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Co-sleeping with Your Baby

By Jan Murray

In many cultures it is normal practice for parents’ to co-sleep and bed share with their children. However, for families in western cultures such as Australia the act of co-sleeping and bed sharing with babies can be a complex issue, which often leads to controversial discussions. Forming close bonds of attachment doesn’t just happen in bed; there are many other factors involved. In the early years connecting with your baby is more about fulfilling his individual needs that are based on genetics and the environment in which he lives.

It’s true that co-sleeping brings comfort and sleep to many babies and their parents. Sleeping close can increase baby-parent connections, improve breast milk supply, and make breastfeeding easier. However, it doesn’t work like that for all babies and all parents. In fact, some babies are happier and more settled sleeping in their own space. Babies may be active, noisy sleepers that keep their parents awake.

In recent years co-sleeping and bed sharing have become a contemporary parenting practice. For families who have one parent working away for weeks at a time or where both parents work away from home for long hours, co-sleeping may be the best chance your baby has for spending time with his busy parents. Babies have developmental needs and busy parents often need to be creative with how to meet those needs.

If you do choose to co-sleep with your baby, follow safe sleeping guidelines and relax and enjoy the experience. Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUDI) of which Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is included has been linked to co-sleeping but it is not usually a cause unless safe sleeping practices have not been followed. Research findings show some babies are more vulnerable to SIDS than others. Therefore, following safe sleeping practices is a wise decision in case your baby is one of the vulnerable ones.

When co-sleeping, avoid the risk of your baby suffocating. Share a hard bed surface such as the floor or a firm mattress and avoid soft surfaces such as a mattress with a soft woollen underlay, waterbed, sofa, lounge or beanbag. Don’t risk sleeping with your baby if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if you are obese. Sleep your baby on the outside edge of the bed rather than between you and your partner as when he is snuggled between you his head can easily be covered by blankets or he can overheat. Avoid using heavy doonas and quilts. Instead, use breathable cotton blankets just as you would if he were in his own cot. Unfortunately, being at the edge of the bed increases the risk of injuries from falling out of bed. Use a bed-rail and avoid pushing the bed up against the wall as babies have suffocated after becoming wedged between the mattress and wall. A ‘bedside attachment’ or ‘snuggle bed’ are great options for a safe sleeping space within the parental bed. There is an increased risk of SIDS in babies born premature, small for gestational age or that are less than four months old. Therefore, in these circumstances it is best to avoid co-sleeping.

Despite the talk of co-sleeping increasing the risk of SIDS, it has also been found to reduce the risk of SIDS. When mum and bub snuggle close together they become more in tune with each others breathing patterns.

Sleeping apart is considered a separating experience and for some babies this can be very difficult. Genetic factors, temperament, and environmental issues may increase your baby’s anxiety levels, making the thought of sleeping separately stressful. Co-sleeping in this situation can provide much needed calming relief to a baby during the early years of development.

When following safe sleeping guidelines, co-sleeping is only a problem if it is a problem for you or your baby. If sleeping close in the early years works for your family delight in the experience of sharing a bed surface together. But if it doesn’t work for you or your bub enjoy the fact that you both have your own space to enjoy sleeping in. But because sleep is vitally important for everyone it is recommended that you seek professional help if neither sleeping option encourages sleep.

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

References:

http://www.epjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/ep05102183.pdf

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes

Signs Baby is Ready for Solid Food

By Jan Murray

It’s recommended that solid food not be given to babies under 17 weeks of age as studies have shown they are not developmentally ready to tolerate solids at this age.

If your baby is hungry and not gaining weight before the age of 17 weeks you can increase their weight by providing extra breast feeds or introduce an additional bottle of Infant Formula. Seek professional guidance for the appropriate Infant Formula to use for your baby.

Sometime after babies’ reach 17-weeks of age they will begin to show signs that indicate they are ready to start eating solid food.

