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Fennel tea for colic/trapped wind

(16 Posts)
IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Thu 26-Sep-13 16:28:48

Hi, my 7 week old baby is suffering really badly with trapped wind and colic-like symptoms and my GP has recommended fennel tea to ease the symptoms. My baby is currently mixed fed, I am breastfeeding but we top up with formula.

My question is how do I give the fennel tea? If I drink it myself surely it won't have too big an effect on my milk? And as we are not using formula full time we are using ready made cartons and bottles of Aptimil for convenience so I cannot put a tea bag on to 'brew' when making up a bottle (won't be much good adding to room temp or fridge cold milk I would think). For those who have used it, did you just make a cup of tea and add a little to the bottle?

*Just to clarify, we thought he had reflux but are not so sure now. He certainly suffers with trapped wind and writhes and screams in discomfort. He goes red, draws up his knees and holds his breath. He gets some ease being held upright. I have tried massaging his belly, cycling his legs etc.

minipie Thu 26-Sep-13 20:54:46

Gripe water is made with fennel seed so you could try giving that and see if it helps, same idea but less faff than making up tea yourself. I found the easiest way to give gripe water is in a bottle with a small amount of cooled boiled water.

Has he been checked for tongue tie? worth looking up the symptoms, if he matches them or any of them, suggest you see a lactation consultant and get him checked. this was what turned out to be the cause of my DD's terrible wind and on/off reflux.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Thu 26-Sep-13 23:08:27

Hi, thanks for your reply. I was using gripe water after a feed when he got really bad, I wasn't sure on whether you could mix it with a feed or not. If giving it in a bottle on its own do you give 5ml of gripe water and a similar amount of water? (I have some tiny, sterile bottles from the hospital I could use and my brother said to give some gripe water in one of those).

I was convinced he was tongue tied and had another meeting with the specialist feeding midwife who said not. However many of the symptoms fit and I'm not convinced.

minipie Fri 27-Sep-13 09:15:56

Yes I think I gave 5ml gripe water with 10ml cooled boiled water - but it could be less water, it's just enough so the 5ml gripe water doesn't get lost in the teat iyswim.

Tongue tie is often wrongly written off by midwives and others... it's worth a second opinion. really I think you need a trained breastfeeding counsellor or lactation consultant, who is trained to spot TT. if you can afford it, you could see a private lactation consultant (ask on here for recommendations in your area). if not, you could try your local breastfeeding cafe or branch of la leche league, they may have breastfeeding counsellors who come and visit.

tiktok Fri 27-Sep-13 12:50:28

None of what you say indicates 'wind' especially, though of course it could be.

When babies cry in any sort of distress, they writhe and scream and draw up their knees. It's by no means always physical pain, but it is real distress.

'Wind' is just a label our culture gives to this !

It is highly unlikely fennel tea would help with this, though a small amount given direct in cool boiled water on a spoon, or in a bottle, will not do any harm. Yes, get a second opinion on the TT.

However, other avenues to explore would be (in no particular order):

* possible reaction to the formula
* possible reaction to cows milk or even caffeine in your diet
* responding to his upset earlier (before he gets to screaming) with calm, gentle, responsive
* need for calming to help him 'come down' from his distress which may be simply him feeling overwhelmed and unable to regulate his distress - there are so many 'methods' for this (look at Harvey Karp's here www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddRkI5wVIqQ but basically they all depend on not messing about too much with jiggling and rocking and changing what you are doing every 2 mins...which just overwhelms a baby more

Hope this helps.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Fri 27-Sep-13 14:39:00

How strange, I was just looking at the Richard and Judy clip the other day after seeing it mentioned on an old thread. He won't tolerate being swaddled but he does love to be held really close across the tummy and cuddled in while I pat him and it will often soothe him to sleep when he is overtired, but with what I am assuming is wind it doesn't help.

I just assumed it was trapped wind because he does seem very uncomfortable to the point of hysteria after some (but not all) feeds, it is worse through the night. He is very windy, and gets very squirmy and upset until he pumps then he can be fine for a while till it all starts up again. He is sick and continues to be sick for a long time after feeds despite burping almost automatically when sat upright.

