Seriously the level of conflicting, or just plain wrong, advice out there is appalling…
Two gems from a trained professional health visitor today at a weaning workshop for 6 month olds:
1) Add juice to their beaker to encourage them to drink water.
2) Try giving them marmite on toast for extra flavour.
Extra sugar and extra salt at 6 months. Shocking.
That is all.
Hmm weaning – a common area of discussion, argument and opinion – yet I must confess that I don’t know very much about it and people are irritating me already…
BabBee is 17 weeks and therefore technically old enough to wean… are people insane? He is pretty advanced at holding up his head (even if I do say so myself) but shows no inclination to sit independently and every time I have tried he flops sideways like a bag of potatoes. He has on occasion shown interest and grabbed towards a piece of food, but he has also grabbed towards the TV remote… I can’t imagine BabBee would any clue what to do if I thrust food in his mouth and is certainly not missing out by not having any.
What about the other “reason” people give to wean? Correct me if I am wrong but there are far more calories in breastmilk than half a pureed carrot. BabBee is exclusively breastfed, on the 91st centile and currently wakes once a night (fingers crossed!) he doesn’t appear starving to me? And when he is hungrier I feed him more in the day. No problem. And that’s what research tells me to do.
Incidently, he’s interested in the washing machine – is it time for him to do his own laundry?
Well I have been pretty MIA – and I apologise. The combination of a fairly severe bout of mastitis plus getting obsessed with the clothopoly anagram has meant that this blog is dying out before it has even begun… I hereby publicly declare I will write a new post every day this week (you can call me on that!)
And I will start the week with something that has been bothering me a long time – Sleep and specifically naps. I will put a tiny tiny little side step in, there may be a miniscule percentage of babies who can get by on little or no naps and remain chirpy and cheerful but basically Babies Need Naps. Fact. Fact. Fact.
So why do lots of parents not get this? Why do I hear “only she only sleeps 20 minutes in the morning and that’s it all day” yet observe an obviously grouchy baby. Or see a baby crying and squirming in his mothers arms while she dangles a toy in front of him. Or watch babies being forced to participate in (useless*) baby classes whilst upset and hitting their face. Or notice a baby being passed around a group of people and as the baby looks away the holder tries to get their attention with smiles and coos. And on and on… and on… As ever, none of these mothers are intentionally being unloving they just don’t seem to get it… Babies Need Naps.
I don’t know who I blame but not really mothers (although some could do with educating themselves a little more). It just seems to be an unintentional conspiracy of mothers assuring each other it’s ok when actually, it’s not. Babies need sleep to grow and develop, the more they nap in the day the better they sleep at night, and actually babies that sleep are happier. Better naps would mean less overstimulated babies and therefore less colic. Babies need naps.
I guess the next conundrum is how to facilitate this blessed sleep, but at least if mothers were trying that would be a massive step forward. Babies need our help and there are many experts offering their opinions although I am definitely on the gentle side of the equation (more another day). And i like the first half of this article about over tiredness, they should give it out at the hospital! Please please help your babies nap and we would all be happier parents.
(*Incidentally I love baby classes. I go everyday. I just accept that under 6 months they are really for the mother and let the poor baby sleep if they need to x)
Once he starts smiling, people around him respond. They gaze at him and he gazes back. He watches the curtains flapping by the window. Then grandma visits and she can’t take her eyes off him. With this new attention, his excitement rises to a level that makes him uncomfortable but, alas, he has not yet developed the ability to self-sooth. As the stimulation and stress levels rise he starts to get distressed. He becomes tense and begins to strain and groan, especially late in the day.
His parents become anxious, “Is he constipated? Why does he writhe and arch his back?” Soon his distress level makes him cry and scream. He is picked up and passed hand-to-hand around the family who gaze at him, trying to fathom the cause of his discomfort. The parents ask advice from neighbours to Emergency Departments and the cascade of advice starts. (from here)
Must be colic hey? I actually don’t understand why or how so many people casually throw out “oh he’s got colic” when they clearly have no idea what colic is or what they are talking about.
Colic is uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby. You can’t have crying, you wouldn’t say oh she’s got uncontrollable crying. It is horrible and heart wrenching to listen to a baby cry and be unable to sooth them, therefore do some research yourself, and describe it correctly. Grrr. People usually assume it is to do with trapped wind as babies pull their legs up (babies always pull their legs up) and therefore instantly resort to over the counter medications such as gripe water or Infacol moving on to Dentinox and maybe a little Gaviscon thrown in. Why? Why are we all so desperate to shove medicine down our babies as soon as possible? Babies in Africa are just carried with their mothers, fed when needed and cared for – they don’t have this over whelming obsession with colic and related medicines. Why is our colic worse?
And on the issue of trapped wind, what is with the continual patting, rubbing and jiggling our babies to get out this wind? It’s not held in with an iron door, it’s an air bubble. It’ll come up – the vomity dribble comes up, what stopping the air? Babies burp perfectly well at other times, surely as long as they are sat up and able to breath and relax if they need to burp they will. Plus babies who are crying need to burp because they are gulping air and crying NOT crying because they need to burp, anyway, I digress…
As far as I can see there are two sensible approaches to dealing with this uncontrollable crying – making sure the baby is getting enough to eat and making sure the baby is getting enough sleep. Done. Considering the crying occurs in the evening that gives 20 hours in the day (ish) to focus on the other bits. Babies generally “grow out of colic” (can you “grow out of crying?”) by around 3 months, coincidentally the time that feeding routines are properly established and babies have more control of their environment.
I guess this simplistic view will irritate some, particularly mothers who babies have had “colic” and feel they did everything they could to help them. There is however considerable research that backs this up and I promise I have done my research. Firstly the cure for colic is often found through proper breastfeeding and ensuring the baby gets all the fatty milk and empties one boob. And secondly bore the baby to sleep this guy might actually be my hero, as I somehow found an article that pretty much summed up all the things I had been moaning about! (and he says bee in my bonnet!)
So stop those bees buzzing and relax, lets just give our babies the chance to feed and sleep properly and maybe there will be less of this catch all term “colic”
PS this post is also awesome!