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Signs to start solid food include:

  • The ‘tongue thrust’ present in younger babies is gone. This reflex has allowed for sucking, but is now ready for the next stage of chewing and swallowing
  • Baby is able to sit in a semi-controlled, upright position. Not being able to sit or hold his back reasonably straight will prevent him focusing on eating
  • Baby’s weight gain has slowed down
  • Baby is waking at erratic times overnight when previously he had been sleeping through
  • Baby is constantly dissatisfied when being breastfed. They are constantly pulling off and on the nipple and feeding is becoming less enjoyable
  • Baby is wanting to breastfeed more regularly during the day instead of spacing it out to every four hours
  • Baby is watching you eat with greater interest and could even be trying to take the spoon or food from your hand.

If you see any or some of these signs start your baby on some soft and sloppy foods.

Start your baby on soft solids once a day during their awake-time after a milk feed. This is best offered after the mid morning feed when your baby is alert and less tired. Add another solid feed mid-afternoon when your baby looks ready and willing for more.

Milk is still important for your baby’s nutrition so avoid introducing too much food too quickly. Introduce a third meal within a few weeks.

More information on solids with recipes here

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Quantity

This can vary depending on:

  • Individual metabolism
  • Energy requirements, especially if they are sick or very active
  • Interest in food
  • Whether they are eating in a stressed or rushed atmosphere.

Bon Appetit!!

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Mum, Baby & Toddler Interview

Listen to a 10 minute radio interview with Jan Murray and Stu Taylor; well known radio host in the USA.

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Photo supplied by www.venitawilsonphotography.com

Jan talks to Stu about babies and toddlers. What Jan shares gives you an idea of her knowledge and background on the controversial topic of parenting young children.

Listen to the INTERVIEW HERE

Points covered in the interview:

  • sleep
  • weight gain
  • routines
  • temperament
  • routines.

BUY Mum, Baby & Toddler online

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Nappy Rash

napkin-thrush-s

By Jan Murray

Leaving a nappy on your baby for long periods of time is a common cause of nappy rash but not the only cause. Some babies get nappy rash no matter how well they are cared for, while others do not get nappy rash at all. Your baby may get nappy rash when he has a cold, when he is teething or when he is suffering from an illnesses or food intolerance. Signs of nappy rash include:

  • Inflamed skin: the skin around the genital area and anus looks red and moist
  • Blistering: the skin may blister and peel, leaving raw patches that can develop into ulcers
  • Spreading: the rash can spread onto the tummy and further onto the buttocks
  • Ulcers: small ulcers can sometimes form on healthy skin near the area of the rash.

A secondary bacterial or fungal infection is commonly the cause of nappy rash that spreads or fails to heal by airing, bathing and applying barrier creams or ointments. The damaged skin is often uncomfortable, itchy or sore. When your baby has nappy rash he may have unsettled sleep due to pain and irritation.

Some causes of nappy rash include:

  • Chemicals in urine become ammonia and burn the skin when in direct contact for too long
  • Thrush (Candida) – grows in a warm, moist environment. This type of nappy rash spreads in red patches and does not go away with barrier creams
  • Chemicals in nappy soaking solutions, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, cleansing wipes, scented soaps and lotions and certain brands of disposable nappies can irritate baby’s skin
  • Anti-fungal medicated creams applied too thick can burn
  • Plastic pants keep your baby’s clothes clean and dry, but most prevent airflow. Clothes do not get wet and your baby is often left in a wet or dirty nappy for long periods. The skin remains wet and urine changes into ammonia that burns. The area becomes warm leaving it susceptible to thrush
  • Rough nappies, sand or dirt can rub and chafe baby’s sensitive skin
  • Bowel movements are more acidic when your baby is teething – burning delicate skin
  • Certain foods eaten or ingested through breast milk can burn such as hot curry
  • When your baby has frequent diarrhoea
  • If your baby has little nappy-free time and lots of soiled nappies
  • If your baby has started solids and is not tolerating certain foods – commonly dairy or wheat.

