Tag Archives: baby

Stockpiling Gripe Water may not curb the colic

SO, shops have run out of Woodward’s Gripe Water. Frazzled parents, driven to despair by colicky babies, are at their wit’s end and bottles usually on sale in Boots for less than £2.50 are being sold on Ebay for a tenner.

Yet the burpy liquid has stopped being manufactured because it’s being investigated by the Government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

You can usually buy the booze-less version in any pharmacy where it is given in a tiny amount to babies over one month old who are suffering from colic, or trapped wind. Other brands are available, or you can even make your own.

If you put your ear to the tummy of a colicky baby – between the ear-drum-piercing, high-pitched screams – you can hear bubbles.

The blurb claims that the mixture of bicarb of soda and dill oil disperses the bubbles, relieving the discomfort and usually producing a big burp.

However, there seems to be manufacturing and licensing issues with the remedy, which was made by SSL International before being bought out by Reckitt Benckiser, who have halted its manufacture – for now.

Lots of parents-of-a-certain-age will recall Woodward’s Gripe Water from years ago, when it still had alcohol in it. It probably didn’t have any E Number preservatives in it then because, let’s face it, alcohol doesn’t go off.

More recently the alcohol was taken out, so today’s recipe contains a basic mix of Sodium bicarb (hence the burp), dill seed oil and E215, E217 and E219.

We tried Woodward’s when our eldest, now 14, was wreaking havoc on our lives as a new baby. We were still baffled by the tiny infant who screamed his head off after just about every feed. He’d pull his knees up to his chest and clench his tiny fists, and we just didn’t know how to help him. We’d have tried anything.

Sleep-deprivation due to his crying had turned us into neurotic zombies. Bloke would walk him around for hours, baby Jed lying over hid shoulder, doing the New Parent shuffle, swaying side-to-side to the same CD, the only one that seemed to calm baby down (to this day neither of us can listen to Sacred Spirit Vol.1: Chants & Dances of the Native Americans . . .)

We tried Woodward’s Gripe Water, and once we’d worked out how to get a 5ml spoon of a very runny, sticky liquid into a squirming baby’s mouth without getting it all over ourselves, up the baby’s nose, or all over the carpet, it would usually elicit a burp within a minute or so. (Ask your pharmacy for a medicine syringe, it’s far easier).

The gripe water lulled us, temporarily; into thinking we’d solved it. But the wailing would inevitably start again.

So we tried Infacol, another colic remedy, which you are meant to give BEFORE a feed. To be honest, we don’t think that worked either, though many of our friends will testify both worked on their own colicky babies.

With the benefit of hindsight, and knowing now we didn’t have any problems with our subsequent three, I wonder whether Jed actually had colic at all.

I just don’t think we knew how to ‘wind’ a baby properly. (And that’s not to say colic doesn’t exist, before a barrage of angry emails drops into my inbox).

When you have a new tiny baby, you are terrified to handle him or her with anything except metaphorical kid gloves. But to get bubbles out of a baby’s tummy, or break them up small enough not to cause discomfort, you have to rub, and rub, and pat, and rub, for what seems like hours – or until the next feed. One burp isn’t usually enough.

In practice, you have to be reasonably vigorous. My Mum is an absolute master at winding. She’d lie the baby on her lap, or across her shoulder, and do a rhythmic routine of patting, stroking up the back and patting again. Without fail, she’d get them belching for England, without so much as a whimper.

Making sure their stomach is pressed against you while winding, or propping them into a sitting position, holding their chin in one hand and patting the back with the other can work.

And *whispers* lying them on their tummy in their cot (only if they can hold their head up) also worked for all four of mine to stop the bubbles waking them up after a feed.

If you have a colicky baby, and the Woodward’s has run out, then you have the full sympathy of every parent on the planet.

I’ll let you in on another of my Mum’s bizarre, possibly placebo and thoroughly un-PC remedies for crying babies. Warm, previously boiled water, allowed to cool in a small cup with half a spoon of sugar stirred in. Give one spoonful to baby from a METAL spoon. It works especially well on hiccups.

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Why childcare is essential to get the economy moving

I TURNED the radio on halfway through a phone-in about childcare. A woman in her 60s was literally shouting, almost screaming, about how parents shouldn’t be helped by the state to pay for childcare.

The reason for her anger? Because she hadn’t had it herself. She wanted the money to be used to give her a better pension instead.

She was particularly riled by the fact that another caller, “the man with a foreign name” was defending his family’s position that both he and his wife had to work simply to pay the basic monthly bills.

It baffles me how bitter, resentful, and sometimes gullible people can be about child-related benefits.

They seem willing to believe that we are all churning out children we don’t really want, simply to enjoy vast piles of cash handed out by doe-eyed civil servants to allow us to sit and watch Jeremy Kyle.

Or that ‘career’ mothers throw their offspring into nurseries run by automatons to earn money for expensive holidays and designer clothing.

Working mothers are vilified for not staying home and looking after their kids. Stay-at-home parents are vilified for not working and contributing a wage and taxes. And the Daily Mail turns right-minded people into screaming bigots.

We have the highest childcare costs relative to household income anywhere in the world, yet nursery nurses are not highly paid.

If you want the economy to recover, you have to help people be able to afford to work, rather than give up their jobs, lose their homes, and depend on the state for far more than just the cost of a few hours a week childcare.

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Bonnie’s besotted by baby (but she’s not getting one)

A MONTH or so ago, Bonnie and I went for a picnic in the park with my heavily pregnant pal, the local newspaper snapper Louise Smith.

Three-year-old Bonnie spent a lot of time trying to work out in her head whether it was really possible for a baby to be inside the massive bump of a tummy that Louise was lugging about. For a few days afterwards, she kept asking if the baby was “out-yet?”

Once newborn Baby Lydia was, indeed, ‘out,’ and the new parents had settled into the reality of post-labour-sleep-deprived-neurotic-hell, we went to visit.

And instantly, Bonnie was besotted. Two-week old Lydia was the same size as her own dolly ‘babies’ but unlike them, she did stuff.

She moved. She gripped Bonnie’s finger in her own tiny fist. She stared at Bonnie and Bonnie stared back, with an enormous grin on her face.

Bonnie tried to ‘dolly’ her. She brought jumpers and blankets, tried to cover her up in layer after layer as fast as Louise and I could remove them. She asked Lydia questions in a sing-song-talking-to-baby voice and once she’d established that Lydia wasn’t going to talk back, chatted away as she did to her dollies.

I eventually prised her away, and in the car on the way home, she announced: “I want a baby,” a statement that I’m sure has terrified generations of mothers.

I explained that she would have to wait until she was a grown-up lady before she could have a baby of her own (while secretly hoping it would be at least 20-odd years before I had to deal with that particular milestone).

The following day she changed tack: “I want a sister.”

No darling, that’s definitely one wish that I won’t be indulging. Four of you is quite enough. Now, where’s that dolly of yours . . ?

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She forgot how painful fun could be

I stopped having drinking, and therefore having hangovers, when I realised I prefered not to wakeup to stinky nappies and screaming babies with a pounding head and mouth like the floor of a birdcage.
Somehow I forgot all about this and spent a very enjoyable evening in our kitchen with friends and two jugs of Pimms last night. Sneaky stuff Pimms. You don’t realise how alcoholic it is until you try and stand up.
Today head hurts, and have had to change two stinky nappies. Blurgh.
Bacon sandwich needed.

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