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  1. Crying babies

    by Doctor Jo Jones, Paediatrician



    “When you were born, you cried and everyone else was happy…” Tony Campolo

    That first cry is the most wonderful thing, but in my experience both as a mother and a Paediatrician, some babies go on crying… and crying… and that is what this article is all about.


    Why do babies cry? It‟s all about communication – that they‟re hungry, dirty, tired, uncomfortable, in pain, bored, or just feeling a bit grumpy. Many mothers „learn‟ the different cries their child makes within a few weeks. The urgent, high-pitched scream of pain, the „revving up‟ sound of a hunger cry, the waxing and waning of a tired cry when sleep is near. This seems to be an instinctive gift to a mother – to „read‟ their child‟s request - but many things get in the way, such as utter exhaustion, low mood and the myriad stresses, pressures and worries that come with motherhood.

    Most mothers, however, correctly interpret that pain cry which generates an overpowering urge to comfort and take the pain away.

    When it becomes associated with difficulties in that other primaeval need - to feed one‟s child, feelings of inadequacy and utter desperation can be overwhelming.

    Which crying babies need medical attention? Those with significant Reflux, for a start. There are different „types‟ of Reflux, where the „valve‟ that shuts off the gullet from the stomach is leaky, and allows stomach contents to wash back up towards the throat. One type causes often profuse vomiting soon after a feed or even between feeds and is easily spotted. These babies do well with feed thickeners, Gaviscon or sometimes medications to switch off stomach acid. Very few vomit enough to affect growth. Nevertheless, it‟s soul-destroying to have to feed or bath and dress your baby all over again after the whole lot has poured out just as you‟ve gently laid her a little flatter to change her nappy.

    It‟s also worth noting how difficult it is to get Gaviscon down a breast fed baby; easy enough to put it in a bottle, but you‟re meant to give it after a feed and few babies will take 15 mls of „yack‟ straight after (or even straight before!) a warm breast feed.

    The other type of Reflux is „acid reflux‟. These babies may well not vomit much more than normal possetts, but are often tremendously unsettled whilst feeding and soon after. Such babies tend to pull off the nipple or teat constantly, arch back and cry out, often red in the face, then return to the feed frantically trying to suckle again. This suckling is often for comfort as the acid from the stomach washes up at the back of the throat and causes a burning sensation. The best way to treat these babies is to „switch off‟ the burning by turning off stomach acid production with a medication.

    The other „biggie‟ that causes an extremely unsettled baby is those with Cows Milk Protein or Lactose Intolerance. These children are often even more fractious than the Reflux babies and it‟s not uncommon to have both, which makes for a very distressed mother and child. Some babies fail to thrive as they take feeds so poorly, but others overfeed which worsens the irritable tummy and starts a vicious cycle. I remember the fear and reluctance on a young mother‟s face when I asked her to reduce the feeds, as she said that feeding was the only thing that briefly stopped her son crying. Reducing his feeds along with anti reflux medication turned a screaming, writhing baby boy into a settled, happy little lad – the best outcome ever.


    If Colief (an enzyme supplement) doesn‟t help, your baby may need a „fully broken down‟ formula from your GP such as Nutramigen. This type of milk works much better than the supermarket brands for unsettled babies which are not as carefully formulated.

    Many children will completely grow out of these intolerances by their second year of life. There‟s no point doing allergy tests, as testing in small babies is very unreliable due to their immature immune systems. Also, because it is not a true „allergy‟, the intolerance does not show up on testing.

    For breast-feeders, you may find that if you followed every bit of dietary advice given to you, you‟d end up eating nothing at all!

    Nevertheless, a few things make complete sense, one of which is cutting back on wind-producing vegetables and chilli. I‟d also recommend a separate dairy free diet for a maximum of two weeks to see if the small amounts that enter breast milk from a mother‟s diet are upsetting your baby. It‟s important to return to a dairy rich diet if there is no benefit seen in your baby, as breastfeeding mothers need plenty of calcium. Try drinking fennel or peppermint tea, as these are known gut relaxants.

