The birth of our baby fills us with joy but we will also find ourselves at times worrying because we do not know why the baby is expressing discomfort. What are the typical problems of the newborn? What is recommended in these situations? We will tell you about some of the commonest upsets during this stage and give you some advice.
Get to know the source of your baby's discomfort...
It affects one in every four babies during the first months of life and tends to appear during the first two weeks. It is caused by the lack of maturity of the baby's digestive system, whose capacity to digest and absorb food is limited, and sometimes it is due to regurgitation or constipation, which may cause an excess of gas that cannot be easily expelled. Generally speaking, it tends to disappear at the age of 3-4 months as the newborn's digestive system progressively matures.
The symptoms Irritability, restlessness, inconsolable crying, and abdominal pain that appear in the evening or at night. It is usually an episode where the baby cries for more than 3 hours at a time and this extends to more than 3 days a week for a period of at least 3 weeks.
Recommended action: Try to keep calm and help your baby to relax. A warm or lukewarm bath might help, as well as singing a lullaby, rocking their cradle, and similar soothing actions.
Ask your doctor about using baby infusions that can help with the digestive process, or infant milks that have formulas that alleviate and help expel the gases.
If your baby is breast-fed, you can use fruit-based products that will help bowel transit. Dilute them in small quantities: You will help to hydrate your baby and at the same time make their stools easier to pass.
If your baby feeds on formula, your paediatrician may recommend type AC milks (also known as anti-constipation milks), especially if they include ingredients that are present in breast milk that help bowel transit and reduce the consistency of the stools, such as β-palmitate, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), prebiotics (fructooligosaccharides) or nucleotides.
Massaging their abdomen and giving them warm baths can help regulate their bowel transit and help their bowel movement, as well as relaxing them.
A digestive disorder that consists in the expulsion through the mouth of the contents of the stomach without the need of exerting any effort. It can be frequent or occasional and it is usually due to the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach not closing completely or doing so inadequately. In the majority of cases it tends to be a problem related to the maturation of the digestive system of the newborn and it usually disappears during the first semester of life.
What can be done? We recommend placing the baby in a tilted position, such as in its cradle or in its crib with a wedge underneath the mattress to allow the food to stay in the stomach and hamper its exit. Also, try not to move your baby too much after feeding.
If your paediatrician thinks it appropriate, you may also use AR-type infant milks (anti-regurgitation milks). Being thicker, it is more difficult for them to come out of their stomachs, and this reduces the number and volume of regurgitations. As well, some of them contain nutrients that are present in breast milk, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, prebiotics, probiotics, and nucleotides, which are related to the development of the digestive system and help reduce regurgitations.
Sleep is vital to the physical and mental development of your baby, since it is during this time when the growth hormone is released and when part of the mental development processes take place. Studies show that up to 30% of newborns have problems with falling asleep and staying asleep.
During the first few weeks the baby continues its foetal rhythm: He wakes up every 3 to 4 hours to eat and makes no distinction between night and day. Little by little their sleep hours are displaced to nighttime, with less daytime naps. But not all babies mature at the same speed.
What is the solution? First you should establish good habits, such as making sure they sleep only in their crib and not in your arms and that their sleep environment is quiet and has little light. A correct nutrition also affects sleep, as various studies have shown that breast milk varies its composition at night by adding, amongst other nutrients, tryptophan, which helps newborns consolidate their wakefulness-sleep rhythm. If your baby feeds on infant milk, ask your paediatrician about the possibility of using night formulas, as they reproduce the variations in breast milk that help babies fall asleep at night, or try herbal infusions based on medicinal plants, such as lime tea and lemon balm, which have relaxing and tranquilizing effects.