Back in the greenroom, yet another member of the Sears family has been waiting. Nurse Martha Sears, wife of Dr. William Sears, has been talking with moms about concerns they have with their babies.
Dr. Phil also introduces Valerie, the mom of a 1-month-old daughter who has been crying non-stop for two weeks. After a particularly bad episode, she took the baby to the emergency room, where she was told her daughter had colic.
“They told me she was too young for medication,” says Valerie. “They just said that there was nothing that they could do because she was too young for anything.”
Dr. Phil reminds her that Dr. William Sears is there, and says, “I think he’s going to need medication just hearing this.”
“First of all, colic is a five letter word meaning the doctor probably doesn’t know. Scratch the term colic,” says Dr. Sears. “We call it the hurting baby. Your baby hurts probably from two reasons, Valerie: GER, which is Gastro-Esophageal Reflux, like adults would call heartburn, or food allergies. Those are the two most common causes. But your baby hurts. I want you to go to your doctor today, camp out in the office and say, ‘Doctor, I’m not leaving here until you find out why my baby hurts. Just don’t brush it off as colic.’ And for you right now, Valerie, two little rules of thumb. Dr. Bill’s feeding rules: Feed your baby twice as often, half as much. Secondly, keep her upright after feeding, and thirdly hold her a lot because crying simply makes reflux worse.”
Dr. Phil asks about the rhythmic bouncing that Valerie appears to be doing with her baby.
“That was my idea,” says Martha Sears. “She’s actually doing that because it’s an instant cure-all. It stops the crying ” and you notice she is quite upright here with eye-to-eye contact with mom and this nice bouncing. It settled her right down.”
“There’s another thing she needs to be sure about,” says Dr. Jim Sears. “Mom’s diet is very important if there’s breastfeeding going on. At least half of the colicky babies it’s simply because mom’s drinking or eating dairy.”
“And not just dairy. Wheat products,” adds Dr. Bob Sears. “Dairy and wheat products are the two biggest causes of colic through the breast milk.”
“The moral of the story is, Dr. Phil, there is a cause for colic. You just have to find it,” Dr. William Sears concludes.
“Do you believe that moms need to be more assertive and expressive in the pediatrician’s office in terms of saying, ‘Here’s what I know: I’m an expert on my baby. I need an answer to this question’?”
“Absolutely,” he responds. “I had a mother, one time, say ‘Doctor, I’m going to camp out in your office until you find out what’s wrong.’ I need you to take care of it. Fix it. Or tell me what I can do.’ So yes, moms need to be more assertive.”
Dr. Phil advises mothers to trust their instincts and to be there, and ask the hard questions.
“You are the first doctor,” says Dr. Sears.