April 14, 2008,
M.M. asks from Fredonia, NY on April 12, 2008
3.5 Month .do I Have to Feed Her Rice Cereal and She Is Having Troubles with Gas
My 3.5 month old girl began life with colic which lasted about 3 months. The last three weeks have been bliss not having to deal with the intense screaming. She is just moreso fussy a lot, and definitely is not colic. I tried to change things in my diet, but the only culprit I found that had any effect on her was milk alone. All other dairies were ok, but I found milk to give her diaherria. Anyways, so now she is better with colic and just started into teething. She drools constantly, chews on hand and fingers, has increased spit up, lots and lots of gas, and her bowel movements have lessened in the past two days. I also, as suggested by my doctor, started her on solids (rice ceral mixed with breastmilk) this week. They told me to feed her as much as she wants, but my little girl has such an appetite she'll eat and eat and eat. She is growing wonderfully on breastmilk alone (about 13lbs. now), but she tends to want to breastfeed every two hours, sometimes 1 1/2 hours...some days I can strech it to 2 1/2 or 3 hours, but many days she just gets too fussy and I revert back to what she wants (shorter time). She is just also beginning to nap now, FINALLY, because all throughout the colic she hardly napped, yet she slept through most the night (in her swing) (from 5-9 hours without a wakeup) (I'm sure from pure exhaustion). Now, she is sleeping soley in her crib (for past three weeks) for naps and bedtime, and she wakes much more often at night. I usually have between 1-2 night wakenings now...I'm assuming because of teething, almost every 3 or 4 hours. We put her to bed at a regular time (about 7-8 pm) every night, and she cries herself to sleep most night (about 30 minutes...though sometimes it is only 15 min). So my question is what can I do about her gas issues, mylicon doesn't seem to work, she has been tested negative for reflux, I've done the elimination diet finding only milk to bother her, and we do baby massage a lot...but should she be having so much gas???...and it bothers her CONSTANTLY. She doesn't seem to like the colic holds too much either...only the front facing upright hold. I've also been using the nasal aspirator 4x a day with saline drops since the doctor said her ear was a little pink inside, but not infected. Her crib is elevated, and we use a cool mist humidifier in her room. She can't seem to coordinate putting teething rings or cold washcloth ends in her mouth to ease the pain...only her hands/fingers. What do you all suggest???
So What Happened?™
Well I completely stopped the rice cereal today...with all her digestive issues I think that the rice just compounded them. Her tummy was so big and bloated yesterday I could have cried. She kept passing horrible smelling gas all day (as well as the day before). She still is gassy and smelly today, but her tummy is not as bloated. Everytime I picked her up out of the crib during the night she'd pass gass (very forcefully too). One thing I forgot to mention, but it may be a side effect of the teething since this started weeks ago, that she has developed a new sounding cry. A cry that sounds like a cat schreeching. She uses this cry when she is happy, and many times when she is uncomfortable. Anyone else have this issue? It is a very confusing signal cry and kinda scary...since it sounds like she is in extreme pain when you hear it. My doctor said to monitor it, and I think I may bring her in on Monday to have them check her over for my sainess. I will bring up the stool check idea with my doctor too. Because about 3 weeks ago she had intermittent streaks of blood in her stool, yet it all went away on its own. And yes I stay away from milk, but it's other products I do not. Maybe now it might be worth starting another elimination diet to see if she has problems with other dairys again. I was really hoping things would even out after a 3-4 months on their own without having to eliminate everything. Maybe they still will who knows. Everytime something strange with gassiness or her stool occurs it seem so coincidental that I did something different that day (such as ate something new, or that my hubby felt sick) I've had many intestinal bugs since I have had her...assuming because of new stress, and I swear she had every one of them with me (if not before I even had it). I don't seem to have as many now, and she doesn't seem to be having diaherria either (diaherria being described by my doctor as being pure liquid with no consistency...though I sometimes wonder about that description). Ughh...if she doesn't get better in a week and my doc isn't concerned I may seek a new medical opinion from another doctor. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions you have given, I really do like this Mamasource site! I wish everyone the best too!
S.P. answers from New York on April 14, 2008
My daughters' had colic when they were newborn and their pediatrician told me to give them fennel seed tea to help with the gas. It seemed to work for them.
S.A. answers from Buffalo on April 14, 2008
My little one is 4 months old and we've also been having issues with gas since starting him on rice cereal. He does have acid reflux. I have read that starting with oatmeal could be a better issue for babies who are sensitive to rice cereal. I am thinking of only doing rice cereal in the morning and not at night. Good luck.
