Soothing A Baby In Pain

The original subject of this post was reflux advice but after I started writing it - which has been a very long time - I've been using these techniques for her teething pain and when she'd been generally unwell and it works the same. Now I'm no medical professional, and I'm not claiming to be. I am also not claiming to be a miracle worker, fairy godmother thing, that grants all your wishes and dreams and allows you to live happily ever after with a simple Bippidi-Boppidi-Boo (but how cool would that be if I could?). All I'm saying is these simple tricks have totally changed my daughter from a screaming banshee, who never had the chance to smile because she was in constant agony from a combination of incorrect medication and acid in her body. Feel free to disagree and read this and say exactly what I used to: 'yes, been there tried that'. But for all the people who never knew these could help, for all those lost in the horrific nightmare maze of an inconsolable baby, for all those crying with their babies because they just can't help them, this is for you.

1. Medication
Well duh, right? But I mean, if you aren't seeing an improvement on the meds they're on, go back and ask to change. For her reflux, I had Aria on Gaviscon Infant, slowly upped the dosage and still found no help or change, so they put her on Ranitidine as well which was constantly the wrong dose, then they eventually swapped her to Omeprazole and finally listened to my complaints of her being constipated from the Gaviscon and put her on Lactulose. I then discovered, that the Lactulose can cause stomach cramps and extra acid (how helpful for a baby with a sore tummy) so basically all the medications were working against eachother! I have now swapped her to Carobel which is a thickener for her milk and her Omeprazole eases her acid pains. Obviously give it the amount of time recommended by the doctor to get into their system, but if your gut is telling you it's not working - it's not! 

2. Keep them upright or angled
With refluxy/sicky babies, and even babies with a cold, when they're asleep try and put them on an angle, with a pillow underneath the legs of their Moses basket or whatever. Just keep them propped up a bit. After feeds, for AT LEAST 30 mins - 1 hour, keep them upright and still (obviously night feeds are different, hence the pillows to prop them up). I keep Aria up by either cuddling her where shes up right against my arm and cuddled into my chest, or I put her in her sit me up chair - totally depends on if shes tired or not. When she was smaller, I kept her upright by lying her over my shoulder as if I'm winding her and if she fell asleep or not I'd just keep her there because it just helped her stomach settle. When they're a bit sniffly it helps them breath easier and not feel so bunged up and unable to breathe.

3. Reassure them
This is one my health visitor told me to try, and honestly I thought she was insane. Babies don't know what I'm saying. They don't understand the words 'it's okay'. Why waste my breath and get more upset when it doesn't work? When I wrap Aria up in her blanket ready for her to sleep she still seems to associate lying down with pain even when she's on an angle. I tuck her in tight/swaddle whatever with her blanket and hold her arms tight to her chest almost like she's hugging herself. Then I feel ridiculous but it works, I put a little pressure on her arms so she knows I'm there and really softly and calmly (easier said than done sometimes) I say things like 'it's okay, mummy's here, you can sleep, shh, you're okay' and I just repeat the same things over and over again. Sometimes, depending on her mood, I'll pair it with millions of light butterfly kisses on her cheeks because she loves them. Just using little things to let them know it's okay and they're safe with you there.

4. Needs over wants
Aria LOVES being rocked, bounced and having her bum patted. I gave in to this because to be honest, I'd have done just about anything that stopped her screaming so much she'd go purple and hold her breath. However, I found out that, really obviously, bouncing and rocking and swaying creates more problems than it solves. It shakes up the acid in their tummy and causes more pain. Even though that's what settled her, it was making her worse! So I had to stop that instantly and she doesn't half go to sleep more easily and sleep longer and is so much calmer and wants cuddles more now because she know's I'm not going to shake her up like a bottle of pop!

5. Be responsive
I know a lot of parents will probably disagree with this, and like I said I'm not a professional, each to their own, blah blah. But what I found with Aria was, self soothing didn't work. Okay, self soothing works great for her now. She doesn't scream and get distraught. She settles within 5 minuets and that's it. But it only works now because she knows, her blanket means sleep, holding her arms in means shes safe etc. Leaving a baby to cry until it is so physically exhausted and can't do it anymore isn't always whats best. I'm talking babies, not toddlers, not children who know what they're doing, babies who cry for a reason and need that reason sorting. Pain, poo, hungry, hot, cold, sick, whatever. Being responsive helps them form the associations to develop the ability to self soothe.

These have totally changed Aria, she's like a totally different baby. She settles in 5 minuets maximum and will sleep for 1-2 hours in the day, as opposed to the 5 hour battle we'd have with her to have a 20 minuet sleep. She's happy! She smiles, giggles, plays, cuddles, and all the nice things you imagine from a baby. She's not in agony and she's not as grumpy because of that. 
So tell me, what works for your babies? Comment below or message and let me know of some other tips you use to settle your screamers.



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