Cramps & winds sorted
Just a little bit of wind trapped in his gut can cause your newborn much discomfort. What can you do to help?
WHILE HE’S FEEDING, either on the breast or bottle, your baby swallows a bit of air that then gets trapped and causes discomfort, burping, flatulence, cramps and even crying.
Some babies suffer severely from wind, while others hardly suffer at all. If your baby is suffering from wind, he will probably stop suckling. This is because the trapped air is making him feel full before he has actually drunk enough milk to satisfy his appetite. He could even cry, have a pained expression on his face, or squirm and grimace if you try to lay him down after a feed. Luckily you can help make your baby more comfortable.
Position is important. Whether you’re bottle- or breastfeeding, keep your baby’s head higher than his stomach. This way the milk sinks to the bottom of the stomach while the air goes to the top so it’s easier to burp out. AFTER FEEDING Wind your baby to get rid of any trapped air. There are many positions you can try, so experiment to find which works best: • Over the shoulder. Place your baby over your shoulder, with his bum supported by your arm. Pat or rub his back gently with your other hand. This is often the easiest position to use as your baby is stretched out and upright. • Sitting up. Sit with your baby on your lap so he leans forward with his hand supported on your hand as you hold his far shoulder. Pat or rub his back. • Face down on your lap. Place your baby face down on your lap. Hold him firmly with one hand while you gently pat or rub his back.
Give your baby some time with this – he may need a few minutes before he’s able to burp properly so persevere. Other activities that help are tummy time and cycling baby’s legs (lie him on his back or gently pump his legs as if he were riding a bike). Winding is also a great way for your baby and his dad to bond. WHEN IS WIND A PROBLEM? Sometimes winds and abdominal cramping could be a sign of gastrointestinal problems. If your baby has any of the following symptoms have him checked out by a doctor: • Diarrhoea or constipation: Although these are both quite common in babies, they could indicate an underlying issue. A big clue for this would be a change in your baby’s stools – suddenly changing consistency or frequency (meaning he is either having a lot more or a lot less). Remember that newborns can go a few days without soiling their nappies and they make what may sound like grunting noises as a matter of course, so the most reliable indication of constipation right now are small, hard, round stool that look a lot like pellets. • Emotional changes: If your baby is usually calm and content and suddenly becomes fractious and won’t eat or sleep, something else could be up. Have a look at the box above on colic. If you think your baby may have colic, always get him checked out by your doctor to rule out any other causes of crying or a change in behaviour. Many experts say that true colic is actually a very rare thing. • Other symptoms: Fever in a newborn or blood in the stool are sure signs of a problem and need to be checked out.
Most of the time, a baby’s winds are nothing to worry about. Experiment with ways to get rid of it and find out what works best to soothe your baby. YB
Telament Paediatric Colic Drops (R118,99 for 30ml) and Gripe Water (R37,99 for 150ml) bring relief for pain and winds. Get it at all large retailers and baby stores.