1) Has your baby has seen a baby chiropractor at least once? Yes, believe it or not, there are very gentle methods out there to adjust a baby’s spine. Many babies get subluxations during the birthing process, and if your wild 10-month-old manages to crawl halfway up a chair then fall down, that could do it too. Many parents report babies falling asleep immediately after the adjustment and not waking up for hours and hours. Whenever mine, now two years old, gets particularly crabby or his immune system seems not to be doing its job, I try to take him in. He usually feels better afterwards. Because all the body’s nerves run through the spine, a maladjustment there can affect any number of other issues. Sometimes, I’ve heard, a few chiropractic adjustments have even cured colick.
2) Does your baby feel happy and secure? It seems obvious, I suppose, but there are a few practices and so forth that you can observe to keep your baby emotionally healthy. I imagine any parent knows that a baby needs unending affection. A baby is an empty love-receptacle. Your smiles, coos, or whatever attention your baby seems to need (some boy babies prefer peek-a-boo to cuddling; others love to be sung to or talked to) these are the things that keep your baby emotionally healthy. You are their world right now. A bedtime ritual can help, but its best to let your baby go to sleep while alone in the room so that he doesn’t become dependant on your presence to go to sleep. On the other hand, if you’ve been gone all day and he feels needy, he may want to be held and sung to or rocked or whatever for a while before he’s ready to drift off.
3) Does your baby need to cry himself to sleep? If you know deep down that your kid is tired and sleep is what he needs, but he just doesn’t seem to want to settle down, this may be the answer. Even at this age, there are some things your kid needs to work out on his own without your help. If he’s fussy, agitated and irritable, your very presence might be what is causing him to not be able to relax. A short cry alone in his room, and he’ll wake up a new little man. Of course, few things will make you feel guiltier than letting him cry himself to sleep and then finding that he’s slept in a dirty diaper, for instance. So I developed a checklist of possibilities I would go through before making this decision. Diaper – hunger – pain – these are the main elements. You can check for hunger by slipping your finger in an infant’s mouth. How eagerly he responds, if at all, will be a good index of whether he’s hungry.
4) Is your baby in pain? Most parents can tell the difference between a cry of pain and an ornery wail. If you can’t yet, and your baby cries constantly and won’t sleep, try getting your Mom or another experienced person to listen to his cries. Sometimes you can’t tell why a kid is crying, but he never seems to stop. That’s called colick. They used to assume it was gas, but now think it might be nervous. I have not experienced this but I’ve heard it’s terrible. The best tips I’ve come across are a) don’t overstimulate – keep the room dark, plain, and quiet and b) visit a baby chiropractor (see point 1). Colick aside, the most common causes of baby pain are a) gas/constipation b) ear infection c) diaper rash and d) teething.
You can chek for gas or constipation by gently pressing on the baby’s belly. If it’s clenched and he lets out a particularly bad yell when you touch it, it’s probably one of the above. Most babies do not need water because they are on a liquid diet. But if your baby is eating solids he may need few ounces of water to help it down. There’s always Mylan for gas; it doesn’t always work. And experiment with postures – on the belly over your knee while you rub his back is an old standby. If he gets this a lot, try adding a little extra water and/or yogurt to his milk or formula. (If he’s nursing this seems unlikely to be a problem.) If he’s eating solids, make sure his meals are balanced.
Ear infection: If baby is touching his ear a lot or it looks red and inflamed that’s probably what it is. Ear infection often goes along with teething. There are two types, inner and outer ear infection. Inner ear infections need to be treated as an internal infection – with antiobiotic or, if you’re of the wholistic persuasion, whatever a homeopath does to treat bacterial infections. Outer can be treated with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar, dropped into the ear, held there for five minutes, then drained. It is not fun administering this but it will save on a doctor’s bill. Doctors cannot treat outer ear infections anyway. If I’m not sure which it is, I always try gently massaging and tugging slightly at Johnny’s ear area. Oftentimes this seems to break it up, and with the combination of painkiller, allows him to sleep.
Teething: search his gums very gently for a teething spot. It will be like a little bubble in the gums. Or maybe you will see the white ridge of the tooth straining at the surface of the skin. Drooling and slight fever are also signs. You cannot do better than Orajel for short term and baby painkiller/fever-reducer (e.g. liquid ibuprofen for babies) for the long term.
Diaper rash: If your baby’s diaper area is red, inflamed, spotty, and/or bumpy, he has a diaper rash. There are two elements of treating it, other than making sure your kid never ever sits in a dirty diaper. 1) Ointment. Something healing and soothing, like calendula or Desitin. 2) “Cement.” Something to armor the skin against further attack while it heals. You make this by applying either Desitin or vaseline, then liberally sprinkling baby powder over it. The powder and the gook will form the cement. Make sure the skin is clean and has been rinsed with clear water before applying anything, or else nastiness could get trapped underneath making the problem worse. To prevent diaper rash from continuing: Consider the possibility that your baby is reacting to the brand of diaper or wipes that you are using. Also, if your child is eating solids, try feeding him yogurt while cutting back on fruit and juice: if the problem is the acidity of your child’s waste, this may introduce balance to the digestive system. If you are nursing you may need to make this change to your own diet. Then again, your child may just be temporarily ill.
5) Is your baby busy enough? If your kid has not spent enough time working, playing, and having new experiences, he will get bored and will not become sleepy.
6) Is your baby off his schedule? Babies sleep best if their bodies are allowed to get in a rhythm. It doesn’t have to be exact but if your child is eating, sleeping and playing in the same basic order every day he will eat, sleep, and play better.