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P.H. answers from New York on April 13, 2008
it is way too early to be giving her any type of dairy. Cheese is made from milk. I would hold off dairy indefinately.
S.P. answers from New York on April 13, 2008
Don't feed her solids yet..... wait as long as you can! Cut out dairy from your diet completely. Not always does a dairy intolerance show symptoms right away. It may take up to 72 hours to show signs of discomfort. I had the same problem with my daughter. Keep up the good work and part of this might be her teething. My daughter wanted to breastfeed more when she was in discomfort. It helped with the pain. Go get Hyland's Homeopathic teething tablets (they disolve in two seconds) to help with her teething. Good luck!
Mom of a 2 year old.
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J.P. answers from New York on April 13, 2008
You're getting lots of advice, but I wanted to chime in and congratulate you for being so sensitive to your baby's needs and your willingness to adjust your diet. I'm only just ahead of you on this new-mom journey, and my six-month-old was terribly colicky for the first three months as well. Now she is the happiest, contented baby. I think she partly outgrew it, but the most critical change I made was in how I was nursing: I didn't realize I was "overproducing" and she was only ever getting foremilk, which is high in sugar, gas-producing, and not as filling.Does your daughter ever have green (vs bright yellow) poops? That's a sign. I fixed this by nursing her on one side only, sometimes for several feedings in a row. (Avoided plugged ducts/engorgement on the other side by pumping off just enough milk to relieve discomfort.) After a few days, milk supply regulated itself. This made a HUGE difference for us. Here's info on overproduction:
In terms of "colic holds," what my daughter liked and likes best is being carried upright and being in motion a lot. I wear her in a Baby Bjorn or Ergo carrier (much easier on my shoulders than the BB) a lot of the time. I am no expert, just another mom, but I have done a lot of research on when to introduce solids, exclusively breastfeeding, and infant sleep patterns. Your little one is probably not waking often just due to teething but simply because she is not physiologically ready to sleep through the night. Most babies aren't. I find sharing our bed to be a MUCH more restful experience for my daughter and for me -- neither of us has to fully waken to feed her. Maybe you'll find the info at this site useful -- I did: http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/faq.html
Even if she's sleeping in a crib, his research on infant sleep patterns is fascinating. The AAP recommends exclusive breastmilk until at least six months. Especially if your daughter has food sensitivities, listen to your intuition and hold off on solids. I've met parents who don't start solids until 9 or 10 months, just depends on your child's needs.
One more thing -- My daughter started that screeching sound at 3.5 months -- just finding her voice, I think! Good luck!
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S.T. answers from Albany on April 13, 2008
Wow, M., you got your hands full and you are a wonderful mother trying to figure your baby out (and they didn't come with a book) and they are are trying to figure you and themselves out and will continue to. First of all, teething, my oldest son had his teeth at 3 mos, my seonc at 4 mos and now my 6 mos old had his just when he was ready to turn 6 mos. Give your baby Teething Tablets which are homeopathic and will soothe the gums and perhaps sleep better. She may be fussy because of her gums hurting her and waking up with gum pains. That is waht aI have always give my boys and now my 6 mos old gets it whenever he shows he is having trouble teething. Second thing, someone told me that babies can't tell the difference between gas or hunger. So, if she is gassy and you are thinking she's hungry, maybe she isn't really hungry just gassy. Try to burp her as much as possible and maybe even do a little bit of juggling on your lap, but be gentle about it of course. Third thing about the spitting up thing. Some children, like my third son, he couldn't take the sweetness of my breastmilk first thing in the morning so I haveto reieve some milk before feeding him if I go a long periods through the night without him waking up to eat. Some babies can't take it because their stomach is sensitive to it. Also, spitting up...perhaps because you think she is hungry and really she is gassy, she is taking more food than her stomach can take and then she'll spit alot of it back up. My last son does that and couldn't stop nursing when he was full so I had to figure out how long he can be nursed for so I can nurse him on both sides. Sometimes napping through the day can prevent sleeping through the night, but you said she is 3.5 mos, well give her another month or so and then try getting her to take less naps to sleep through the night.
Hope all this helped and will pray for you....
