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If you’re coping with an unsettled baby have you considered reflux? June is Reflux Awareness Month so I have asked acupuncturist, author and consultant Aine Homer to share some excellent tips on how to settle an unsettled baby. Aine says “statistics in the UK currently tell that 40% of babies suffer from reflux of some sort of another”

coping with an unsettled baby

Coping with an Unsettled Baby – Tips to Settle – by Aine Homer

  1. Reflux is normal. What you need to ask yourself “is baby in pain because of reflux or something else”. Learn to interpret your baby’s cries. Remember that when born, crying is your baby’s way of communicating, and she does have different cries depending on what is going on for her. Listen carefully and patiently. See The Baby Whisperer Forum post for the different types of cries, this is such a fabulous explanation of how baby is communicating and I was able to tell at about 3 weeks old what baby was ‘saying’.  

  2. Does your baby suffer from any of the common symptoms (these are the most common symptoms that reflux babies experience based on survey of 260 babies). 

  3. Complete a food & symptom diary for a few days so that you can see and measure any changes that might happen.  I cannot stress the importance of doing this first – if you’re a tired mum, making reasonably judgements from a week ago are really difficult!  

  4. If baby is more than 2 weeks old, bring him/her to see a craniosacral osteopath. We forget that the birthing process is a massive physical ordeal for baby’s body and it too, goes through some massive physical strains as well as mum. A talented cranial osteopath will realign baby and help baby’s body adjust to its new life. This alone can result in massive change for baby’s latch, sleep and digestive system function. Repeat treatments may be required as baby’s body goes through such rapid growth and development.

  5. Establish the non-medical things you can do first to rule out other issues that might be going on:

    1. Has baby got a good sleep routine?  If not, spend a few days getting baby enough sleep, regardless of where this has to be, in the buggy, in a carrier, on your shoulder.  Concentrate on ruling out any issues that might be due to over tiredness alone

    2. Have your baby checked for a tongue-tie.  If baby has a tongue tie, he will not be able to remove milk from the breast properly and will swallow air, as well as have long feeds, very frequent feeds.  Consult ILBC lactation consultant to have a proper assessment

    3. Consult an ILBC certified lactation consultant to have your baby’s latch checked.  If baby is not latching perfectly, then she will be swallowing air as well as milk, and she will not be removing milk as effectively as possible from the breast. 

    4. If baby is bottle fed, is her latch on the teat perfect?  If you see spilling or dribbling from her mouth whilst feeding, then she isn’t forming a full seal and air will be getting in too.  Recommend trying a range of bottle teats to minimise air intake.

    5. Pay attention to feeding all the time, but especially for night time feeds to really reduce air intake.

    6. Your baby might be sensitive to something in your breastmilk.  And contrary to medical opinion that your food doesn’t get into your breastmilk, I believe that anything you consume can get into your breastmilk. 

      The medics know that cows milk proteins and sugars can irritate babies through breast milk, so why not other foods?  The logic doesn’t stack up.  So, if you’re breastfeeding, remove the biggest allergens from your diet for a week or two and see if they make a difference. 

      My top recommendations are all dairy products, all soy products (and this latter one even includes most dark chocolate as there is a soy derived emulsifier in them), eggs, wheat and nuts.  This may sound like a big ask but eliminate these for 2 weeks and see if there is a difference.  Then you can reintroduce one at a time.  Believe me, you could save yourself 6 months of sleep and everything else that goes with it.  A massive effort now could result in an amazing outcome much sooner.  

    7. Give baby a fabulous tummy massage after bath and before bedtime to boost her little digestive system. (Learn a simple tummy massage stroke to help with tummy troubles on the Nom Nom blog).

Hopefully after this you will no longer be coping with an unsettled baby but If these don’t give any relief at all, then its time to see your GP and bring all the information with you of what you’ve tried

Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at