tobias.

Let’s start from the beginning – how to burp a baby (or at least what I’ve learnt over the last couple of days)!  It can be daunting for a first-time parent.  It is true that not all babies need winding as the wind may be buried so deep in their system that it can only escape through their bottoms.  Many factors, for example, an overactive let-down, a tongue tie, or your baby’s suckling habit, could mean that they are unable to latch efficiently could mean that your baby would benefit from breaking wind.  Also, formula is harder to digest than breast milk, and bottle-feeding is physiologically more taxing for a baby. The result, is that bottle-fed babies usually benefit from frequent rest periods and regular burping sessions during feeds.

C841A49F-1398-4449-8D0C-4BA1C1B58557They’re are many different ways to burp a baby and it’s worth trying all of the positions to see which works for you and your baby.  The main part involves keeping baby upright and using firm pressure. It’s also important to stay calm.

  • Tummy to mommy: the most common placement.  Rest your baby’s tummy against you while firmly patting their back.
  • The colic hold: Hold them with your arm underneath the length of their body and head, facing outwards at your elbow. Firmly pat the back.
  • On your knee: Drape them over your knee and gently bounce them while you slowly wiggle their bottom.
  • Bicycle baby’s legs: This can help dislodge wind from baby’s bottom.
  • Add some bounce: Gently bounce on a birthing ball while you burp them.
  • For older babies: Sit them upright on your lap, leaning their weight forward on the heel of your hand and then pat their back firmly.
  • The rock: Sir baby on your knee and roll the forwards holding them around their chin, then roll them so lying on their back.  

As a general rule, try to burp for five to ten minutes after a feed.  There’s no standard rule for how many burps a baby needs to have. If you aren’t able to get a burp out, try ‘wearing’ your baby in an upright position. 

B2444368-E72B-4BD7-9432-E7010AB5E5AASo moving on let’s talk about colic.  This word is what parents have either never heard of or the word that fills parents with fear! It is usually defined as: excessive and frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed.  It affects up to 1 in 5 babies and is very. Is understood as the symptoms are slimier to reflux. Apparently it usually starts in babies in their first few weeks of life and stops by 4 months old.  Babies usually draw their knees up to their tummies during a crying outburst too, showing pain.  We tried Infacol before every feed for a week but with no difference. I was advised to try Colief but no luck either!  The normal gripe water didn’t either but I got some apple flavoured gripe water from boots and this seemed to ease the pain.

The crying comes out of no where in the early evenings and can continue for a number of hours.  I found that depending on what happened through the day and if Tobias became overstimulated it had a worse effect on the colic.  It is utterly heartbreaking to hear your baby crying, it’s like a whole new level of crying and nothing you can do will help or soothe them. I leaves you utterly exhausted and on occasions, Gavin even took Tobias for a drive to try calm him.  These are some common tips for helping a baby with colic though:

  • Tuning into baby’s signals – recognise pre-cry cues and try and distract before it starts with a feed, change, sleep etc
  • Make sure baby is relatively upright during feeding (a diagonal position across your body, weather it’s breast or bottle)
  • Try Infacol, Colief, gripe water before feeds
  • Burp baby after every feed
  • Massaging baby’s tummy clockwise to help with trapped wind
  • Let baby have a dummy for comfort sucking
  • Quiet things down before bedtime to prevent overstimulation
  • Try white noise
  • Rock baby
  • Hold baby close to you
  • Give baby a warm bath (this makes Isla much worse!)

Finally, let’s talk about reflux – Tobias was originally diagnosed with this (wrongly)!  In babies, reflux is fairly common.  The ingested milk mixes with their stomach acid and irritates the inner lining of the oesophagus when it travels back up, resulting in pain and inflammation.  Your baby may have reflux if they:

  • Cry a lot at night
  • Has slow weight gain
  • Swallows and gags more than normal
  • Sleeps better when lies on tummy
  • Catnaps during the day and won’t settle easily
  • Has recurring hiccups
  • Suffers from congestion

Reflux can be difficult to manage and diagnose and although reflux can be hard to manage, take comfort in knowing that it will improve with time.  Doctors can prescribe baby gaviscon or other which can neutralise the acid in the stomach.

9A7BABEA-6A55-433C-A3D4-4E404CFB10DAI would like to end this blog post by reassuring every parent that it doesn’t last forever.  There’s a fab saying “the days are long, but the years are short” and this is so true in relation to children.  The first year of having a child is certainly the hardest, although I haven’t experienced the teenager years yet!  Each milestone comes with new problems but overall the love you have for that baby, your raising makes up for every negative part!  I used to tell myself it was god testing me and I was going to win, EVERYTIME!

Much love 

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