Constipation, Colds/coughs & Colic (OH MY!)
Most parents will see it sometime: Their adorable baby’s face scrunches up, her eyes clench shut, her cheeks puff out, and her face turns the color of a little devil. It doesn’t mean she’s constipated – or evil. Unless the result of the dramatic performance is hard stool, the antics are not due to true constipation, says Dena Lichfield, a family medicine doctor with The Medical Center of Aurora. But for those who do suffer periodically from the relatively common problem, she has parents add 1 tablespoon of Dark Karo syrup to four ounces of breast-milk or formula during bouts. If baby is eating solids, she might omit cereal and add prunes.
Colds and coughs
As hard as it is to watch their little one suffer, parents are almost guaranteed a bout of cold and cough some time in baby’s life. With infants under 2 months, Lichfield prescribes nasal saline with bulb suction and lots of TLC. Never give them cold medicines, and although honey can be used to naturally calm coughs later, never give the sweet nectar to babies under age 1; it can cause botulism, she says. And always call the doctor for fevers above 100.4 degrees in infants less than 2 months old and 101 degrees in infants 2 months or older and dial 9-1-1 with any signs of breathing problems.
All babies cry, but for reasons unknown, about one in four suffer from colic, an often high-pitched, inconsolable crying complete with clenched fists and curled up legs. Colicky babies often have bouts at the same time each day, and as long as they are otherwise healthy, it’s just a true test of parenting patience that usually ends by 3 months, Lichfield says. First try infant massage, but parents can also attempt to comfort the baby as best they can, singing to them, holding them, or going for stroller/car rides, she says. They should call a doctor if crying exceeds three hours, and they should remember: Never shake a baby. When feeling on edge, parents should put baby in the crib and go calm down, or call someone for help.
Did you know? Researchers suspect maternal smoking during pregnancy or after delivery could cause colic in babies. (National Institutes of Health)
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