Stomach cramps

Stomach cramps

Babies get tummy cramps. They come and go many times. It's no fun for parents either; you can see your little one in pain, the crying doesn't seem to stop, and sometimes it seems like there's nothing you can do to help.

Bowel cramps occur in almost all babies. Although more often with bottle-fed babies than breastfeeding babies. The baby's digestive system is not finished yet when it's born. Cramps usually occur through air bubbles in the intestines, which still have to mature.

In general, the cramps start between the second and third week after birth. Sometimes a little earlier. Around the age of six weeks there is a peak in the severity of the cramps. After three months, they rarely occur.

Some parents knows that it's cramps, but for many others it's a guesswork. Therefore, it is advisable to consult the physician. They can check the baby to see if the baby has an intolerance to cow's milk, gluten or other nutrients. An inflammation or infection of the digestive tract must also be ruled out, just like other possible problems.

Recognizing abdominal cramps

With abdominal cramps, the baby often folds their arms and / or flails with the arms. He will cry. The baby folds forward, stretches the abdominal muscles and kicks out his feet. Crying is very powerful and can take a long time. Crying may stop for a while, but after about 15 minutes may resume.

What can you do?

Everyone has advice, but there are no magic bullets. Some tips are below.

  • Sit the baby with his belly on your knee. Hold one hand firmly with one hand, stroke the other hand, rub it or rub his back. 
  • Put your baby in a sitting position with you and lean backwards, so that your baby is leaning his back against your upper legs. Grab the feet of the baby and keep his legs straight (this you do with your hand). Thus, the air can escape a little easier from the intestines.
  • Make bike movements with your baby's legs. If you do this for a while, they often get a little quieter.
  • For many babies, a hot tub (or tummy tub) can be relaxing.
  • Heat a hydrophilic cloth and wrap it around the baby's belly. Or, put a warm jar against baby's belly.
  • For some babies, sound works very well. These babies can get a vacuum cleaner, the tumble dryer, or quiet music.
  • Go for a car ride; this can be very soothing.
  • Hold him close; most babies will calm a little when close to mommy.
  • Make sure he's satisfied after feeding, so there's no air in his belly.
  • For bottle feeding babies, maybe try changing their diet a little.
  • If breastfeeding, let him choose when to feed rather than keeping him to a strict schedule.
  • Get some help from your mom, friends, partner, etc.
  • Some medicines may help, such as infacol, but consult your GP first.

Try to keep in mind that most babies go through this. And that you can't do anything about it. Bowel cramps are very annoying, it can be extremely sad to see that your child has so much pain, but they'll soon be gone.

Fennel, anise and rooibos tea

Fennel and anise are often used to treat baby stomach cramps and to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding. The effect of this has never been clinically proven. In addition, there are concerns about the safety of fennel and anise. In fennel and anise, estragol is a substance that appears to be harmful to animals. Advice is not to use fennel or anise.

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