    Dads can also help here. Instead of saying, “The baby‟s crying; he must be hungry!”, and giving the baby back to an exhausted Mum, which worsens the vicious cycle, Dads can take the baby for a walk which is often settling in itself. Tummy massage is another treat for your baby which will help expel trapped wind.

    Babies who cry incessantly are rarely seriously ill. Mothers worry that they are though. The advice of your Health Visitor and GP will help get you through those extremely difficult first months until the crying subsides and the smiles take over.

  2. It has been a real journey from Mum to Mumpreneur over the past 12 months but as we celebrate our first anniversary here at Ruby and GINGER we have been having a think about our journey so far and the highs and lows of it all…

    For those of you who don’t know us we are Brenda and Liz, 2 business women who stepped off the corporate ladder to become mums and never returned. Instead we design stylish and innovative solutions for modern parenting – The original nappy purse that turns any bag into a change bag, the Cosy Car Seat Cover that keeps your baby warm and snug in their car seat and the Toy Tie that stops your little one losing their favourite toy by attaching it to their pushchair.

    The highs … what do we say is our highest high… seeing our Nappy Purse recommended by Tess Daly in her style column? A random mum recommending our own products to us? The great day on Twitter when someone was looking for a gorgeous small bag for nappies and loads of people tweeted Ruby and GINGER?  Or the fantastic response to our products at the Baby Show for Trade?  

    These are the some of the more obvious ones but its also the little things that have helped spur us on and believe that we too can join the world of Mumpreneurs for real  – as sometimes, definitely at the beginning – it did feel a bit like a game – We would look at each other with our new fabric design and laugh out loud often saying – “can you believe we have done this? By ourselves? Just us?”  But here we are one year in, with our products are now available in shops, online and even abroad! 

    The lows… oh there have been a few of them, anyone who has set up their own business will have sat at some point and wondered why oh why have we embarked on this journey?

    The day our stock shipment got stuck so we turned up at our first ever fair with only samples to show – that was a low, the 26th of each month especially those first few – when you realised that no one was dropping a nice salary into your bank account!  That’s a low. The doubting conversations over wine thinking ‘we love our products but will everyone else?”  Oh and standing at a craft fair outside in minus 8 degrees with no customers….that may be the lowest low!

    But here we are one year in, we have survived sanity just about intact, old friendships strengthened, new friends made, loads learnt about business and life but proud as punch to see our stuff out there for people to buy! Makes me grin just writing the words!

    You can buy Ruby and Ginger products on

  3. 'The Birth Planner' is coming to Rentabuggy...
    With a Baby Boom in flow and a recession growing having a baby can be very expensive. ‘The Birth Planner’ has been designed to bring you offers and discounts for everything you need from pregnancy through to birth and your babies first year.
    The idea of 'The Birth Planner' will be an A5 Colour booklet printed back to front. To be launched in February 2011 with 2,500 copies being produced. Distribution outlets will include retail shops, hospitals, baby and toddler classes, ante-natal classes, children’s centre, libraries and much more across the Midlands. They will be free. There will also be an option to purchase 'The Birth Planner' online for a small cost to cover postage and packaging.

    Laura quotes "As Owner of Rentabuggy, I had this idea for a free publication to not only help families save money but also to bring together the importance of using small business. As I started off in business myself, I am passionate about driving small businesses to grow in an economical downturn"
    There will 32 pages in total and each page will be covered with an individual product or service. We have a few advertising spaces left as follows:-
    • Full A5 Page and can include apporximately a logo, 2/3 pictures and wording upto 750 words about your business. We also ask that you can supply a discount code or offer (if an online store) or a voucher for the customer to use in store = Price £75
    We also have the following Sponsership package available:-
    • Logo and full credit on front page and package also includeds one full A5 page as above = Price £300
    If you own or run a business that is related to pregnancy, birth or babies upto one years old and would like to advertise based on these rates then please email us on [email protected]