To Respond or Not: “Spoiling” Myths
October 7, 2016
Kargaroo Care
October 7, 2016


Still, babies cry. It is normal. And some cry more than others. Sometimes parents who provide the very best response will have infants who frequently cry for long periods. So parents need to determine whether they believe an infant is in physical pain. Certainly, when an infant’s inconsolable cries are signals of pain or disorder, parents should have their baby examined medically and should often get second opinions. Up until recently, for a large?portion of these infants, no diagnosis was made, other than calling the problem “colic.” Today, a new diagnosis is in vogue: gastric reflux or GERD. The popularity of this diagnosis soared with the introduction of a new drug designed?for its treatment. While the actual presence of GERD is seldom established, the point is rather moot. It’s no news that babies have weak sphincters between their esophagus (throat) and stomach. When something upsets a baby’s tummy, reflux is a common result. Some parents are seeing mild to moderate decreases in colic with this drug and some see none. Either reflux is usually a symptom, rather than a significant abnormality in and of itself.


Studies comparing the acoustic values of cries during long bouts in “colicky” infants, versus their “normal” cries and the cries of “normal” find higher acoustic frequency and other sharper acoustic measures during?colic. Yet, connected parents don’t need much experience under their?belts to detect these differences without fancy equipment. There is a different?look and sound of pain or great distress. Intensive care nurses use the following scale to measure pain, listed in decreasing order: “fussiness, nestlessness, grimacing, crying, increasing heart rate, increasing respiration wiggling, rapid state changes, wrinkling of forehead, and clenching of fists.

When an infant appears to be frequently in pain, and no diagnosis besides made, there is in fact another diagnosis that will help the great majority of these?infants. Doctors whose chief education about feeding difficulties comes from?formula companies usually miss this simple solution. Intestinal intolerance to?cow’s milk protein (not lactose) and other foods in mother’s milk or in formula is the?major cause of undiagnosed pain, usually called “colic.” Often other?signs such as sleeplessness, waking with screams, abnormal stools, or rashes are part of this picture. This topic is covered extensively in the last few chapters of this book. Interestingly, cultures where colic is not a familiar condition are the same ones where infants do not receive cow’s milk formulas and the mothers have very little dairy in their diets, if any at all. (Those studied include rural Japanese and Chinese, the Kenyans and !Kung San of Africa, the Balinese, the Samoans, and the Fore of New Guinea.)

Text copyright ? THE BABY BOND by Dr. Linda Folden Palmer

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