Wind, Colic and Poosunamis

Feeding babies is a much more difficult operation than one may first believe. As a family of bottle-feeders you have to consider the initial steps, which is bottle and formula preparation. All bottles must be sterilised and all formula solutions must be made up from freshly boiler water. This is the easiest bit. Washing up is my forte. Mixing powdered milk with hot water is also not rocket science, although you must concentrate when added the required number of spoonfuls of powder… it is so easy after counting 3 or 4 to forget whether you were putting in number 4 or about to count 4 for the scoop that is coming next.
Anyway, let us imagine that you have your baby crying for some milk. If you are a superman or woman you will have predicted this happening 15 to 30 minutes prior to it happening and made a fresh bottle. If you are a normal person, you will get the readymade bottle from the fridge and warm the milk to a slightly warm, just above room temperature temperature. This can take 5 minutes or so. During this time your baby will be a little unsettled… to put it mildly. If he has awoken after a few hours sleep, he may be very hungry and cry as if his throat is being slit. The cry is heartbreaking and especially so when he brings in the big guns: these include occasional high-pitched yelps; tears; and worst of all the quivering bottom lip and cry combo. You will try and sooth him and may resort to dummies, if not, holding and rocking may help. It just depends on how far gone he is.
Now the bottle is at the right temperature, sit yourself down in a comfortable chair and get his bib on. It really will help from getting drips all over his clothes. Also a cloth by your side is good in case he spits up. I like to have a big pillow under my arm as it will ache if tensed up for a while. When you bring the bottle to his mouth he will grab it between his lips like a great white shark on a seal.
Here is where the fun begins. With every gulp of milk, your little man is swallowing air and as his digestive system is immature, he can’t bring that gas back up without help. If it stays in his belly he will tell you about its entire passage through his intestines and bowel until he expels it at the other end; he does this by whining and crying, kicking out his legs and arching his back. Not good for either of you. So the art of burping is a valuable tool in your ever growing box of tricks. You will surprise yourself how at every burp you will cheer as if you have exorcised your child from a demon… this is actually not too far from the truth.
There are many positions to rub the wind out of your boy and we generally try them all at each feed, as our boy (like his father) has a wind problem. The best position for you is the one in which he is not in discomfort while you rub his back. If he is not comfortable he will writhe around and cry more, and in so doing take in more air. Over the shoulder is generally the best, although this brings the risk of him spitting up over your shoulder without you knowing – get used to changing your clothes a lot.
On that subject I move on to Poo.
When Theo was having breast-milk he would literally fire poo across the room. He would fill his nappy and while you are changing the dirty nappy, he would continue his motions. The poo, not now contained by a nappy, and as his bum was in the air while you wiped, would fly out and describe a perfect arc in the air before landing on you, or the carpet, or both.
Changing to formula milk stopped this problem, but increased the amount. It was a case of going from a couple of times a day, to once every two days, but with the same physical amount… something that no nappy could contain. We christened these poos ‘Poosunamis’ as in tsunami. Pronounced poo-narmi. The stuff would be everywhere and generally spill out from the legs and back of his nappy. Trying to get a poo-soaked vest over your baby’s head without getting poo on him is very difficult.
Colic is a mysterious thing. No one knows what it is or where it comes from, or even if it actually exists at all, but pharmaceutical companies will sell you a product that gets rid of it. Genius. And the thing is, as a concerned parent you will buy the product if you think it will help. Sometimes there appears to be an improvement, but you will really never know whether the product worked its magic, or it just stopped causing your baby discomfort naturally. Our Theo had all the symptoms of colic… especially evening colic. After his early evening feed he would be unsettleable. Arching his back, kicking out and lifting his legs, face as red as beetroot, crying and whining. Eventually he would just get tired and fall asleep, much to our relief.
At first we tried Infacol, which only benefit seemed to be, orange flavoured burps. Well that is not true, Theo did seem to have less colic attacks on it to begin with. However, it did seem to slow down his digestive system after being on it a few weeks. It seemed to be a major effort to pass anything at all some days and then he would be in discomfort for hours up to the point the Poonarmi flooded in. Then the relief on his little face was clear for everyone to see.
So we ditched the Infacol and he was product free for a week, during which time he seemed ok for a few days and then ‘colic-y’ after that. As we had Dentinox in the house already, we have started him on that now… we shall wait and see what happens next with that. The mysterious colic is supposed to be gone by 3 months old, but Theo is developing at his own rate and no matter what anyone else wants, he will do as he pleases.

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