For more information Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

A ‘Helicopter Parent’ Hovers – is it Healthy?

By Jan Murray

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Your baby (or babies) begin life totally dependent on you for their physical, emotional and intellectual needs.

As babies grow, feeling a sense of belonging and being able to attach to other children and adults is significant in them becoming successful, socially appropriate and secure adults. It is important for parents to be mindful not to smother their children with too much attention, which can inhibit natural self reliant development.

A self-assured independent child or a child who feels entitled to preferential treatment (self-entitled) is made not born.

Parental support is gradually eased off as babies grow and develop. This allows for the natural progression of self reliance and independence. The term ‘helicopter parent’ is a buzz phrase used to describe parents that hover constantly or who are “physically hyper-present but somehow psychologically M.I.A.” In this situation parents are not allowing their babies or children enough space to develop emotional self-regulation.

Even if your child is an only child that receives a lot of attention, it can be healthy attention, which is calm, supportive and encouraging.

Play is how children learn about life and how and where they fit in. Allow children space for open ended play, leaving room to observe, mimic, try and keep trying. Providing such an environment reduces the chance of children always looking to adults for help as they grow up in an imperfect world. It helps them develop imagination and the ability to solve problems on their own which adds to their self esteem.

My book Mum, Baby & Toddler available here

mumBabyToddler

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

^ Warner, Judith (July 27, 2012). “How to Raise a Child”. The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved July 31, 2012.

Is it Really Teething?

By Jan Murray

By the time your baby turns two years old she’ll have a mouthful of beautiful pearly white teeth. For some infants these eruptions arrive with considerable discomfort while for others they appear without any give-away signs or symptoms at all. There is no way of telling who will suffer specific symptoms and who won’t. However, there seems to be a genetic link of ear infections with teething, largely due to the shape and slope of the Eustachian tube.

Most baby teeth break through at around 6 to 10months of age. However, it is not unusual to see first teeth appear as early as 4months of age. Very occasionally, babies are born with a tooth but these are generally loosely embedded and need removing.

While it is obvious that teeth appear at different ages, there is inconsistency between health professionals as to what signs and symptoms are directly associated with teething and what comforting remedies are safe and useful to use. Over the years of working with many babies and first-hand experience of raising five of my own children, I have definitely seen teething related signs and symptoms but whether these have been due to other causes has not always been clear.

For this reason, each episode of suspected teething symptoms should be given individual attention with the diagnoses of ‘teething’ as only one of many possibilities.

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It is very common to hear parents use excessive gnawing and drooling as a sign that their baby is teething. However, this increased drooling and oral exploration naturally occurs as part of infant development around 4months of age and lasts until about 9 to 10months of age; the period in which teeth tend to erupt.

Increased saliva (drool) is produced to aid digestion but babies’ mechanical process of swallowing is not sufficiently developed resulting in the overflow of excess drool. Babies’ increased oral motor ability improves by 9months and drooling is consequently reduced. But whether drool is part of teething or not, saliva does have properties that cool and lubricate the gums bringing comfort for many babies who are teething. Moisturising the face with suitable non-fragrant creams can prevent cheek, chin and neck rashes developing from exposure to excess saliva. Gnawing and biting down on anything gives counter-pressure and pain relief to erupting teeth so make sure you provide cold washers and hard toys to bite on.

Large amounts of saliva contain increased amounts of enzymes necessary for digestion, which may upset your baby’s digestive system. This can cause her bowel actions to be loose and offensive, and she’ll often refuse to eat. Her poo can be quite acidic making her bottom sore and red, which can turn fungal if not given regular nappy free time and her skin not protected with a natural barrier cream.

With a disrupted digestive system, ear aches and painful gums just before teeth erupt, your baby can feel miserable, irritable, and insecure making her clingy. Giving her extra cuddles during this time can go a long way in providing the comfort and reassurance she needs. Cuddle comforts should come before using any of the increasing varieties of natural and pharmaceutical remedies on the market for teething relief. However, if you do choose to use teething remedies, use only with professional instruction and avoid using any on a long term basis.

