A HEALTH VISITOR’S GUDIE TO SOOTHING A DISTRESSED BABY
When your newborn won’t settle, the combination of a crying baby and lack of sleep can be distressing for any parent. Although all babies cry, excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed can be a symptom of infant colic.1
While the causes of infant colic are unknown, guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS Choices website both suggest that some babies may have short term problems digesting lactose, developing a condition known as Transient Lactase Deficiency, which can contribute to their symptoms.
“Transient lactase deficiency is a common occurrence in young babies. It can make them very uncomfortable and difficult to settle, which can lead to increased stress for both baby and parent,” says Penny Lazell, a qualified midwife and independent health visitor.
If your baby does appear to be suffering from the uncomfortable colicky symptoms of Transient Lactase Deficiency, there are some things you can do to help. Here Penny shares her advice to help you through it:
1. REMEMBER IT’S ONLY TEMPORARY
Transient Lactase Deficiency is a separate condition to lactose intolerance which tends to be a life-long condition. The effects of temporary lactase deficiency usually resolve at around 3 – 4 months when a baby starts to produce enough of its own lactase enzyme as the gut develops.
Penny advises: “Try not to worry as it’s a temporary condition. Transient lactase deficiency occurs in babies usually in the first few months of life when they may not have produced enough lactase enzyme to break down the lactose in the milk.”
2. GET THE RIGHT FEEDING POSITION
It’s important that both you and the baby are comfortable during feeding and this will depend on your own preference, however there are certain feeding positions that will help support your baby’s digestion.
Penny advises: “Try feeding your baby in different positions for instance, the rugby ball hold for breastfed babies or sitting more upright if formula fed. This often helps slow down the feed. Once you’ve finished feeding, try holding your baby in an upright position as this can also help reduce discomfort.”
3. USE LACTASE DROPS
Lactase enzyme drops are recommended by the NHS1 as one of the options if your baby is showing colic like symptoms. Lactase drops can be added to your baby’s feed to make digesting the lactose easier until their digestive system has matured.
Penny advises: “Use lactase drops to help with the breakdown of milk lactose. If you’re concerned, then do seek the advice of a healthcare professional.”
If you’re looking for lactase drops, try Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops*. They are designed to reduce lactase content in breast milk and infant formula to help make digesting lactose easier. They can also be used straightaway so you don’t have to wait to feed your hungry baby.
4. EMBRACE SOOTHING SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT
As the symptoms of Transient Lactase Deficiency can cause distress, it’s important that your baby has skin to skin contact as this can have a very calming effect on you both.
Penny advises; “Babies have emotional needs and having spent nine months tucked up in a nice cosy womb feeling secure, they can often feel a little lost when out in the big wide world. Cuddling babies is important for their emotional development and for growing their ability to self-regulate themselves. It will not make them clingy, in fact, it will help them become more independent”.
5. INTRODUCE MASSAGE TECHNIQUES
Babies experiencing Transient Lactase Deficiency often appear in distress with intense bouts of crying, a flushed red face, fist clenching and some may even draw their knees up to their tummy or arch their back while crying.
Penny advises: “Cries from pain can be quite frightening and are often very different to those of hunger or tiredness. They tend to be higher pitched and have quite a sudden onset. Where stomach cramps are causing distress, introduce gentle massage techniques to relieve pain and discomfort. Warm baths may also help.”
6. ENLIST SUPPORT FROM FRIENDS & GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Parenthood can be exhausting, let alone if your baby is struggling with Transient Lactase Deficiency. If you can, it’s important to enlist support from friends and family to help you through.
Penny advises: “Babies with Transient Lactase Deficiency can be hard work. Call on friends and relatives to help you care for your baby and give you a break. A change of environment or someone different soothing them may also help.”
Find Out More About…
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops
Designed to reduce lactose content in milk, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops help make digesting lactose easier for baby without delaying the feeding process.
These drops can be used from birth, and are sugar, preservative and flavour-free. They are to be added to breast milk or infant formula prior to feeding. The lactase enzyme breaks down the lactose in breast and formula milk which should reduce the symptoms of Transient Lactase Deficiency. Unlike other preparations, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops do not interfere with the feeding process, meaning a baby can be fed immediately (rather than waiting 30 minutes for some other drops to take effect).
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops (10ml), RRSP at £9.99 for 60 feeds, are available from Asda stores, Morrison’s or online here.
Care Co-Lactase is also now available in Boots stores or online and from independent pharmacies nationwide.
*Penny Lazell does not endorse any brands
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