4 minute read
6 common concerns you may have about your baby
Even healthy babies can have feeding and digestion problems. Misunderstanding the signs and treating the symptoms can get in the way of a happy household. Luckily, the solution is often simple! Here we look at 6 common concerns parents face, with uncomplicated insights and tips on how you can help your baby (and yourself).Have you ever found it difficult to find answers to questions about your baby’s feeding and digestion? You’re certainly not alone – feeding problems can occur anytime, day or night, and it’s hard to find straightforward advice when you need it, even in the age of the internet. Whether it’s winding your baby or reducing the mess from milk spills, we’re here to help with the essentials.
Colic occurs when a baby cries or becomes irritable for long periods of time. They’re often inconsolable, but otherwise appear to be healthy and sufficiently fed and changed. It’s no picnic, but fortunately colic doesn’t last forever: it typically begins during a newborn’s first few weeks and disappears by the time they’re four months old.The signs of colic include:
- Flushed face.
- Clenched fists.
- Legs drawn up to the chest in discomfort.
- Inconsolable crying.
Tips to soothe your colicky baby:
- Cuddle and rock them back and forth in your arms.
- Keep your baby’s room dark immediately before and during naptime.
- If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure their formula is made correctly.
- Stick to regular nap and feed times.
- Seek advice from your health care professional.
2. Wind worries
Wind in babies occurs when they swallow too much air while feeding, crying or simply breathing. Think of it as an extra meal – it makes them feel full – minus the nutrition. Some babies need to be burped or winded during feeds, while others don’t require any action at all. Breastfed babies tend to need wind removed less often than formula-fed babies, because their feeds are smaller and they have more control over milk flow.Signs that your baby might have too much wind:
- They refuse to suckle.
- They cry or seem uncomfortable, especially when you lay them down after a feed.
- They have wind.
Tips for burping or winding your baby:
- Place your baby over your shoulder with their bottom supported by your arm on the same side. This puts the baby in a perfect ‘burping position’ (an upright, stretched-out posture). Pat or rub their back gently with your other hand.
- Sit your baby upright on your lap, hugging them with your arm. Allow them to lean forward slightly so that their tummy rests against your arm. This position will gently compress their abdomen, which may help release the wind. Pat or rub their back gently with your other hand.
- At the end of a feeding session, cuddle your baby close. You may get a sleepy burp in response!
3. Hard or irregular poo
As your baby grows, the frequency and consistency of their poo will change. Most newborns will poo around 6 times a day, while a 6-month old may only poo every three days. If your baby poos less frequently than normal, they might be constipated. The condition is often caused by diet, though sometimes it just happens naturally, as your baby’s digestive system evolves.Confusingly, irregular pooing doesn’t necessarily mean your baby is constipated. So how can you tell what’s going on?Some usual signs to look for include:
- Their poos are infrequent.
- Their poos are hard.
- They cry or look distressed before pooing.
- They start to eat less.
- Their belly becomes hard.
Tips to help your baby do softer and more regular poos:
- Make sure they’re getting enough feed (especially if they’re breastfed).
- If your baby is formula feeding, ensure you’re preparing the formula correctly (for instance, too much powder can over-concentrate the formula).
- If your baby is on solids, give them extra water to drink between feeds. You can also feed them more pureed fruit and vegetables.
- Gently massage your baby’s tummy or move their legs in a cycling motion.
- Talk with a healthcare professional about how much your baby should be eating per feed, and how frequently they should be pooing.
4. ‘Spilling’ milk after feeds
As long as your baby is healthy and happy, the occasional milk spill during or after a feed is nothing to worry about. It’s something that tends to happen to most babies during their first 6 months, and then they generally grow out of it. So, it’s a good idea to keep those bibs handy.Tips to reduce the amount of spilling:
- Check that your baby is upright while feeding, and remains upright for around 30 minutes afterwards.
- Burp your baby while feeding, as well as before and afterwards.
- Make sure their clothes aren’t too tight.
- Give smaller and more frequent feeds.
If your baby is formula-fed, a thickened feed may help. Talk to a healthcare professional about a suitable option.
5. Mum, I’m still hungry
Whether through words or all-too-familiar gestures, “Mum, I’m still hungry” is a common catchcry for any growing baby. Of course, it’s often just a sign that your baby wants more food! When it’s business as usual, this probably won’t raise any concerns. But when your baby is going through periods of transition, they might appear hungrier than normal.There are different reasons your baby’s hunger might be different:
- Sometimes, it’s actually not hunger at all. Some babies like to suck for comfort when they just want a cuddle.
- Likewise, a baby might appear to be demanding milk when they’re really gesturing for affection.
- At around the 6-week mark, your baby may have a growth spurt and be hungrier for a few days as a result.
Note that you should only introduce solids after around 6 months. Your breast milk or formula should give your baby all the nutrition they need until then.
6. Waking up in the night
It might feel like a midnight snack at first, but it’s not uncommon for tiny tummies to call out for food during the wee hours throughout their first few months. Around-the-clock feeds are a normal part of a baby’s development – for a time, appetite doesn’t wear a wrist watch. Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to night feeds. Some babies require them just during their first 3 months, while others continue to need them for several months more.However, hunger isn’t the only thing that might be waking up your baby (and you) during the night. Also consider:
- They could be teething.
- They could be too hot or cold.
- They might just want a special midnight cuddle.
Of course, most babies eventually stop waking up during the night. But try breaking the habit by making their last feed as late in the day as possible.
Haven’t found the advice you were looking for? Contact our Careline now for any child-related question, however big or small.
Important Notice: Breast-feeding is the best form of nutrition for babies and provides many benefits to babies and mothers. It is important that, in preparation for and during breast-feeding, you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breast-milk, and reversing the decision not to breast-feed is difficult. Always consult your Healthcare Professional for advice about feeding your baby. If you use infant formula, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully. The social and financial implications of using infant formula should be considered. Improper use of an infant formula or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use infant formula, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill.
Meet our Careline experts
Made up of midwives, dietitians and mums, our Careline can help with all your parenting questions. Your support crew just got bigger!