Your baby’s unsettled days often lead to unsettled nights but rarely is teething the cause of poor sleep if your baby is happy and content during the day. Teething pain is generally not causing night waking but it can prevent him from going back to sleep after waking for other reasons. Hunger or the reliance on props such as dummies, feeding, and rocking to settle to sleep are common reasons for night waking from 6months.

A clear nasal discharge is another common symptom often associated with cutting teeth. Nevertheless, it is also important to consider other possible childhood illnesses because from 6months of age the maternal antibodies provided from birth have reduced in your baby’s system, lowering her immune levels, leaving her more susceptible to illness in general.

When teething, gums can be inflamed and swollen or bluish from an underlying haematoma. Hence, a low grade fever is not uncommon with teething as fever is the body’s reaction to all inflammation. Fever lasts about 24 hours and occurs just as teeth push through the gum. A higher fever (above 40°C) or a lower fever lasting for longer than three days requires further professional assessment. Suspected teething or not, always be alert to any deterioration in behaviour, low urine output and lethargy, and seek medical assistance immediately.

Teething often gets the blame for disruptive behaviours but don’t use teething as an excuse and forget to consider other causes for night waking, fever, digestive issues, biting, and irritable behaviour. Seek advice from your child health professional if any ‘teething symptoms’ persist for weeks with no teeth to show for the abnormal symptoms and irritable behaviour.

References:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/3/471.full.pdf+html

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/105/4/747

http://smartpediatricadvice.com/teething

http://www.moderndentistrymedia.com/sept_oct2010/tsang.pdf

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Baby Wearing

By Jan Murray

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Wearing a baby in a sling or another form of carrier is an ancient art used to transport babies and has been practiced around the world since the beginning of mankind. However, it is thought that the invention of wheeled baby carriages in America in the 1830s decreased the need for carrying babies in the western world. In 1992 Dr William Sears coined the phrase ‘attachment parenting’ suggesting babies stayed close to their carer at all times. This parenting strategy brought back the practice of baby wearing that continues to be a growing trend in Australia today.

There are several ways to wear your baby. These can be on the front, back, or hip; either in the form of a sling, which goes over one shoulder or a carrier, which goes over two shoulders. Whatever method you choose your child can be worn for as long as it is mutually enjoyable and safe.There are several ways to wear your baby. These can be on the front, back, or hip; either in the form of a sling, which goes over one shoulder or a carrier, which goes over two shoulders. Whatever method you choose your child can be worn for as long as it is mutually enjoyable and safe.

Slings are made of a variety of materials and are secured with rings, buckles, ties or knots. Slings form a pouch that little ones lie in or older ones sit in. Carriers include fabric wraps, soft padded and framed varieties. Some designs have neck and hip-to-knee support, which are suitable for newborns. Other carriers are better suited to older babies that can weight-bare and sit unsupported such as the back frame.

It is important to choose a sling or carrier carefully. It needs to be comfortable for you to wear and suitable and safe to use for your child’s age and weight. It is also important for you to be able to put the device on yourself and to be able to place your baby safely inside. Carefully consider carriers that position your baby facing outward as a baby in this position is unable to rest her head when she is tired, escape from overstimulation, and her hips are pinned in a poor position for normal development.

Like any skill, baby-wearing takes practice to master and your baby takes time to feel comfortable. However, baby-wearing is not always the answer. When babies have reflux, slings that keep the body in a curled position puts pressure on the tummy, which increases reflux discomfort but the same curled position can bring relief to babies with wind pain. Babies diagnosed with true colic probably won’t calm with baby-wearing but wearing these unsettled babies and going for a walk or getting chores done may reduce anxiety for their carer. It’s important NOT to swaddle your baby before placing her in a sling or carrier as she can overheat.

