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Doctor’s Take

Moms tend to worry if their babies skip a day, says Schechter. “It doesn’t bother us unless the stool is pebbly or dry.”

Schechter addresses constipation first with education, by explaining to parents what’s normal. As long as baby’s stools are soft and don’t cause discomfort when being passed, the child is probably not constipated, even if the baby goes only once a week.

But if your baby’s bowel movements are hard and dry, she suggests mixing up baby’s diet by cutting back on bananas and adding more fruit juice or baby prunes. “We wouldn’t use medication as a first-line treatment,” she says.

Colic: Moms’ Advice

The cause of colic is still somewhat of a mystery. While sometimes blamed on gas or stomach upset, colic refers to unexplained crying that goes on for long periods of time.

Colic is frustrating -- and nerve jangling -- to most parents, but veteran mothers assure new moms that the screaming typically stops at some point in the fourth month of life. In the meantime, moms advise, try keeping your little one on the move. Walk your baby. Use the baby swing. And take your baby for car rides.

One mother, who said she did laps around her neighborhood with her son, urges moms of colicky kids to take personal time outs. “If you need to put your little one down for five or 10 minutes just to take a break from the crying, don't feel bad,” she says. “It's hard work and even a five minute break for you in another room can help you get the energy to go back and try again.”

Doctor’s Take

Barton Schmitt, professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and author of Pediatric Telephone Protocols and the KidsDoc Symptom Checker App for the iPhone, recommends Dr. Harvey Karp’s Five S’s approach to colic. Karp, the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, says swaddling, side/stomach positioning in your arms, shushing loudly, swinging, and sucking on a pacifier can often soothe the savage crier.

“What’s the most important S?” Schmitt asks. “Swaddling. Every parent needs to know how to swaddle their baby. The second most important S: shushing.” By mimicking the environment of the uterus, he says, you are helping your baby with the transition from the womb to the world.

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