Christmas Colic Time Is Here!

OOh no, Christmas is coming! Too much food and drink,  Jingle Bells,  presents under the tree.  And lots of unsettled, howling babies. Most babies loath Christmas. Too many turkeys (like old dear Uncle Tom), parties, noise and excitement with mother’s attention sadly diverted towards feeding everyone and what to buy Auntie Susan.

New babies have emerged from a calm, dark womb where on a particularly interesting day they will see the umbilical cord floating past, to a foetus that’s a big day! At birth they are suddenly ejected into a busy world of lights, faces, and strange objects; of sounds and noise; of hunger, thirst and separation from the body they know intimately from the inside. Some babies cope well, some take time to adjust. But for all, it is a time for calmness, nurturing, feeding, sleep and contact with that loving body, now from the outside.

After a week or two of stunned silence, babies usually start to wake up and get increasingly needy. If they become particularly noisy and unsettled at this time they are often accused of having ‘wind’ or the dreaded ‘colic’.

If you conducted a large study where you gave thousands of parents diaries to keep, in which to record how much and when their babies fussed, cried and were unsettled, you would end up with a chart like this, with hours of crying up the side and weeks of postnatal life along the bottom:



At about 2 weeks babies start getting

Swaddling: Mostly Pros, Few Cons.

 Many thanks for looking after our baby Hayden in Hospital and he will be seeing you again around 6 weeks. A question about swaddling, Hayden really likes to be swaddled, he will be 1 month old tomorrow. How long should we continue to swaddle him? I have read about some concerns after 1 month with interfering with mobility and development? What is your advice?

D  Done properly, swaddling is a useful and safe practice for young babies. It quite definitely helps to calm them and improves their sleeping pattern for a couple of reasons:

  •  The swaddled position reminds them of how they were in the womb, the arms across the chest, bent at the elbow; and the legs flexed at the hips and knee, with the knees slightly splayed.
  • All babies have a ‘startle reflex’ during the first 3 months. If the baby’s head drops backwards, extending the neck, their body thinks that they may be falling, so the arms involuntarily fling out and make grasping movements in the air. It really upsets them. Swaddling the arms suppresses the reflex.

There are, however, a few precautions that should be taken when swaddling your baby:

  • Very important is that the baby should sleep on his back. We know that all babies should be put down ‘back to sleep’ anyway, but it is even more important if they are swaddled, as their limb movement and ability to wriggle around, to keep their airway clear, is restricted by the wrap.
  • For the same reason
By |September 7th, 2013|5 Comments

Is it Reflux?… or Not.

Hi Dr Chilton,
My 8 week old daughter is very unsettled and I believe she has reflux. I also have a 2yo and 4yo so know that all babies cry and they are all different. After a number of weeks of closely observing my baby (who is in the bed with me at night) I am sure she is in pain after feeds and being woken up by pain. My GP is very supportive and we have started her on Losec. I saw our paediatrician today (who I will never see again) and he said she has reflux (based on crusty milk around her nose), but it is not causing her pain. According to him, she is struggling to digest my breastmilk and we should switch to formula. My baby has been slow to gain weight so we added in 120ml of formula at 5pm and she is now gaining 150-200g/week. The paediatrician’s words were “I don’t know why everyone makes such a big deal about breastfeeding, formula is easier for everyone”. I came home quite upset as my milk supply is good and I want to keep breastfeeding. What are your views on reflux and unsettled babies and breastfeeding? Thanks so much! Laura

Your baby almost certainly has reflux – because pretty well all babies do. Somebody did a study of how much stomach acid entered the oesophagus in normal babies and found that ON AVERAGE babies have about 22 episodes of reflux every 24 hours! The crusty milk around her nose