Colic is one of the many challenges some newborn babies (and their parents) tend to experience.
What is colic? Colic is characterized by constant crying and usually starts around the first two weeks of life and can last a number of months. The baby’s knees are often drawn in, arms curled, screaming, a bloated/hard stomach, pain in the intestinal tract and acute irritability. Colicky crying can last for hours and because of this, aerophagia, the swallowing of air occurs. A vicious cycle then ensues – aerophagia causes distention of the bowels which in turn creates more pain, which creates more crying, causing more air to be swallowed and so on and so forth.
Why does colic start? It’s important to find out why your baby is experiencing colic and ensure there is no serious underlying medical issue. There are many theories about why colic starts – lack of intestinal flora, lactose intolerance, something Mom has eaten if she is breastfeeding, reaction to a formula and immature digestive tracts are possible reasons. It’s interesting to note that breastfed babies have lower incidences of colic, possibly because breastmilk is more easily digested and absorbed.
Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria that are found in the small and large intestine. Some colicky babies lack the appropriate amount. Probiotics can be found in a supplement form. Many pediatricians, Naturopaths and Nutritionists suggest them. Choose an infant strain that is human micro flora and that contain a bifidus combination. Probiotics are safe and can be used daily. There have been studies done to prove their effectiveness and the results are positive!
Many parents will attest that a vertebral subluxation in the spine (affecting the way the nervous system controls bowel function) is usually the cause of colic. Be sure to seek treatment from an experienced Chiropractor.
Certain foods can irritate a baby’s already delicate and quickly growing digestive system. Its important for Mom’s to keep track of their foods to help find those trigger foods. The following have been known to irritate baby’s delicate tummy: garlic, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, yeast and sugar, wheat, dairy products, melons, eggs, corn, oranges, chocolate, alcohol and coffee.
There are many safe herbs for nursing Moms and babies. As a general rule, herbs administered to babies should be one-third the dose for adults. Always seek advice for your health care practitioner.
* Fennel tea (diluted) is soothing and calming for baby’s digestive system.
* Chamomile tea also soothes and relaxes – baby’s tummy and tired, sleep deprived parents.
* If Mom is breastfeeding she can also drink a few cups of tea throughout the day of any of the above mentioned herbs.If Mom is breastfeeding she can also drink a few cups of tea throughout the day of any of the above mentioned herbs.
There are many Homeopathic Remedies that are useful for helping with the symptoms of colic. An experienced Homeopath can help you find out which ones are best suited for your baby.
* Magnesia phosphorica
A colicky baby is not an easy transition to parenthood! Its very crucial that parents receive a lot of outside support and practice self care during this stage in their baby’s life – whether it be a trusted friend or relative to watch the baby so Mom and Dad can get some fresh air or hiring the help of a Doula to have a break or make a light meal, watch and play with other children or rock the baby. This stage will pass and many happy days with your baby are just around the corner!