Difficulties at nights

Problems with sleeping can occur in 15 to 20% of cases. If you are able to recognise at least some of the small health issues that causes your child’s bad sleep you prevent a lot of misunderstandings.

Why the tears?

It’s not at all easy to differentiate the sobs for attention of a child that does not want to sleep or even a child that wants to share parent’s bed to the a cry that indicates that he or she is hungry or has some anxieties or even physical pain. Thanks to your experience you might be able to recognise these in time. Trust your instincts. If are not able to sooth your baby with a bottle, cuddle or gentle rocking it might actually experience physical pain. Even though we have some inclinations to deny that an infant can be in pain, we have to admit that it is possible.

The origins of restless or bad sleeping can lie in chronicle ear infection. If you are not sure consult your ORL specialist.

At what time does it cry – nights difficulties?

The time when the child is crying is usually a good indicator. Crying in the second part of the night is usually connected with natural awakening in the sleep cycle. If the child is not able to fall asleep again it calls its parents for help. If the child cries at the first part of the night and it stays away for long periods, it could be a symptom of illness. A child in deep NREM sleep should not wake up. Possible cause could be a pain.

Teeth as the accused!

Teething certainly belongs among the most painful events of child life. Cutting through is always connected with several bad nights. To soothe your child discomforts do not hesitate to use an anaesthetic cream or a gel on the red-oversensitive gums to numb the pain. Well known homeopathic Chamomilla 9CH works almost miraculously.

Teething calendar

The following simple calendar should help you to forecast the difficult nights to come.

  • First two lower jaw incisor teeth start to appear about the 6th month.
  • Next are the two first upper jaw incisors and second lower jaw incisors.
  • In the 9th month the second upper jaw incisors are ready to come out.
  • Then between the 10th and 20th month first molar teeth are coming. The canine teeth are ready to come out between the 16th and 18th month.
  • An at last between the 20th and 30th month the second molars appear.

Damn colic!

Right after teething, the ear infection and the skin problems are the naughty colons. Of course they have no mercy on any one! How can a child have a peaceful sleep if his or her belly doesn’t let it sleep because of crumps or pain?  Some symptom helps to diagnose a colic which is always on the cards when caring for a baby. The child has usually swollen belly, stressed and bloated and has irregular stool, that is of solid consistency, or too runny. It has a surge of needs to go to the toilet; its face gets bright red while trying to push. Because it feels pain it keeps crouching or pulling its legs toward its body.

Practical advice

If you would like to soothe your baby’s pain you can massage its stomach which will release some of the gases. Massage the belly clockwise to copy the peristalses. Do put warm hands on its belly or cover it with warmed up (no too hot) cotton blanket.

Different custom, different approach

In Africa mothers help their children from colic by carrying them on their backs.

Infant suffering with colic in Algeria is covered up by warmed up cotton strips. The fabric, a kind of safe and calming second skin, warms it up and relieves the pain.

Patience heals

Majority of children meet with more or less intense problems in their 1st to 4th month of life. There is not much relieve that can ease the problems. We don’t know the exact causes of colic but it seems that the immaturity of the digestive system might take the blame. The colons are not prepared to process some sugars contained in mother milk and they cause agitation and gases in the intestines. These problems with colic will one day be only an unfortunate flashback when your child grows up.

Tidal motion

The ‘traffic’ in the digestive system is not perfect and ‘one way street’ does not stop the ‘traffic’ coming through in the opposite direction. It happens sometime that the stomach content decides to return to the gullet. The stomach acids irritate the mucous membrane of the gullet which is very painful. It happens mostly at night in horizontal position while the child is asleep. It may not necessarily cause vomiting and sometimes it is hard to detect it. However the child suffers intensely. In this case an appointment at the surgery is necessary.

 

Child difficulties at nights are normal.  Every parent can say that. And it is sure they will stop.  When child will grow up.

Burp

When a baby drinks, it often swallows some air with it too, although not always. There are two reasons for helping your baby to burp.

 

Firstly, the baby doesn’t feel comfortable since the trapped air causes crams in its tummy which leads to a glutted feeling. The baby is then annoyed, it cries and cannot fall asleep. Secondly, the swallowed air bubbles in the stomach can cause a false feeling of being adequately full. When the baby feels this full, it stops drinking and later on after the air bubbles escape, its empty stomach demands feeding again. In this way, the baby is hungry and it wants to drink earlier than what was originally awaited which could sometimes be confusing and bothersome.

The more hastily the baby drinks, the more the milk spouts into its mouth, the more air it will probably swallow while drinking – and the other way round. In case that the child drinks especially calmly, it might not be necessary for it to burp at all.

According to this observation, you can decide whether to hold him in a position to induce burping for a while or whether to offer him your other breast. If the baby becomes upset after a few minutes of drinking the milk, it lets go of the breast and starts to wriggle, it is important to check if it needs to burp quickly.

You should certainly hold the baby in a vertical position for a while after the feeding, in the case that it has not fallen asleep yet. If you think that he has had enough, you can let him sleep until he himself shows a need to burp. It might be a good thing to offer the baby your breast once more after it has burped. Keep this in mind especially if the baby’s burp is very prominent (which could be a sign of false fullness) or if it has thrown up a significant amount of milk. This has occupied the space above the air bubbles and was emitted together with it – in this case we should not presume that the baby has had more than enough.

 

How to help the baby burp

The air rises upwards and so, you should hold the baby in an upright position –  the air then rises towards the entrance into the stomach and then it can escape better. The classical position for the baby to burp is for it to sit on your arm looking over your shoulder or to sit on your thighs leaning backwards against you. You can also gently and repeatedly pat him over his back from downwards to upwards using your palm so that the air can rise up at a faster rate. Since a little bit of milk will also be purged out when the baby burps, try to keep it away from your clothes. Don’t attempt to wait for the burp “forever”. If it doesn’t come in a few minutes, you can forget about it, especially if the baby feels alright. If it will feel like burping later on, it will show this by becoming upset and behaving in a confused manner. Then you should lightly hold him up for a while and he should burp without a problem.

 

What to do if the burp doesn’t come and the air causes crams in the stomach

 

For babies who gobble down the milk in a hasty manner, it can take a while before they burp. As I mentioned previously, the air bubbles are causing crams in the stomach and they trap a lot of milk above it – more time is needed before it can rise up. Some babies need to burp several times before all the air gets pushed out. Until then, they are restless and tend to cry even though they have had enough and don’t want to drink anymore. In such cases, you should feed your baby as soon as possible, so that it doesn’t drink as hastily, and not to wait until it starts to cry out of hunger. It would also be good if the child could burp while drinking, but this is not always possible. It might help if your hold him more upwards while feeding so that its head lies higher than its buttock. If your breastfeeding let down reflex functions so well that the milk spouts out in large amount immediately so that the baby needs to gobble it down rapidly which causes him to swallow lots of air as well, then you could try to take him away from your breast for a few seconds after a few gulps. Keep a towel aside to wipe off the  milk that flows out and then place the baby right back to your breast once the milk starts to flow out a little slower.