Colic Relief

What is colic and is there a colic cure?

Does your baby cry inconsolably for hours on end? She’s fed, has a clean diaper, not ill, but won’t stop crying? As many as one out of four babies suffers from colic. If you believe your baby is one of them, there are steps you can take to help save your sanity and provide comfort to your baby.

Every baby cries, as they have limited means of communicating their needs. But some babies cry for extended periods, even well fed, healthy babies. Baby colic is characterized by inconsolable crying that lasts for hours, without any obvious reason. Generally, colic begins in the first couple weeks of a baby’s life and may continue until the third or fourth month and often goes away quite abruptly. Many parents report that the crying bouts occur at about the same time of day, late afternoon to early evening. Some babies experience colic at night time and their colic is the cause of sleepless nights for baby and parents. Therefore, it is helpful to remember that colic does end and is not ever-lasting, it just feels like it is.

The first thing to do is to rule out any other possible causes. keep track of crying bouts and consult your pediatrician to help identify the cause. Gastric reflux or allergies may be the culprit in some cases, but the majority of colicky babies are perfectly healthy and thriving. If baby is well fed and otherwise healthy and cries regularly for more than three hours at a time, you may have a colicky baby. Although colic is more prevalent among bottle fed babies, breast fed babies may suffer, as well. In breast fed babies, the mother’s diet may affect symptoms and minor changes may prove effective. Breast feeding mothers of colicky babies are advised to limit or eliminate dairy from their diet to observe its effects on baby. As newborn’s digestive system is still maturing, it may not be able to process dairy process the proteins that pass through breast milk, causing abdominal gas that can be extreme painful. Some believe colic is not treatable and must simply be endured.

For anyone that has lived with a colicky baby, simply letting baby grow out of the colicky stage is not an option. Prescription drugs such as simethicone (brand names: Phazyme; Flatulex; Mylicon; Gas-X; Mylanta Gas) and dicyclomine (brand names: Bentyl, Byclomine, Dibent, Di-Spaz, Dilomine) have very limited success, if any at all. The side effects of prescription drugs on tiny bodies must be carefully considered before administering any prescription drug. Probiotics (live microorganisms containing bacteria or yeast) have yielded results for some babies. It is useful to point out that breast milk contains natural probiotics that accounts for healthy gut flora, limiting the occurrence of colic.

Some babies respond well to music or white noise. Carrying baby around in a sling or baby carrier is very comforting and a great bonding experience for baby and parent. Take baby for a walk – this will help you relieve stress, as well. If your baby’s pain is the result of abdominal gas or cramps, baby massage may be very soothing to both baby and parents; try rubbing baby’s belly with a little massage oil in a clockwise motion. Try placing baby face down across your lap and patting her back. There are many good books and DVD’s that provide great instructions on baby massage and they may prove to be lifesavers for parents of colicky babies. Many parents continue to administer baby massages long after baby grows out of the colicky stage.

Natural alternative remedies such as gripe water is a time tested remedy for colic, teething pain and abdominal gas. Its main ingredients are usually fennel, dill, anise, licorice, ginger, chamomile and other herbs that have alleviate digestive problems in babies, as well as adults. Burping baby after every meal, and even during feeding, may be helpful. Some parents find baby swaddling to be an effective solution. Some infants self soothe by sucking on baby pacifiers. Being rocked may also be comforting to a colicky baby. Parents may try placing infant on its side or holding baby upright to determine the most comfortable position for a baby in the grips of colic. Many parents find that what works for one baby may not work for another. Often times, parents find a colic cure by trying different measures and closely observing patterns.

If you are the parent of a colicky baby, you may agree that watching your precious little one wriggle and shriek is an extremely painful experience that often leaves you feeling helpless and hopeless. You may even end up blaming yourself, wandering what you could have done differently to prevent this misery. It is useful to remember that colic affects babies around the world and is not related to bad parenting. You must resist the urge to blame yourself. Recruit patient, understanding adults that can take over when you are at your wit’s end. Lots of deep breathing can be helpful during times of extreme stress.

 

1 Comment

  1. I have twins, and gripe water saved our lives! I tried a few different ones, but the Wellements brand of gripe water I bought from http://www.babyecotrends.com was the best one I tried–and believe me I tried many!! My babies were preemies and stuggled with acid reflux, which the Wellements gripe water was a lifesaver for as well!!

    Comment by Sara — March 8, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

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