Baby Colic Symptoms and Treatment
Colic usually starts when your baby is a few weeks old and the symptoms last for a few months.There is no single treatment for colic that works for every baby. Fear, frustration, or even excitement can lead to colic symptoms. When other people around the baby are worried, anxious, or depressed.Colic is inconsolable crying usually caused by digestive discomfort. Learn about symptoms and likely causes. Discover safe and natural treatment options.
What Is Colic?
The definition of colic used by researchers is: "A healthy, well-fed infant who cries for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, for more than three weeks." Unfortunately, colic is not a well-understood condition.
* Colic usually starts at about 2 weeks of age in a full-term infant (or later in a premature infant).
* Colic almost always goes away by 3 or 4 months of age.
* There is no difference in the prevalence of colic for boys and girls, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, and whether the baby is first born or not.
* Scientific studies have shown that children who had colic are no different in terms of personality, mental health, intelligence, etc., than children who never had colic.
What Causes Colic?
Despite many scientific studies, no single common cause for colic has been found. The fussiness of colic has many different causes, and that's why there is no one way to help it.
Some theories of the cause of colic include:
* Digestive woes, perhaps due to intolerance of cow's milk protein or lactose
* Reflux (heartburn due to stomach acid and milk flowing back into the esophagus)
* An immature digestive system in which the intestinal muscles are often in spasm
* Air (gas) in the intestinal tract
* Increased hormone levels that cause stomachaches or a fussy mood
* Hypersensitivity to a stimulation in the environment (sound, light, etc.)
* An intense temperament in the newborn period
* An immature nervous system
* Take note that all of these are only hypotheses, and keep in mind that you are not to blame for your baby's fussiness.
First Steps to Address Colic in Your Baby
Before looking to treat your baby's "colic," make sure he or she is thoroughly examined by her pediatrician to check for a medical reason for the crying and fussiness.
Some of the possible medical reasons for irritability in an infant include:
* an infection (for example: an ear or urinary infection)
* evidence of reflux or gastrointestinal distress
* pressure or inflammation of the brain and nervous system
* an eye problem (for example: a scratch or increased pressure)
* an abnormality of the rhythm of the heart
* a bone fracture
* a hernia
* a hair wrapped around a finger or toe'
A Treating Baby's
Colic Based on your baby's needs, your pediatrician can help you devise a strategy to try to help him or her calm down. This usually means trying one intervention at a time to see if it helps and, if it doesn't in a few days, moving on to another one.
* Change from one cow's milk formula to another.
* Change from a cow's milk formula to a soy formula.
* Change from a regular formula to a "predigested," hypoallergenic formula.
* Add Lactase to the formula.
* Avoid eating certain foods (such as caffeine, milk, certain vegetables) and taking herbal supplements if you are breastfeeding.
* Change the type of nipples on your baby's bottle, use bottles with plastic liners, and burp your baby frequently to decrease air swallowing during feedings.
* If bottle feeding, try to limit milk intake, and if that doesn't work, avoid limiting milk intake. * If your baby is spitting up, keep him or her upright after feeds.
* Swaddle your baby.
* Try more time in a front baby carrier (the kind you wear over your chest).
* Take your baby for a ride in the car (but not when you are sleepy!).
* Put your baby in the car seat on or near the dishwasher or dryer (be careful the seat doesn't vibrate and fall off!).
* Use "white noise" (such as static on the radio or the vacuum cleaner), classical music, or a "heartbeat tape" next to the crib. Try infant massage.
* Put a warm water bottle on your baby's belly.
* Have him or her suck on a pacifier.
* Soak baby in a warm bath.
* Try an infant swing.
* Increase or decrease the amount of stimulation in the environment.
* Anti-reflux medicines, if reflux is suspected, may cut down on acid production and/or help to move the milk downstream.
* Try giving the baby some herbal tea (e.g., chamomile, mint, fennel, verbena, but NOT star anise, which can be toxic). Use anti-gas drops
* Try giving the baby "gripe water," but check the ingredients first. Most contain only herbs, but some from Europe may have alcohol or even phenobarbital, which, of course, you should avoid.
* Although there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of homeopathic drops for colic, some parents report they have helped their colicky baby.
NOTE: Make sure to check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any medication, including over the counter drugs, herbs, and supplements.