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Common Concerns of Parents

What should you do if your baby is crying and feels unwell? At the slightest doubt, don’t hesitate to seek your doctor’s advice. There are, however, some common problems that are no cause for alarm.


The Unsettled Infant

What are the outward signs?

By 4 to 6 weeks old, some babies hardly cry and others cry for many hours a day. Once your baby starts crying, they may not be able to control it and turn it off. Crying is often worse in the evening. A ‘colicky’ baby is a normal baby who cries more than the average baby.

If the crying continues for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week and for more than three weeks, your baby qualifies as a colicky baby.

What should I do?

If your baby is healthy, thriving and the crying started at about two weeks, is worse in the evening and there are good and bad days, it is likely that there is no serious problem. If the crying pattern is different from this or has changed from what is usual for your baby and you are worried, see your doctor.

There are no medications which have been shown to be effective and safe.

Changing feeding methods or formula is not likely to help.

Some babies like:

  • Massage
  • Cuddles
  • A bath
  • Being naked
  • Movement such as being rocked, or taken for a ride in the car
  • Sucking on a dummy / pacifier

Learning what helps your baby may take some time. And remember that your baby will outgrow this pattern of crying and it will get better.


Regurgitation

What are the outward signs?

Most infants regurgitate, that is bring up some of their feed. Some bring up a small posset and others shoot out a large amount. Some keep on bringing up small amounts until the next feed. This may be a way of protecting babies from being overfed. As long as your baby is regularly gaining weight, there is no need to worry. They usually outgrow this by 6-12 months.

What should I do?

Regurgitation usually bothers parents more than the infant. You can minimize the amount of milk an infant brings up by:

  • Keeping your baby upright after a feed.
  • Keeping your baby still after a feed.
  • Raising the head of the change table and cot.
  • If your baby is bottle fed, let them finish the feed when they want to. They don’t need to finish the bottle. It may be too much for some babies.
  • Breastfed infants do not need to be weaned just because they regurgitate.

If you are concerned, or if your baby is losing weight, seek the advice of your health professional.


Loose Poos

What are the outward signs?

Breastfed infants usually have looser poos than formula fed infants and they change once solids are introduced. Only be concerned if the looseness or frequency of your baby’s poos suddenly increases.

What should I do?

Dehydration is a risk for your baby. If your baby is not taking as many feeds or not taking as much fluid as usual, it’s vital to see your doctor before they become dehydrated.

  • Continue breastfeeding.
  • If you are bottle-feeding, pay extra special attention to hygiene.

Hard Poos

What are the outward signs?

Hard poos are rare in a breastfed infant. Breastfed infants may sometimes go 1 to 2 weeks without passing stools, but this does not mean they have hard stools. Bottle-fed infants, on the other hand, have harder poos and sometimes it is painful.

What should I do?

If your infant has hard poos and it looks painful to pass:

  • Make sure you are making up the infant formula according to the exact instructions.
  • If your baby is bottle-fed, stop feeding your baby when they have had enough – you will learn the signs your baby uses to let you know.
  • If your baby is over 6 months, offer fruits and vegetables.
  • Offer water as a drink once your baby has started solids