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Help... excessive painful crying

My son is 5 weeks old. Been crying like he’s in pain almost 80% of his walking hours. Almost since day 1. Breast fed only. After many requests for help and advice, one midwife suspected it could be a tongue tie. Finally, had it confirmed and franulotomy procedure carried out last week. Unfortunately this has not helped 😥

We suspect he is colic as his bout of painful cries are worst in the evenings and have tried Infacol for 1 week. No better so stopped. Also tried gripe water and whilst it has helped him burp more, still not helped with the constant crying. This affects his feeds(which just about last 5 mins) and sleep and is exhausting for us as new parents. Saw the GP again today and this time we were prescribed paracetamol for the pain to give 2ml 3x/day.

Feel like we have tried everything with his health visitor/midwifes/GP etc... but to no avail and feel like we are not taken seriously. Don’t know where else to turn hence came accross this forum. Would love any advice and tips. Many thanks in advance.

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Do you have any food allergies or intolerances in your family? There is a small chance your baby may have one to something getting through in the breast milk. Do you have a sling - stretchy wrap or close Caboo? To hold him close to you all the time so he feels safe.

Both my babies were tongue tied, so I can empathise with that. I was recommended to take mine to a cranial osteopath after having the tongue tie cut as birth can leave tensions in their body meaning they’re in pain. Ask for recommendations in your local area for one that treats babies. I took both of my babies to a cranial osteopath and I think it made a difference to them.

My son was a very sicky baby, my husband has problems with his guts if he eats too much bread, certain beers and a few other food triggers. Finally at 3.5 years old our paediatrician suggested we try a low gluten diet for our son and it’s made a huge difference to him. Maybe go back and see your GP and ask about food intolerances. It’s easier in a way as your baby is breastfed as your partner can cut those foods out of her diet, check with the GP the best way to do it, it’s often dairy and gluten that cause issues, but some babies struggle with other things too.

I really hope you find answers and can help your baby. It’s so frustrating when you know something isn’t right and you keep asking questions but aren’t getting answers. Be persistent, keep asking until you are satisfied, you know your baby best, trust your instincts.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Means a lot and nice to know we’re not alone!

We’re not aware of any food tolerances, but in the last few days, my wife has reduced her dairy intake as a friend mentioned the same thing. Hopefully see how this goes over the coming days and weeks.

We haven’t used a sling either, so I guess this is something else we can consider. His pain is worst usually in the evenings and it’s hard when nothing we try calms or soothes him. He won’t feed and ends up falling asleep and the cycle starts again through the night.

I will also look into finding out more about potentially seeing a cranial osteopath.

Thanks again for your advice. Much appreciated.

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What about reflux? Silent reflux? My son has reflux and cried a lot as a newborn until we sorted out his meds. His was obvious because he would sick up full feeds but some babies just get it into their throat so not so noticeable.

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Thank you so much for your reply. We spoke to the midwife/feeding specialist earlier today. I mentioned reflux to her and she said it’s very possible that it could be silent reflux but to wait in the mean time and give the frenulotomy time to work. And then to reconsider the silent reflux and potential treatment when he’s a little older.

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So sorry to hear you’re struggling. I had 2 crying babies but for different reasons. The first had colic. Infant masaage was really helpful, our children’s centre sent out someone to teach us. We also knew that from 5pm onwards he would be awful so I would go to bed for a couple of hours whilst my husband had him and then I’d get back up. He was breast fed so I’d do the vast majority. He would take one express bottle though. With my second he would cry all hours and was just generally a miserable baby. He was diagnosed with silent reflux and constipation. I would go back to the gp and stress it’s after feeds and you can’t put him down, that’s what I did and was given the gaviscon. After gaviscon and lactose he was a much happier baby! I hope you get it sorted. It does get easier.

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Thank you so much for your reply. I’m sorry to hear of your challenges with your crying babies also, and you obviously understand exactly what we are going through. As painful as it is seeing my son in pain, it’s equally as painful seeing my wife struggling. I help as much as I can and support wherever possible, but it’s definitely the mother that has the biggest challenge when baby is solely breast fed. We tried expressing and bottle feeding, but he’s not really taken to it.

When you say gaviscon and lactose, how is the lactose administered with a breast fed baby?

Can I purchase it over the counter or does it need prescribing?

Many thanks

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It’s so hard but rest assured it does get easier. My youngest is now 1 and his sleep pattern is much better. I think you need to have both prescribed with such a young baby. With the gaviscon you have to make it up with cooled boiled water and I gave both with a pipette, you just need to sterilise first. My eldest wouldnt take to an expressed bottle so we stopped trying. We preserved more with my second and it certainly made life a bit easier but neither would take one during the night. I’d also recommend a sling, if you don’t already have one. You can be taught how to feed in them too, made life a lot easier. I hope it all gets easier for you both!

