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From the time babies are born and for the first few months of life, parents spend a lot of time getting their wind up. It is thought that babies take in air with their milk and that small bubbles of air cause wind in the stomach or bowels which in turn causes tummy ache. This tummy ache can be quite distressing for your baby.
You will usually be able to tell if you baby has wind by the following:
A bluish tinge to the skin especially between the top lip and the nose
Your baby may be restless and tearful while pulling the legs up to the tummy
Your baby may look as if he is smiling when he is actually feeling uncomfortable and what you see is a grimace
If your baby settles happily after his feed, then don’t waste time and energy winding him then. Wait and see what happens – he may become restless after a few minutes and then you can pick him up, and either put him upright against your chest or sitting on your knee while rubbing the back gently.
Other causes of sore tummies in babies are:
Colic – this is the number one cause of sore tummies and other irritable symptoms in babies. Although there is no cure for colic, there are plenty of ways of helping to alleviate the symptoms and your baby will grow out of it at about 3 to 4 months old.
Gastrosophageal reflux – this is caused when food backs up into the baby’s throat thereby irritating the line of his esophagus. It is similar to heartburn in adults and your doctor will diagnose and treat this condition.
Gastroenteritis or stomach flu – usually causes vomiting and diarrhea and is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a viral or bacterial infection. This can be very serious in a young baby and needs medical attention.
Milk intolerance or allergy – about 1 in 10 babies are allergic or sensitive to cow’s milk and there is a genetic factor too. It sometimes takes trial and error to get the right feeding formula as many babies are also allergic to soy milk.
Changes in diet – when starting solids for the first time, it is wise to introduce one new food at a time (with several days in between) so that you can monitor whether your child is allergic to a particular food.
Intestinal blockage – the symptoms of this are vomiting, lethargy, writhing in pain every so often and even passing blood from the rectum. These symptoms warrant immediate medical attention.
Although tummy aches are usually a sign of wind, they can be a sign of something more.