How to Treat a Baby With Stomach Cramps During the Night

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A baby that has stomach cramps is fairly common, and if this is accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting, dehydration may be a concern. Find out when to seek medical care with help from a pediatrician in this free video on pediatrics and stomach cramps.

Part of the Video Series: Baby Digestion & Stomach Health
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill and today, we're going to be talking about how to treat a baby with stomach cramps during the night. Well, babies will get stomach cramps really at all times a day; but, the nighttime once are really bummer because they wake the baby up and therefore, they wake you up. So, the first question is how do you know that what your baby has is a stomach cramps. This brings us to the topic of colic. If we're talking about a baby whose between the ages of two weeks to three months of age and they tend to wake up at night and draw their legs up and tighten their stomach muscles and scream bloody murder, that may well be colic. There are not a lot of great really proven effective treatments for colic; but, there are some things that may help. If you read Dr. Harvey Karp's book, The Happiest Baby On The Block, he'll recommend that you swaddle the baby with his or her arms right at, right at the side, that you give him something to suck on like a finger or pacifier, that you turn him over in their side-lying position or a tummy position only if they're awake and not if they're asleep; they should never sleep on their tummy, that you jiggle them gently, that you shush in their ear. And those five S's that he talks about, the shushing, the shaking, side-lying position, the sucking and the swaddling are suppose to help. Now, you may also be trying some changes in your diet, some formula changes, work with your doctor or look up some of other talks on colic and see what you can do. If your baby is over three months of age however, we're probably not talking about colic anymore, it's very rare in that age group. So then, the questions, what is going on? Does your baby have vomiting or diarrhea? Is there a reason to think he or she has an intestinal infection. Well, if that's the case, then, you want to do the things that we do. Work on hydration. Take care of that baby, pat the tummy a little bit, maybe put him again on his tummy and pat his back. But, talk to your doctor at night or in the morning about what's making your baby sick. There may also be constipation. If your baby hasn't pooped in awhile and when he or she does poop, he has rock hard balls of stools; they maybe large, they maybe small, they may have some blood on them when they pass; then, you want to talk to your doctor or look up some things that you can do for constipation as well. So, it always comes back to why is your baby having this nighttime cramps. So, right now, if it's the middle of the night, think first of all, what's going on; what's wrong with my baby? Try turning him over on his tummy, patting him a little bit, try getting him back to bed, of course on his or her back if he's too young to roll over from back to front and front to back again. And then, check in with your doctor. Talking about taking care of an infant who has belly cramps at night, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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