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Any medication for a child that age is going to have be prescribed as it all goes by weight rather than age.

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Hi. My baby was like this. She is breast fed and never seemed happy but then I saw improvements after 7 weeks. I have a few suggestions (I didn’t know these at the time so they are all hindsight. Wish I had known, would’ve helped me a lot)

1: babies get worse around this time (I think it’s growth spurt). They improve at around week 7

2: baby massage is really good for colic/reflux especially stomach massages so see if there are any classes near you (some classes require you to have the go ahead from a doctor if they are under 6 weeks so check with doctor first)

3: Could be reflux or silent reflux. I cut dairy out of my diet for 10 weeks which helped my baby loads (some babies are sensitive to it through breast milk. I then reintroduced dairy into my diet bit by bit. She is 8 months and on solids now and completely fine with digesting cows milk. I think it’s when babies are younger and are developing their digestive system)

4: More burping (I used to burp my baby after one boob before putting her on the other. Then thorough burp afterwards.

5: Maybe increase feeds as he may be hungry if going through a growth spurt.

6: Look up fourth trimester. This describes babies behaviour in the first three months of their life outside the womb.

7: How is his sleep? Babies this young need a lot of sleep but some find it hard to sleep as they are adjusting to life outside the womb.

I hope at least one of these tips helps. Personally I found week 5 and 6 the hardest and I had no idea what to do. You’ve probably heard it before but things will get better x

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Thank you so much for your replay and for taking the time to give all the advice and guidance that you have. I hope you are correct about week 5-6 being the hardest and hopefully things getting easier from there onwards.

His sleeping patterns are not the best. Much better in the morning and afternoon with his naps. Evenings and through the night is the biggest challenge. He ends up falling asleep hungry and then won’t sleep for long before he wakes up crying again and same pattern. You can see he’s very hungry and starts to feed and then within a few mins, he comes off the breast crying and fighting away. We try winding him and settling him and then he’s tired again and sleeps briefly and same routine again sadly.

If only he would feed longer and to a pattern, I guess his sleeps would be better also. I guess it just takes one thing to make everything else fall out of sync.

Whilst we have heard it many times before, it’s nice to hear from somebody who understands us and been through what we have and hopefully things get better sooner rather than later. 🤞

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Sounds like you are very suppprtive and both of you are doing a great job. I just want to add that I understand that breastfeeding is such a challenge but once you all get into a routine the joys of BF will come. The reason that BF babies seem like they are not getting enough milk is because they go through this fussy phase and it becomes unbearable in these difficult first weeks. It is in a babies nature to feed often especially at night and when they are going through a growth spurt (this is because prolactin is produced more at night). The next big growth spurt is around 4 months. They also feed often because their stomachs are so small. I promise you that your BF baby is getting enough milk and your wife is producing enough milk. I don’t want to sound preachy and it is your choice and do what works for you as a family. There is no evidence to suggest that a formula fed baby is more happy and better fed. My baby is 8 months and still BF and she is super happy and meeting all milestones. If you need more support please speak to a BF consultant or go to an infant feeding cafe at your local hospital. I have done this and it gave me the confidence to continue to BF. There are also BF groups too to get peer support. If your son won’t take a bottle you could try a Medela Feeding Cup. Me and partner used this when my LG was younger and helped when we split the night shift:

medela.co.uk/breastfeeding-...

Tommie Tippee bottles are also great for BF babies. My LG has one with expressed milk.

Also here is some information on baby sleep which is useful:

preciouslittlesleep.com/are...

Sorry for the long post!

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Once again, thank you soo much for your informative reply. All the information you’ve given along with your insight is invaluable to us and I can’t thank you enough for that.

My sons turned 6 weeks old today. Quite scary when I think about it!

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Hi newdad1, when my son was born, I breast fed him and he was constantly crying, I was up all night and day. Then i tried formula and he was fine. Maybe your baby is just hungry, and not getting enough through the breast? Just a suggestion.

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Thank you for your reply.

My mother suggested the very same thing to us ! We kind of ignored her as we were constantly told by the midwifes that the baby was getting ample feed via breast milk as his weight was within normal range as expected post birth and hence no need to consider formula.

However the more I think about it, I think your suggestion is a very valid one.

