Cramps and winds

Just a lit­tle bit of wind trapped in his gut can cause your new­born much dis­com­fort. What can you do to help?

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

WHILE HE’S FEED­ING on the breast or bot­tle, your baby swal­lows 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 him 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.


Some­times winds and ab­dom­i­nal cramp­ing could be a sign of gas­troin­testi­nal prob­lems. If your baby has the fol­low­ing symp­toms have him checked out by a doc­tor:


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 fewer bowel move­ments). 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 is small, hard, round stools that look a lot like pel­lets.


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 what we’ve said 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 oc­cur­rence.


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 them and find out what works best to soothe your baby.


If your baby is oth­er­wise healthy, but cries in­con­solably on a daily ba­sis, he could have colic. Typ­i­cally start­ing within a baby’s first four weeks of life and end­ing at around 16 weeks, colic is de­fined as “cry­ing that lasts for at least three hours or more a day, for three days a week, for at least three weeks,” and can drive many a par­ent to tears of

des­per­a­tion of their own. Bear in mind that doc­tors and ex­perts be­lieve that true colic is not as com­mon as moth­ers be­lieve, and that if you ex­pe­ri­ence these symp­toms it is al­ways best to have your baby checked out by your doc­tor for con­fir­ma­tion.


• A loud, in­tense, in­con­solable cry that lasts for hours and usu­ally starts in the late af­ter­noon or early evening. • Your baby draws his knees up to his ch­est or arches his back. • Your baby’s stom­ach feels hard and looks swollen. • Your baby holds his breath or goes red in the face. WHAT CAUSES COLIC? The ex­act cause of colic still eludes us all, but sci­en­tists have sug­gested that colic has mul­ti­ple causes that are dif­fer­ent for each baby. An ar­ti­cle in Acta Pae­di­atrica, a jour­nal on pae­di­atric medicine, iden­ti­fies the fol­low­ing pos­si­ble causes of colic: lac­tose in­tol­er­ance or al­ler­gies, di­ges­tive prob­lems, hor­mones, feed­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and psy­cho­log­i­cal fac­tors. How­ever, in an ar­ti­cle from, Dr Har­vey Karp, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of pae­di­atrics at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, says: “It has long been thought that the main cause was due to gas­troin­testi­nal prob­lems, but this may not al­ways be true. Pae­di­a­tri­cians have also at­tributed colic to tem­per­a­ment, en­vi­ron­ment and an im­ma­ture im­mune sys­tem.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO? • Swad­dling – wrap­ping your baby snugly in a re­ceiv­ing blan­ket helps to mimic the warm con­fines of your womb, mak­ing him feel safe. • Side sooth­ing – lay­ing your baby on his side shuts down his body’s Moro re­flex to help keep him calm. • Sound – white noise (such as that cre­ated by a hairdryer, a car or a white noise ma­chine) helps to soothe your baby. • Swing­ing – carry your baby in a sling or baby car­rier as rhyth­mic move­ment helps keep him calm. • Suck­ing – try to keep your baby oc­cu­pied with a dummy. Suck­ling on the breast or bot­tle can also help. YB

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