Why is my baby arching back?

A mom said to me the other day, that learning to interpret baby’s behaviour was like learning a whole new language. I guess she is right and whilst I am not fluent in baby language – I do have a few tips to teach you that may help!

When a baby is uncomfortable, he or she will often do one of three things. 1 Arch backwards, 2 Pull legs up to chest, 3 Do both and shoot to the sides.

The first two are easy to read and usually easy to sort out and today we will focus on the first one – I will do the second and third tomorrow and Thursday.

1 Arching backwards –

When feeding

If your baby is pulling off the breast during the feed, it could be that your milk is flowing too fast and your baby can’t cope – give baby a break and do a little winding.

Your baby may also be trying to tell you that he or she has had enough food and doesn’t want any more.

Or it could just be that your baby is older and far too interested in his or her surroundings to focus on a feed for a long period.
It could also be that your baby has gastro reflux – so look into this.

When Winding

Tells you that your baby has some wind trapped just below the diagphragm and is trying to get it out.

It can also tell you that your baby may be suffering from gastro reflux – but only if baby seems more upset or in pain after the wind has come up. You should visit your GP to have this properly diaganosed.

What should you do first?

Well, I really don’t like babies on very heavy medication – so this is a last option. First you need to see if you can help reduce your baby’s wind intake – or help expel bubbles that your baby has swallowed.

To reduce wind intake you need to look and listen to what your baby is doing during the feed. Is your baby swallowing too fast, can you hear your baby gulping while feeding – if you can – take baby off the breast and wind well. (if you are bottle feeding, stop and wind baby after each 1oz or 30ml)

If you are not successful at winding – use infacol before each feed for at least ten days. If it helps bring up wind – continue to use it.

See a cranial osteopath – to help relax baby’s diagphram so that the wind will not become trapped and will be easier to get up.

If you have done all these things and your baby is still suffering – I would suggest that you visit your GP and discuss whether your baby has reflux. If your GP feels that your baby has reflux, you mayneed to give your baby Gaviscon for infants.

This will constipate your baby, so be sure to offer cooled boiled water in between feeds as soon as you see that your baby is not as regular as usual. Constipation will lead to problems at the other end – that is just not what either of you will want.

We will look at why babies pulle their legs up tomorrow. Be sure to pop back and have a read.

Much love as always.


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