1. What age did you start your child on formula ?

2. Did you feed both breast and formula or strictly formula?

3. How did you choose which formula is best for your child?

4. Did your child have any colic/wind issues with formula and if so, did you use anything like gripe water to help?

Many thanks, and sorry for all the extra questions.

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Newdad1, all the midwives are very positive for breast and very anti formula, but at the end of the day, if your child isn’t feeding, they need food. I had to stay in the hospital for a week with my son after birth due to complications, and at night, when the ward was less busy, a few of the midwives would say to me, if your son needs formula, don’t Listen to what they say, just give it to him and don’t feel bad about it. Other midwives make you feel guilty for giving it to them, and it’s so so wrong.

I started him on formula after a few days, we were mixed feeding to begin with, so he would have breast with a formula top up. As the weeks went on, I felt like he wasn’t getting enough from me so I increased the formula, and by 6 weeks, I stopped breastfeeding as I was finding it very difficult.

I chose SMA only as everyone I know in my family generally used SMA. I also find it less smellier than Aptamil when my son burps!

He didn’t have any wind or colic as far as I know, but I did giv him Infacol and gripe from time to time as he would sometimes spit up but I think that’s pretty normal for a baby.

Now i’m Not saying your baby is hungry, but it’s worth a try just to see if there is any change. I can’t remember how much top up we would give, maybe 60-90 ml top up. Otherwise I would recommend speaking to a paediatrician as they were the ones who suggested to me to top him up as he just wouldnt stop crying.

Please feel free to ask anymore questions, I know what it’s like to hear continuous crying. Hope this helps.

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I would definitely agree that the midwives have been very pro breast feeding and not the most receptive to when I’ve mentioned formula.

My wife is definitely pro breast feeding only whereas I’m thinking that there’s no harm in trying perhaps one bottle of formula in a he evening and sticking to breasting feeds for the rest of the day.

Breast feeding has become so difficult of late for my wife, that surely this can’t be the only way. He barely feeds for more 3-6mins at a time. He ten starts crying whilst he’s feeding, becomes frustrated and then won’t want to feed again. That’s then the pattern all evening and night.

The heath visitor will be seeing us again this Friday. We’ll have our son weighed again and if he’s not meeting his weight target based on his 50th percentile weight from birth, then I’ll have a stronger argument to make to my wife as to why we should start formula.

Just soo many dilemmas and I guess there’s no one right or wrong answer, but I just to do the very best for my son and can’t bare to see him cry as much as he does.

Thank you one again for all your support and guidance. Like others who have also replied, I take great comfort in gaining an insight and knowledge which I did not have prior to joining this forum. I hope you and your family are well, and I suspect I will be asking more questions in the near future...

Best wishes

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We tried infacol and gripe water and neither worked on my girl. She would cry similar to yours was exhausting. I was breastfeeding but then went to bottle feeding so we used something called colief which worked for her. I’m not sure if you can buy a version for breastfed babies as this was added to her milk. We also did baby massage which helped.

Just wanted to say that it may not seem like it now but things will get better for you all. Hang on in there your doing a fantastic job xxx

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Thank you for your advice and support. I really does mean a lot to me. I’ve also had positive feedback from those who have used colief and I guess we may need to use this if and when we start formula/bottle feed.

Thank you once again for your words of encouragement.

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So sorry to read this as we had exactly the same issue with my littke girl it was heartbreaking and very tough going. Finally we got a really good HV and went to paediatriton and she had silent reflux and incompletely cut out dairy and soya in my diet in case she had an intolerance to the dairy in these as I am breast feeding.

We literally now have a new baby it’s unreal. She is 9 weeks now and she is so much more settied and content and myself and her dad are slightly more sane! 😂

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Thanks for your reply Raglee. I’m please to hear you and your partner have not completely lost your sanity! Lol. I guess there’s still hope for the likes of me and my wife.

Can I ask, how did the paediatrician diagnose silent reflux? Was it simply from what you described, or are there any tests that they carry out to enable a more accurate diagnosis.

In addition, how did they decide what type of foods you needed to exclude from your diet? Was this again something scientifically tested, or simply based on the symptoms you gave to the paediatrician ?

Many thanks

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Sorry meant to say an intolerance to the protein not dairy

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Sorry so late in replying it was purely based on my babies symptoms but I do know there is a test they can do for reflux

With the intolerance to dairy and soya it’s all trial and error so I cut them from my diet and saw how she got on. We had a new baby! I reintroduced a small amount and she reacted very badly again so this answered our questions. The protein in cows milk and soya is often one babies can’t handle, I hope you have some luck as it’s so so hard when you have such an unsettled baby and you can’t soothe them :(

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