When babies are carried around continually during the day they frequently feed on demand and can develop short napping habits, which becomes tiresome and frustrating for many parents. Baby wearing can also produce poor self-settling patterns and increase night waking because parents are needed to settle babies back to sleep. Prolonged night feeding patterns can also increase the risk of ongoing dental caries in your baby.

If baby wearing is not something you want to practice constantly it can be done intermittently. This is especially handy if your baby was born premature and needs more contact time, is unsettled and won’t sleep in a cot, bassinette or stroller or you have other children who need your attention.

Intermittent baby-wearing can be beneficial in two ways. It includes close contact and reduces crying and your baby gains neurological and muscle development along with independence by spending time on the floor with stimulating play activities rather than always being carried.  Baby-wearing is great for dads or other carers who have limited time with babies as close physical contact can produce quicker bonding.

Baby-wearing like co-sleeping is a personal choice and it is important to remember that whatever method of caring for your baby you choose it does not make you a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ parent, it is what works for you and your baby that’s important. However, there are disadvantages and advantages for both carer and child and it is important to consider your own situation and the safety and comfort of you and your baby when making your choice.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

References:

http://www.parentingscience.com/infant-crying.html

  1. Solkoff, N, et al. (1969). Effects of handling on the subsequent development of premature infants. Developmental Psychology, 1(6). 765-768.

https://www.isisonline.org.uk/about/

Infant Misshapen Head

By Jan Murray

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No doubt you have noticed uneven head shapes on babies. But while their head shape is largely genetic, how you position your baby when she is sleeping, resting or laying around during the early weeks and months can have an effect. This is because infant heads have several bones with pliable connections that expand as the brain grows. Couple this mouldable softness with the fact that she spends a lot of time laying on her back and it leaves her at risk of developing plagiocephalie.

Flat spots can occur in various parts of the head depending on the area baby tends to favour, which is why you may hear it called ‘positional’ plagiocephalie. A flat head shape will not interfere with brain growth but if severe enough and left untreated it may result in uneven skull growth and other associated problems such as orthodontic and visual issues later in life.

To reduce long term effects of misshapen heads it is a good idea to have your baby checked regularly by a child health professional, particularly during the first three months when heads are easily flattened from external pressure but are also easily managed back into the correct shape. Early corrective and preventative measures are best, as between 6 and 12 months of age treatment is much more difficult and after 12 months the opportunity for correction is minimal.

Your little one can sometimes find moving their head into certain positions difficult. This may be due to pain or discomfort as a result of a forceps assisted birth or from torticollis—a congenital shortening and tightening of muscles on one side of the neck. Both these conditions will improve with time but during the healing process bub risks a flat area developing on the head. In either of these conditions your baby may also be unsettled with neck pain when she stretches out her neck during tummy time or when she positions herself to feed from a particular breast.

Occasionally, an asymmetrical head shape is caused by the early closure of cranial sutures, the area that allows the skull to expand. This is an uncommon condition known as craniosynostosis, which requires corrective surgery and is picked up at regular child health checks.

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Being aware of how flat areas form is important for knowing how to prevent or correct a flat head. For example, your baby may adopt the same position every time she is put down because her eyes are drawn to a stream of light coming through a crack in the door or through the curtains. She will also stretch her head in the direction where she can see you, the television or other siblings playing. If your baby is always placed in the same side of a side-by-side stroller or fed from the same side when feeding from a bottle this may also lead to the formation of a flattened area. Even constantly having her propped up in a rocker or bouncer in an attempt to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux can result in the skull becoming flattened at the back.

Once an area on the head begins to flatten it becomes a comfortable spot to naturally rest her head but there are some things that you can do to help prevent this happening.