I wonder about a reaction to cows milk as he is getting more formula now but it doesn't seem to be the trigger. There is no rhyme or reason with which feeds upset him. Also sometimes he is just sick, other times it makes him scream as if it is acidic, but I don't know if it is reflux as he had infant Gaviscon (now stopped due to constipation) and the sickness has just stayed the same.

It is just frustrating to be so sleep deprived and know he is tired too but either can't sleep or is asleep but waking up in pain.

tiktok Fri 27-Sep-13 15:02:06

sad sad Aw, Trench, you have been through the wringer with all this.

The sickness sounds more than 'normal' baby sickness if it appears to make him scream....on the other hand, crying/screaming can make a baby sick, so which is the cause and which is the effect is hard to sort out.

It strikes me that there is a lot of 'input' into your situation - previous posts have recounted several consultations with different people, and there will have been times when your head is spinning, and you have tried different things, some of which have appeared to work for a short time, some of which have brought their own side-effects (eg the Gaviscon), some of which have contradicted other things you have tried!

And all this in 7 weeks.

The concern about this is that you and your baby become less able to 'attune', and you get to the stage where you can't see the wood for the trees. Has your baby got something physical that upsets him? Or is he giving you clues of his needs you are not able to see? Or are you feeling under pressure and upset? Or do you have high expectations? Or are you missing out on your own needs for comfort and care and support? I don't know and no one here can tell anyway....I do think it would help if you found someone who knows about babies, about bf, and about mothers, who will listen and not judge, and who won't assume anything about how to 'fix' things, who has a genuine open mind and who will truly support you in these difficult times. It can be a friend, partner, HV, midwife, relative...anyone who has some knowledge and knows where their knowledge stops, and who cares about you.

The fact he is having more formula than before suggests to me another complication in your life - I wonder if you are judging and assessing all the time 'is he hungry? has he had enough? does he need formula? have I got enough prepared?' and all those exhausting questions,....sad

minipie Fri 27-Sep-13 19:56:00

oh tiktok - the kind of person you describe is exactly what I would have loved at exactly this stage! I actually tried to find someone like this and couldn't, even privately. the closest I found was a "baby whisperer" but it turned out she was all about routines and sleep training, not helping me figure out what was going on with my baby and whether it was anything or nothing. If you find anyone like this please let me know and I'll take down their details for baby number 2!

Trench - I've now read your other thread, it really does sound like posterior TT to me though I'm no expert. How are you getting on with getting referred to TT clinic?

I feel your pain on the sleep... The trouble is that wind and/or reflux leads to crappy sleep, which leads to overtiredness, which leads to even more crappy sleep, and so on. This is what happened with us in hindsight - DD's distress at this age was about 30% wind and 70% overtiredness. But until the wind was sorted (with age and getting TT snipped) it was very hard to tackle the overtiredness.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Fri 27-Sep-13 20:21:52

tiktok you are right about the contradictory advice. I was reaching out to so many people and it was hard to know who to listen to. I discovered that a lot of advice I was being given regarding breastfeeding in particular was massively out of date or just plain wrong thanks to advice you had given to me on previous threads and by reading old threads. I ignore suggestions now about expressing off foremilk, 'draining' breasts etc.

I think my confidence has been knocked because of how unsettled he is and how unhappy he has seemed sad despite my HV saying we are coping well and my parents when they visit reassuring us it is nothing we are doing wrong. I know his temper cry when I am changing him for example, but am constantly asking when he cries 'is it a pained cry', 'do you think he is hungry?'.

Early on I feel I missed his cues, he was starving and despite people saying he was hungry I wouldn't have it. I was determined to make exclusive breastfeeding work but he wasn't happy (I'm sure I was making enough milk, but it's just he was having problems accessing it). I don't want to make that same mistake if he genuinely is in pain, I don't want to think 'it's just colic' in case there is something I am missing that could help him.

I am not normally an anxious person and I don't have overly high expectations in any other part of my life but with motherhood I definitely wanted the perfect birth and to EBF to 6 months then carrying on feeding till at least one year. I broke my heart over giving him formula but it has removed a huge pressure from me and allowed me some time to just enjoy him instead of getting lower and lower.

minipie I'm not really getting on with it! Haven't heard about the paed referral yet, and the feeding midwife said I could be referred to one of two hospitals regarding tongue tie, but when she looked she said he is not tongue tied (it's the same old thing, he can stick his tongue out so it is not tied when I know from threads on here that's just no the case). I dont want to push for a referral in case he doesnt have a tie.

