Mid Sussex Times, February 2016
The environment in which your baby feeds at night can play an important role both in how settled your baby is generally and also the severity of their colic. It is the nervous system that controls the gut so anything that can be done to calm the nervous system of an irritated baby will help. The main way I achieve this in the clinic setting is with hands on cranial osteopathy which has a lovely calming influence on them.
The nervous system may be set “on edge” and therefore create abnormal gut movement which causes colic. Think of it this way, if the signals to your baby’s gut is to slow it down then any wind that is created takes longer to pass through and creates discomfort for them or colic. Wind that is coming out is okay, wind that is stuck isn’t! They may even be constipated which also gives them tummy pains, especially leading up to going to a poo.
A baby may be on edge after a traumatic birth, instrument birth or C-section. A simple procedure you can immediately put into action is to feed your baby in a quieter, darker, more relaxing room. The evening feed can be a well rehearsed routine of bathing then feeding in a darkened quiet room and then putting the baby straight into a Moses basket or cot. In the summer it might be helpful to have blackout blinds to create the feeling of night-time to encourage sleep.
The opposite of this calming environment for the last feed would be if the baby is fed in a noisy, busy environment, for example under bright lights, with a TV on, other children running around etc. It is well known that TV and iPhones etc are stimulatory to adults and keep us awake and it would be the same for a baby. Maybe you are feeding them at night whilst looking at your iPhone? The light from this might be stimulatory enough to wake your baby fully up and make them harder to settle.
This occurs because sunlight in the morning naturally wakes us up because our body reacts by releasing a hormone called cortisol, which is a stress hormone. But it’s not just sunlight, any light will do the same. At night this stress hormone decreases to automatically make us sleep, so any lights that are on after dark will be opposing this affect and stimulating us to stay awake. If your baby is already quite stressed, maybe from their delivery, then they will be more sensitive to lights and other stimulation around them, making them harder to settle.
So the tip here is to have a nice calming night routine with dimmed lights away from the T.V. Even putting a gentle low light on the floor is better than using an overhead dimmed light as the higher light is more stimulating to us, a bit like having the sun in the sky. I have a free infographic available at www.happybabyexpert.com of all the causes of an excessively upset, crying baby that you are welcome to download.
Christian has been an osteopath and naturopath for 19 years. He set up The Perrymount Clinic in 2009 and specialises in treating babies and children. The Perrymount has won numerous awards and Christian has won the prestigious Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioner “Community” award for his work with babies. Christian’s mission is to educate parents so they understand there is help for them and their crying, upset, not sleeping baby. In 2014 Christian wrote the book Calming Colic - How To Help The 10 Causes of Colic & since has written numerous other e-books all focused on helping mother and baby. This book is available to purchase at www.calmingcolic.com and you will receive 6 other mother and baby help e-books completely free. Calming Colic takes you through all the reasons a baby can be upset and hoe to help them immediately and even with their future health because colic can be a predictor of future health issues.
Are you struggling with your baby? Did this article help you understand why your baby is upset? We can help! If you live local to Haywards Heath then you may like to bring your baby in for help, if so call us on 01444 410944 or fill out the form below and we will call you back soon. If you aren’t local then your next best option is to purchase The Happy Baby Project which contains all the advice I give parents on how to help their baby now and into the future.