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J.J. answers from New York on April 13, 2008
first of all i want to tell you that you are doing a fantastic job, and it's so terriffic that you are committed to breastfeeding. nothing else is as important in the health and bonding of you and your baby. you are working so hard to try to respond to your baby and meet her needs in every imagineably way, and it's wonderful. you're an inspiration. congratulations to you for all your devotion to your little girl.
i'm a 38 yr old mom of a 14 mo old girl and a nearly 3 yr old boy, both of whom are still nursing, so here's my somewhat experienced offer for advice; first and foremost, try a La Leche League meeting in your area. you can find this group by googling La Leche League Intl. and check thier schedule for your area or call the chapter leaders; thier numbers should be on the page for your town. the reason is twofold; one is, it sounds like you might be having trouble with your 'latch', and, two, LLLI is the most up to date, best informed resource on everything relating to nursing.
the reason i think your latch might be slightly off is because often, (tho not always) a 3.5 month old will be able to go a little longer between feedings during the day than you described, so i wonder, maybe she's not nursing efficiently, maybe she's always a little hungry; this would be causing her to be 'fussy' or annoyed. so i would go to a meeting and ask the moms to look at your latch first thing.
also, the meeting would be good for you because these moms and the leaders would better be able to help you determine if in fact your little girl really has gas, or, if she's really just doing normal hungry, poopy, nursey behaviors. one of the challenges of nursing babies, sometimes, can be that they are very clingy and want to be on or near thier nursing parnter, MOMMY, all the time! and why shouldn't they??? also, you might not be familiar w the poop habits of tiny babies, which surprise many of us. sometimes whtt seems like diarhea isn't at all.
another thing i offer that's really imprtant is, it sounds like your baby is actually a GREAT sleeper, and you should not expect her to be able to do ANY self soothing work at all yet. she's way too young and doesn't have any of the muscle control or thought processes that go into self soothing of any kind. she's still too young to find her own pacifier. i still have to find my 14 mo old's paci for her in the night and she walks and talks.
that said, be careful of your own, and other people's expectations or assertions about how your baby should be developing and what she should be able to do. NO nursing children that i know sleep through the night before at least 15, 18 months old, and that's very early. my son just started sleeping through the night a few months ago and my daughter gets up about 2xs per night. i would gently suggest to you that you not let your baby cry herself to sleep at all and certainly not in the night. many mainstream people will tell you that it's bad to nurse the baby to sleep but i think that's very wrong. it's 100% healthy to nurse them to sleep. sure, they may not want to give that up for a long time, but it might be nicer for both of you for her to have a more peaceful night-night. and it's really normal, and good, to respond to her night wakings by nursing her back to sleep. at her age, she needs the food, and it's NOT POSSIBLE to spoil her.
you know M., you have to follow what's in your heart. the advice i offer is what works for me and what i believe in after a lot of thought and reading and introspection. i would caution you to regard with very serious skepticism ANY harsh advice, INCLUDING from a doctor, such as crying it out, feeding food too soon, or any thing to do with 'bad habits' or 'spoiling.' your baby is TINY and she needs you and loves you, and you're a devoted mom who wants to treat her with supreme compassion, patience, and gratitude. but you'll sort through everything you learn ad work it out with her. you're smart and resourceful, and you're on your way.
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D.Z. answers from Binghamton on April 12, 2008
You just described my first baby perfectly! From the gas and colic to the early teething, eating every 2 hours. This is exactly what I went through with my son. He ate every 2 hours around the clock for the first 5 months. This is no exaggeration. I was completely exhausted. Then he stretched it out to every 3 hours, then 4. I think it wasn't until he was 8 months that I started getting some decent sleep. He cried every evening non stop, he had 8 teeth by the time he was five months. Today he is my most miserable child. Poor thing.
I'm not an advocate of feeding cereal when a baby is hungry, especially a breastfed baby who is gassy. Her digestive system can't handle it yet, and it does nothing positive for her growth. I know that it is really hard, but continue to feed her breastmilk when she is hungry and she will be better off for it. She is way too young for solids. You are doing great!
As for the gas, I have to say that I went through bottle after bottle of the gas medicine and I don't think it worked either. My son had so much gas that we made up a song about it! He is 8 now and still is the most gaseous person I know! He is embarrassed about it so he holds it in all day and then when he gets home from school he stinks up the whole house! The song has changed now that he is older, but we still have one, to the tune of Bat Man...NA na na na na na na na, NA na na na na na na na, GAS MAN! Since you are a music teacher, I'm sure you can imagine what that sounds like! I always make up songs for everything, just using tunes I already know. Poor kids!
I don't have any answers for you, but it does get easier. I never could identify why my boy is so gassy either. As soon as he can swallow pills I'm going to give him some probiotics and see if that helps. That is the only thing I could think of.
a proud mom of 5 precious children
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R.W. answers from New York on April 13, 2008
In my experiance sometimes you have to just ride it out until the baby gets a little older. Their stomaches mature and dont get as bad gas. Also, there is this stuff called gripe water. It is all natural for gas, colic etc. I think you can find it at a health food store. Good luck!