I am using the Milk Matters site but I am waiting to hear from the LC, I was going to do it over the phone but am still waiting. I would have to travel quite a big distance to actually see someone who knows what they are looking for and could sort it out which I am willing to do but I don't know if he does have a tie.

minipie Fri 27-Sep-13 22:12:56

Hmm I'd call the hospitals directly and see what referral they need. it may be that a GP or HV referral is fine and if you have a cooperative HV or GP maybe they will refer even if they don't know much about TT themselves? Don't worry about being pushy, if there is no tie the hospital will see that in seconds and will send you home - you'll have wasted your own time but nobody else's so no harm done if there is no tie I bet there is though.

agh, that old chestnut about sticking tongue out! I was told dd had no TT because she could stick her tongue out for miles (and indeed she spent most of her first 5 months with tongue out!) and yet yes she did have PTT.

tiktok Fri 27-Sep-13 23:26:20

Good suggestions from minipie - yes, take action yourself if you can smile

Ruling out, or ruling in and treating, tongue tie is an essential step, I think...you need to know in order to move forward.

tiktok Fri 27-Sep-13 23:28:58

Interesting that he cries when he is being changed....obviously most babies will object on occasions to anything, including a nappy change, but if this is a common thing, it's unusual. Any thoughts on that?

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sat 28-Sep-13 04:07:48

I don't know what to think of it, unless he is very sleepy or satisfied right after a feed he cries, turns red and gets to the point where he holds his breath during nappy and clothes changes. He was like this in the bath as well but has settled now - he cries when he is being dried instead. I put it down to just not liking being bothered as he doesn't seem to be in pain. In hindsight I thought it was maybe grouchiness through hunger.

He behaved like this at his 6 week check and the GP commented on his temper, I don't know what else it could be. In my mind everything is linked to feeding problems and hunger, though he is gaining weight now and has always had plenty of wet nappies, is alert etc. and the HV is happy with him re muscle tone etc.

tiktok Sat 28-Sep-13 09:29:01

sad sad to the doctor commenting on 'temper', in a tiny baby....babies don't cry out of 'temper', they cry because of a need.

Some babies are acutely sensitive to sensation and being 'manoevred' (they tend to grow out of this, just as your baby has got accustomed to being bathed and no longer cries) so being dressed and dried and changed are just not comfortable for them, even when it's done gently ( I am sure you do it that way!). The need in those babies is for the manoevring to stop, but obv he needs to be dried dressed and changed. Are there ways you can practise doing these things with him on your lap? I wonder if that would make a difference?

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sat 28-Sep-13 11:16:38

That's how my mum does it actually, I would need to get more confident that he wouldn't fall. At the moment I just pick him up if he gets too distressed, but as you say he does need to be changed and dressed eventually.

I think he is overtired now but seems uncomfortable. He is snuggling tummy to tummy but squirming every so often and passing lots of wind. The Hoover running seemed to help.

Jcmum Tue 11-Apr-17 23:21:40

It is nice to read that others have similar experiences- I have a 6 week old who also cried in major distress MOST but not all times we change- there is no rhyme or reason to it- it doesn't matter where or when except that when he is VERY well fed he tends to be a very happy baby on the table smiling and interacting. Otherwise- silent screams of terror. I also pick him up to calm him and he also loves cuddling tummy to tummy. He writhes and squirms and there is DEFINITELY gas moving through and sometimes constipation is the issue. He is not tongue tied according to the lactation consultant. Gripe water, Mothers Milk seem to help a bit. I am also now drinking catnip tea with peppermint and fennel seed at the recommendation of my acupuncturist and his wife who is a midwife. My baby is definitely hungry on occasion because I know I am not producing enough milk so we supplement with an organic formula. It really helps. I have to get over feeling bad and just know that it's a good thing that my baby is fed and nourished and not frantic and hungry. Good luck mums. If you have any new information on these symptoms I'd love to hear them.

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