4 week old baby with wind

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4 week old baby with wind

Postby kmorton » Wed 30 Jan, 2013 9:28 am


My 4.5 week old baby is experiencing problems with wind, which have only developed over the past few days. This doesn't occur with every feed, but half of them - any feeds between 10am and 8pm are affected. I can start feeding her ok then after a few minutes she starts screeching, arching her back and kicking her legs. I can spend ten minutes burping her and even when wind comes up she is still distressed. Eventually I manage to calm her down (takes up to an hour) but I cant get her back onto the breast and have been giving a bottle (either EBM or formula).Sometimes she will take the bottle then cry as she is drinking it, then it starts again as she gets frantic because she appears hungry but clearly in pain as well.

It doesn't seem to matter how many times I burp her and sometimes no wind comes up. I try cycling her legs, massaging her tummy etc etc and nothing helps.

As some background, she is about 95% breastfed, I had a long wait for my milk to come in and it has taken a long time for the supply to build, so until that happened she was breastfed and supplemented with EBM and formula. I am currently using nipple shields which I am trying to wean her off.

It doesn't seem to make a difference whether I start with the breast or bottle, the same thing happens.

Please help! Do I need to see a doctor or can I implement something myself?

Thank you
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Re: 4 week old baby with wind

Postby NgalaOnline » Sat 02 Feb, 2013 1:01 pm

Hi KMorton

Thank you for your post. The situation you are describing with your baby does sound very common for a baby of her age. The crying behaviour that your baby is showing can be very distressing for many parents. A very common phenomenon that is noticed by parents of newborn babies is that babies will frequently begin to display daily periods of unexplained and very difficult to soothe crying that commonly last between 3-5 hours. Often these behaviours will begin around 3 or 4 weeks of age, peak in intensity around 6 weeks of age and begin to settle and reduce as the baby gets older. Most parents find that these periods of unsettled behavior have ended by the time the baby is twelve weeks old. During these times of unsettled crying the baby will typically show behaviours such as drawing the legs up to the stomach, and hopping on and off the breast (appearing to want to suck, but not want to suck). It often appears to the parent that the baby is in pain, and it can be a very draining and confusing period for many parents.

These unexplained crying periods are often referred to as colic. There is no clear explanation of why babies appear to experience these unsettled periods. There are some thoughts that it is related to the immature development of the infant's digestive tract at this age... babies of this age are still getting used to digestive processes and trying to build up production of digestive enzymes. It is thought that this immaturity of the digestive tract may result in abdominal pain. Other theories suggest that although the signs such as sharp crying, grimacing and drawing up of the legs look like pain, these may simply be a way of an infant indicating distress and it is possible that these babies are showing that they are overtired or overstimulated rather than in pain. There is also some suggestion that these unexplained crying periods may be related to the rapid brain development occurring at this time. In a baby that is feeding well, having at least 5 heavy wet disposable nappies each day, soft or loose bowel motions, gaining weight and having some settled periods each day, these periods of crying are usually not a cause for medical concern. If you are worried about your baby it is always beneficial to have her reviewed by your medical practitioner. Occasionally some parents find that their baby appears to respond well to a reduction in exposure to cow's milk protein. This involves the breastfeeding mother eliminating sources of dairy from her diet for a period of at least 3 weeks before changes can be assessed (although it is also important to note that increasing maturity in this time may also reduce your baby's crying behaviours). Some babies do react negatively to the cow's milk proteins present in standard infant formulas. Most often, however, the crying behaviours experienced by babies are not influenced by the mother or baby's diet.

Getting through this difficult period of unsettled newborn behaviour often involves getting as much support as possible to assist the primary caregiver, particularly during the period of day that the baby is usually most unsettled. It is important to note that at this young age your baby is not yet capable of forming habits, so holding or feeding your baby to sleep will not result in sleep associations before around three months of age. Some parents find a warm bath to be soothing for their baby, or holding the baby in a position that puts pressure on the baby's abdomen (such as carrying her over your arm, or pushing her legs up near her stomach). Movement, cuddling, and being rocked in something such as a pram can be helpful for many babies. Cuddling or rocking in a dark and quiet room can help an overstimulated or overtired baby, as can tight swaddling. Many babies respond well to loud white noise (such as radio static or the vacuum cleaner) being played louded than their cry when they are unsettled. It is common for babies to seek sucking as a method of soothing themselves, but then come back of the breast or bottle if they are not actually hungry or if they are too distressed. Some babies find sucking on a clean adult finger to be helpful. It is common for parents to be focused on eliciting a burp from their babies and be concerned that a lack of a burp is the cause for their baby's distress. It is helpful to know that in most cultures babies are not "burped" - this is something that is mainly done in Western culture and it's importance in infant comfort is not well established. It is helpful to avoid being too concerned by the lack of a burp - many parents can find themselves anxious after spending a long time trying to elicit a burp that does not come. By helping your baby to have a straight upper body (such as sitting her up or putting her over your shoulder) for ten minutes or so after a feed you are helping her to eliminate any gas she may have, but you have not been able to make her burp after trying for 5 or 10 minutes it is often helpful to move onto other comfort and settling methods. It is common for babies in these crying periods to often not stop crying no matter what the parent does, or to settle sometimes with a method of settling and then not settle the next time the same method is offered. Remaining close to your baby, and giving gentle comforting is a very helpful way of supporting her through this unsettled period even if she does not stop crying.

In some babies, back arching and stiffening behaviours that begin shortly after a feed commences can be a sign of gastro-oesophageal reflux. This is less common than typical newborn crying periods, and can often be difficult to definitively diagnose at this age when the baby is in a phase where newborn crying is so common. Babies with reflux benefit from being kept upright during and for about half an hour after a feed, and avoiding having pressure placed on their abdomen shortly after a feed. If you are concerned that your baby may have reflux it can be helpful to talk to your General Practitioner or Child Health Nurse.

I hope this information has been helpful. I hope that this newborn period begins to get easier soon. Please ring the Ngala helpline if you would like more help and support.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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