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R.S. answers from New York on April 13, 2008
Just a couple of quick thoughts. She may not be teething at all - it's quite normal for a young baby like that to be very mouthy. Second, I'm somewhat surprised your ped. recommended you start her on solids so young - my understanding and experience is that 6 months is when anything other than milk is suggested. But you should obviously follow his advice if you feel comfortable with him/her. I just wonder if that might be contributing to the gas. Next, maybe try Mylecon for her gassiness - this is also quite normal, albeit uncomfortable for her. You might also try a 'positioner' in her crib to get her even more upright. The fact that she wants to feed every 2 hours is also very normal, especially for a breast fed baby - breast milk generally doesn't keep them sustained as long as formula. One last suggestion - you might try putting her to bed a bit earlier. I know this sounds counterintuitive but it worked for me with my twin girls. Sometimes they get overtired and then have difficulty not only getting to sleep but staying asleep. It will not cause her to get up any earlier in the morning, although she still might not sleep straight though the night for a while yet. Good luck!
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A.M. answers from New York on April 14, 2008
im responding to this without reading others so forgive me if repeat. just some info- the AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, even so, nowhere do they recommend you starting on cereal(unless certain medical conditions which would be diagnosed) under 4 months. there is no rush at all, you should produce enough milk if feeding on demand to sustain her. i would think feeding her the cereal when her digestive system may still be immature could upset her stomach quite a bit. my first daughter was formula fed and i still waited till 6 months for solids. breastfed babies almost never get constipated. just because a baby looks uncomfortable doesnt mean she is constipated. breastfed babies can go a few days without a bowel movement. but also, a breastfed baby could have several bowel movements a day. my daughter goes at least 3 or more times a day of pure liquid. i dont know how many times your daughter was going to be classified diarhea but breastfed babies poop sure looks like diarhea.
my daughter is 3 months 13+lbs and often eats every 2 hours. on days when she eats a little more, i assume she is helping to get my body to make more. remember at some point you would be making 8 oz a feeding which is quite alot. you may want to make sure she is getting a full feeding, if she falls asleep, burp her, try to wake her up and see if she wants more. she may be a snacker- a baby that likes to eat just a little hear and there rather than a full meal. if she is taking a full feeding, she is hungry.
at this age, its normal for babies to drool and suck on their hands. it doesnt mean they are teething, rather is just a developmental milestone. also, when teething, these signs can show up months before the tooth is hear. she could be teething but also may not be. also you cant expect her to hold and actually know a teething ring or washcloth will help.
for 3 months sleeping in a swing at night, and now she is put in the crib. this extreme change is reason to believe she would now wake up quite frequently. have you tried to swaddle her at all? pacifiers? white noise? are you sure she is getting enough to eat in the day? i would agree that she used to be overly exhausted from all that crying, but also know that 3-4 months babies start to become very aware so she realizes where she is more and that she is alone. also, she never napped before but slept thru the night, now she naps but wakes up. you gave up one for the other. im sure if you added, she is probaly sleeping the same amount in total as before.
as for the gas, i would think if you believe milk bothers her, the dairy may bother her too. try stopping dairy altogether. and make sure you get all the burps out at feedings.
its hard to be a first time mom, but dont stress. everytime you think you have her figured out, she is going to change it up. you need to realize there arent always answers, some babies are sleepers, cryers, eaters, happy, scared, alert, ect. sometimes there isnt a reason for things. she is only 3 1/2 months, dont expect too much(like a good nights sleep) and you wont be disappointed. it is going to fly by and soon all this will be a memory(or else you might not have another:) these first baby months are tough but just dont try and look for answers to every little thing she does or you will go crazy. good luck
fyi, there are other sleep methods as well you may want to look into besides letting her cry. i have to tell you letting her cry for 30 minutes at that young of an age is not recommended anywhere. even if you were following the ferber method, the age is 4-6 months and is a gradual approach that even he states doesnt work for all children and doesnt have to be applied full force. at 3 months old, you should be answering your infants cries to build trust. you really might want to look into other ideas like dr sears. im also thinking about all your concerns and you thinking something is bothering her all the time, how do you know she isnt in discomfort or pain for the 30 minutes she is crying until she passes out. thats a really long time. i cosleep and my daughter goes from 8-4:30 am, eats and goes back to sleep till 7:30 since she was about 6 weeks. there are other ways to parenting.
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