14 tips for Colic

Colic can be tricky. Hard to cope with. Hard to diagnose. And usually hard to alleviate. Some doctors say it’s from an immature digestive system, some say from overfeeding, and others say it’s simply the sign of an extra fussy baby. I don’t think it’s just one single cause for every baby.

.. Regardless, colic is defined by the rule of 3. Inconsolable crying for a total of 3 hours, 3 days per week for 3 weeks or more.. And it’s not fun for anyone.

Colic affects up to 28% of infants, causing considerable stress for parents and for their health care providers. Indeed, in the first 3 months of a baby’s life, crying is the No. 1 reason for pediatric visits.Parents often perceive—incorrectly—that the inconsolable crying is either a sign of serious illness or a result of poor parenting skills.

I’ve seen many babies with colic in my 20 years of private practice, but it wasn’t until I had my own baby with colic that I really got to know the problem. And the potential solutions..

So here are my 10 tips for tackling Colic. It’s a strategy actually, because I’ve prioritised the steps in a particular order for good reasons:

1. Get support! Have time out. Even 5 minutes can help your state of mind. Get someone to help with bubs while you go outside, take a shower, go for a walk, etc..

2. Check that baby is getting sufficient milk. It can be confusing to be sure. The best indicator for this is wet and dirty nappies, and weight gain..  Wet nappies; 6+ in a 24 hr period from day 4. Urine should be pale and mild smelling.  3 – 4+ dirty nappies per day (from day 4). It’s not unusual for an older breastfed newborn to poo less, like once in 1-2 weeks. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is usually yellow and is loose (soft to watery), like pumpkin soup.

3. Check for reflux and silent reflux. Both can make babies cry. The simplest way is to do a Mylanta test. That is give 1/2 strength Mylanta for 3 days. If there’s a significant reduction in symptoms then reflux is at play. Then see a GP for a better treatment strategy. If there’s no change in symptoms.. see the next tip.

4. Place baby upright after feeding when possible. As often as possible. It can help them digest the milk.

5. Check if  your baby has other symptoms as well, like a rash or odd-looking poos? Have your baby checked by your doctor in case there is anything medical that is causing your baby to be unsettled. It could be something as different as an ear or throat infection. But if not..

6. Most infant fussiness is normal for a young baby, and is not related to foods in Mum’s diet. If your baby is sensitive to something you are eating, you will most likely notice other symptoms in addition to fussiness, such as excessive spitting up or vomiting, colic, rash or persistent congestion. Fussiness that is not accompanied by other symptoms and calms with more frequent nursing is probably not food-related.

But if not or worsens with more nursing, look into an elimination diet. Some of the most likely suspects are cow’s milk products, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, and peanuts.  Irritating food compounds are also found in chocolate, spicy food, caffeine. It’s a good idea to check with a nutritionist or dietitian to make sure your covering your nutritional bases whilst breastfeeding.  And yes it’s hard to go without some foods for a time. But it’s usually temporary. And worth if it makes baby more settled right?

7. If still no change, see a lactation consultant to check feeding/ tongue ties etc.

8. Try a Probiotic supplement.  Recent studies suggest that low counts of intestinal lactobacilli may play a role in colic and have documented improved symptoms after treatment with Lactobacillus reuteri . BioGaia probiotic drops have been well researched. And effects were dramatic in breastfed infants but were insignificant in formula-fed infants.5

9. Consider whether it might even be just normal newborn baby behaviour, as your little one adjusts to life outside the womb? Are they much more settled if you hold them? Wear them? Sleep near them? This is very natural and often the case.

10. Try natural herbal or homeopathic remedies. There are many available. Most of them have similar ingredients though so if not working.. move on.

11. Try applying warmth on baby’s tummy. And/ or tummy massage. Especially if upsets seem related to bowel motion frequency. Or lack of.

With tummy massage, make sure it’s firm enough pressure to have an effect on the intestines. Baby will let you know if it’s too much pressure. Clockwise direction massage, the “I Love U” technique and paddle wheeling (over the descending colon) can all help and there’s some good videos on YouTube to demonstrate.

12. Try Acupressure, especially on the points Liver 3:

Acupressure for migraine
Liver 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ren 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Stomach 36

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Try Chinese Herbal Medicine, especially Bao He Wan granules. Available through your local Chinese Medicine Herbalist. There is no quality research to support this use however.

14. Hang in there! Most cases of colic stop at 3-4 months old. Soon your baby will be older and you’ll be through it!

 

 

 

 

Written by Dr. Elaine Hickman, B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)

Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China.  She has over 20 years experience in treating many health problems.  Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable.  Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion.

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References

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-and-food-sensitivities

www.kellymom.com

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183958/

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/141/1/e20171811

 

 

Sleeping Through the Night

SleepIs deep, solid sleep starting to feel like an illusion for you? We all know that good sleep is essential for good health. But what do you do if you just can’t seem to get sufficient sleep? And what is adequate sleep anyways? It is about quantity and quality. Extensive research has shown that most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to perform at our optimum¹.  When it comes to quality, we need blocks of uninterrupted sleep. Frequent sleep disruption causes you to transition to the lightest sleep stage which detracts from  recuperative sleep. Quality sleep is the amount of time which is set aside for sleep spent in the recuperative stages.

Here are 15 tips for better sleep:

  1. Create a relaxing wind down routine before going to sleep (read a relaxing book, listen to music, practice relaxation techniques, take a warm bath)
  2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day (keeping a regular sleep pattern, even on weekends, helps to develop a sleep-wake rhythm that encourages better sleep)
  3. Create a comfortable sleep environment. You can try to control a number of the elements in your bedroom that will promote a good sleep, such as:
    • Temperature – for most people, cool is better than hot.
    • Light- keep your bedroom as dark as possible. You can also try wearing an eye mask
    • Noise- Less noise means more sleep. You can reduce noise levels with rugs & drapes, earplugs, background “white” noise) eg. Fan, or soothing music.
    • Comfort – A good mattress can improve the quality of sleep
    • Function- Try not to use your bedroom for work activities or studying. Make your bedroom a stress-free zone.
  4. Have a midday rest if possible (any time between 11am – 2pm)
  5. Avoid eating or drinking anything 2-3 hours before bedtime
  6. Avoid stimulants in your diet (refined sugar, caffeine, nicotine, artificial sweeteners)
  7. Avoid watching the clock
  8. Exercise regularly
  9. Drink Camomile Tea
  10. Try taking Valerian
Dr. Elaine Hickman
Dr. Elaine Hickman B.H.Sc. TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac (Beijing) Registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine

If these steps don’t help or if your sleeping trouble is severe ie. disturbs your ability to function during the day, then you need help tailored specifically to you. The cause of your sleeping trouble needs to be determined and what the best solution will be. Chinese Medicine excels when it comes to individualised care. And at Freedom Chinese Medicine, we excel in Chinese Medicine.

We have a combined experience of over 70 years, so we more than enough skill and experienced to help you. And we pride ourselves on providing a professional, relaxing experience. To help you with your sleep, we may suggest Acupuncture, Herbal medicine, Qi Gong, Meditation, Massage or a combination of these therapies.

Best of all, with Chinese Medicine, you can get better and stay better. If you are suffering with sleep trouble, I strongly suggest you don’t put up with it, seek some help.

REFERENCES

1. http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need and http://www.macses.ucsf.edu/research/allostatic/sleep.php

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