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Start soon after birth by placing your baby at alternative ends of the cot or bassinette to sleep, while still placing her feet close to the end. Make supervised tummy time a regular part of each wake period during the day. Increase the length of time on her tummy as she and gets older and gains neck strength. Side lying is also good while bub is awake and being watched. Don’t always cradle her the same way. Instead, while safe in your arms, let her see the world from different angles (using a sling can be helpful here too). Be conscious of her feeding positions. If you are feeding from only one breast, a mix of under-arm feeds (also known as football hold) and across-your-lap feeds is a good idea. If you are bottle feeding change the arm you feed from each feed.

Some additional devices or a rolled cloth can be helpful in some situations to restrict her head turning to the flat spot. In severe cases of flat head syndrome in an older baby (usually 5 – 8 months old), a customised corrective helmet may be required. This is a decision made by your child health professional. But rest assured, even if a helmet is necessary it is only temporary. Your baby may not like it at first but as a teenager with a beautiful head shape and no orthodontic issues—she will thank you.

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References:

Deformational_Plagiocephaly.pdf

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Baby Tummy Pain

By Jan Murray

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Crying and fussing is a normal part of infant development but it can be a significant source of stress for many parents. In fact, it is estimated that one in six families with children consult a health professional seeking answers to their infants crying.[i] Emotional and physical chaos within families’ often results from parents trying to work out what bubs discomfort is caused from and what will give them relief. Parents desperate[ii] to soothe distressed infants try many things but it makes it easier to narrow down the cause of unsettled behaviour before trying to fix it. In some cases, inconsolable crying results in Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)[iii] from the overwhelming feelings of desperation, anxiety, guilt, and helplessness, which can happen quicker than you think so seek professional help early.

Tummy pain is often the first thing parents think of when trying to work out why their baby is crying. However, the stomach (tummy) is only one of three main areas of the digestive tract. The others are the oesophagus (swallowing tube) and the small and large intestine (bowel), and when you recognise what symptoms are in what part it can help you work out what your baby’s problem is. Also, taking notice of when the pain and discomfort occurs in relation to her feeding can also help narrow down the cause.

Colic is a common term used to label unexplainable uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy and thriving infant. Crying usually lasts a couple of hours and the legs alternate between curling up and stiffening out with back arching. It’s normal for your baby less than eight weeks of age to experience a few hours of this type of crying every day. True colic is quite rare as there is usually an explainable cause—some common causes are overfeeding, trapped air and gas, intolerance to foods in breast milk or elements in infant formula, over-stimulation, intolerance to foods, and constipation. More rare causes are gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), bacterial infections, obstruction or poisoning.

It is common for stomach contents to rise and escape through an immature valve at the top of the stomach but not all vomit produces pain. Your baby may experience burning pain in the oesophagus from regurgitated stomach contents containing gastric acid. Pain in this area can also result from inflammation caused by food intolerances and allergies. Babies with oesophageal pain are usually unsettled during the day, not wanting to lie flat, look sad and puzzled, and make swallowing attempts even when not being fed. These babies may experience pain at or after feed times. It is important to seek professional assessment for these symptoms as reflux pain can be complex.

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Pain occurring further down in the tummy can be caused from trapped pockets of air or gas. Poor feeding techniques can lead to gulping in air that may cause abdominal bloating—a hard drum-like distended stomach. Gas is a natural by-product of food digestion but it can also get trapped and cause bloating. In some cases an immature gut, over-tiredness and over-stimulation prevents gases escaping and results in tummy discomfort.[iv] The tenser your baby becomes the harder it is for her to expel air either by burping or popping-off. Birth trauma can also cause tummy pain due to disturbed nerve connections as outlined by chiropractor Eric Slead[v], “shoulder subluxations often interfere with normal function of the Vagus nerve. One main function is the regulation of chemical levels and interference causes stomach pains and nutrient imbalance”.

As babies get older, introducing new foods or foods they unable to digest may cause tummy pain. Like oesophageal pain, tummy pain from food occurs soon after feeds but some food intolerances take time to accumulate and pain is delayed. Even if the act of breastfeeding is comforting for babies with tummy pain, overfeeding can cause ongoing discomfort, especially if milk is the cause of discomfort.

