Q&A: Colic, burping and sleep
I have a 10 week old who has always been fussy in the evenings. The doctor said it was colic and prescribed drops, which are not helping. He has a lot of gas and cries and screams. I changed to ProSobee two weeks ago. The gas has eased some, but not a lot. Should I change to Nutramigen or Lactose Free?
Also, he has trouble burping; I can try for 20 minutes in all kinds of positions and he won't burp. Would changing formula help?
Also, any advice to help him sleep better during the night? He goes down around 10-10:30 but won't sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time at night. I need to put him to sleep on his tummy because if I put him on his back, he jerks too much and won't settle down. I'm not getting a lot of sleep and I go back to work this Monday. Help!
A few words first about colic: This label applies to babies who are usually between 4 and 14 weeks of age and who are fussy three or more times a week for a few hours at a time. Evening is the most common time to see it. It’s a behavioral diagnosis. There isn’t a proven physical cause. As a rule, these babies show good weight gain (they are often chubby) and normal development. It’s as if all the stimulation of the day needs an outlet, and crying is the only outlet.
It’s very frustrating for parents – as you well know – and families try hard to find solutions.
Colicky babies are ultimately gassy ones, because babies gulp air as they cry and trapped air results in gas. Simethicone drops are useful only in that they dissolve trapped air bubbles, but gas is often the effect and not the cause of colic.
Formula changes are common, too, and sometimes a new formula seems to help, but if the problem were exclusively a formula intolerance, the symptoms wouldn’t be confined to a certain time of the day. So, I don’t recommend switching to an elemental formula, which easily doubles your cost with no proven advantage.
What may help is changing your bottle system to one which allows less air to be drawn in during feeding, especially since you have a ‘tough burper’. The Playtex system (or a similar one) with plastic bags inserted into a separate holder and a short, squat nipple usually accomplishes this.
Otherwise, if your baby is growing and thriving, reassurance that he will outgrow this at around 4 months is sometimes the best advice.
As for sleeping, it is normal for a 10 week old to need to awaken twice to feed, but, again, is he gaining good weight? If not, it becomes a more serious issue.
We really do not recommend sleeping a baby on his stomach at that age. SIDS peaks at 12-14 weeks, and the rate has gone down dramatically for those babies who sleep on their backs. Is there someone who can share the night duty with you so you only need to get up once? Or who can take over on weekends to let you catch up a little?