The bowel’s peristaltic action causes bowel pain to come in intermittent waves. Therefore, bowel pain often occurs at random times and just before a pop-off of wind. After the wind escapes, the crying stops as suddenly as it started. Constipation (dry, hard pellets) can also cause tummy pain. As well as the hard mass causing discomfort in the bowel, a natural gas by-product is produced, which can cause pain if it becomes trapped. Pain can also occur while trying to pass the hard mass. Breastfed babies very rarely get constipated until they start solid food so introduce cooled boiled water at the same time as solids.

Appropriate medications may give your baby relief when she is suffering reflux pain, wind or gas pain, or constipation but only when the medication targets the correct area. For this reason it is important to seek professional guidance before you give your baby off-the-shelf medications for suspected tummy pain. Natural soothing measures such as warm baths, regular massages, upright burping positions, tummy time, calm environment, correct feeding positions, and slow teats are best to try first.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Lucas, A. & St James–Roberts, I (1998). Crying, fussing and colic behaviour in breast- and bottle-fed infants. Early Human Development, 53(1), 9-18. doi: 10.1016/S0378-3782(98)00032-2

[ii] http://www.researchgate.net/publication/23497880 Getting the word out advice on crying and colic in popular parenting magazines

[iii] http://synapse.org.au/get-the-facts/shaken-baby-syndrome-fact-sheet.aspx

[iv] http://tummycalm.com/infant-gas.html

[v] http://www.premierchiropractic.com.au

Spring is in the Air

By Guest blogger Kylie Lannan

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Spring has arrived and with it comes some terrific opportunities for your child’s development as well as expanding their experience of the outdoors.

It is my favorite time of year here in Brisbane. It is a great time to get out and about; exploring parks, beaches and many places in between. However, often with this outdoor fun come some hazards that we as parents must be diligent about. In particular we must be constantly alert near water around the home and in public places. Babies and young children are inquisitive by nature and this can put them in danger or result in a tragic accident.

On the flip side I feel that this need for alert puts fear in parents, which at times drives us to be overprotective of our children. How expectations on parents have changed when comparing to the way my parents allowed me to play and explore as a young child. I remember playing with friends down at the local creek, going to visit the horses in a local orchard and playing hide and seek around the neighborhood. Very different to suburban living in 2014 where there are so many more dangers both real and perceived. It is such a balancing act for parents today to find that middle ground which allows their children to explore and keep them safe at the same time.

Spring also means children’s tender skin is exposed to the harsh Australian sun. On one hand we need sunlight for good health however sunburn is painful and harmful to children’s delicate skin. Research has linked childhood sun exposure to developing skin cancer later in life so precautions must be taken to minimize skin exposure. A safe environment requires that parents be diligent and to follow the Cancer Council of Australia’s message of “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.” Hat, sunscreen, shirt, shade and slide on sunglasses are the actions we need to take to protect our skin from the harsh sun.

An enormous amount of development both physical and emotional occurs when children can “run free” outside. By allowing children to play independently allows them to take safe risks. Children need to be allowed and in fact encouraged to take educated or safe risks such as climbing a tree. It is important for their development and confidence however it does go against a parent’s instinct to protect their child. As long as children are taking these risks in a safe environment they will feel well supported if it doesn’t work out. It will help them get back up and have another go but of course it usually means there will be some scrapes along the way. By always helping and protecting our children we are inhibiting their ability to gaining resilience. This is what helps all of us get up and have another go when things don’t work out the first time. This is a vital life skill that we all need.

The outdoors can be an overwhelming place for some children and they may need the help of parents to navigate their way. However try not to “do” for them just guide them; let them climb trees, jump from rocks or dig in the dirt. It is all part of their learning and developing. Have fun with them and enjoy being outdoors this spring.

Happy Parenting

Kylie (Settle Petal consultant – Brisbane)

This article was endorsed by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

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