Abdominal Colic (Infants)
Parenting the babies inconsolably crying many times at odd hours is the most stressful challenge, the feel of not being able to help or comfort own baby is the most depressing feeling for a mother.
So for new mothers, if your baby is a cry baby, don’t blame yourself that you must have mishandled the baby or you are not able to fill its stomach, be sure you haven’t done any though. Abdominal colic in infants or Infantile colic is most common in the first few weeks to four months in an infant’s life.
Generally paediatricians use the ‘Rule of Three’ to diagnose colic i.e. crying for more than three hours a day for more than three days of week for more than three weeks between the ages of two weeks and four months. It often disappears when the baby is 3-4 months old, but in some case may last up to one year. This arises as the baby has severe abdominal pain
Mostly the time to cry for a colic baby is the evening or late night, and the cry is far more high pitched which you can expect from a newly born one. But bear it with calmness and do not abuse the little one or shake it severely as this can give baby a trauma called shaken baby syndrome.
The way to identify that baby is colic in nature, the baby may behave in following way even after being healthy and well-fed.
- Baby cries so furiously and intensely that its face turns to be red and flushed. Crying happens mostly at the same time everyday and nothing doing provide him with comfort.
- Baby sleeps at irregular times and suddenly wakes up crying.
- Feeding may be interrupted with crying episodes, however the daily intake is not reduced.
- Baby has tightened abdominal muscles but swollen belly with clenched fist, legs curled up.
- Some babies may only show symptoms of restlessness and not high pitch crying.
The exact cause of colic is not known, however based upon lot of evidences it can be concluded that it occurs in different ways in different babies.
- Digestive system of newly born in not matured, gastrointestinal system is at learning stage and thus food is not efficiently moved through digestive tract also due to lack of probiotics the process is delayed.
- The food taken by lactating mothers may contain chemicals and allergens, which may in turn leads to colic discomfort to baby. The gas producing food taken by mother may pass to the baby and causes gas and bloating.
- While feeding or crying infants also swallow air which increases gas and bloating, which further adds to their discomfort.
- Increased hormone levels that causes stomach aches.
- Sensitivity to the environment like light, sound etc.
- An immature nervous system.
- Birth complications may also lead to colic babies as more stressful deliveries can be linked to more crying.
Though there are not many ways to treat for colic, hit and trial method is the option available as to which methods worked.
- Just holding works with some babies.
- Feeding may also help at times.
- Swaddling a baby wrapped in blanket.
- Lactating mothers can subsidise the abdominal colic by avoiding tea, coffee, spicy food and alcohol.
- Make sure the baby has burped after feeding.
- Keeping the baby in motion by taking him for a walk or drive may also help.
- A warm bath or gentle massage.
- Homeopathic medicine can be an excellent choice as this is allergen free with no side effect.
- Gripe water for colic calmness available on pharmacies can be given, it works good against bloating, stomach cramps, hiccups, gas problems. But get it approved from paediatrician.
- Simeticone drops reduces the amount of trapped wind and makes burping or passing wind easier for the baby.
- Lactase drops contains enzymes that breaks down milk sugar lactose into glucose and galactose.
The method tried for the baby must be in knowledge of the doctor.
There are other few therapies which are in strict ‘No’ category.
Dicyclomine –a medication used in stomach cramp, it has been found that this causes breathing difficulties, weakening of muscles, loss of consciousness in infants.
Star anise tea which is popular for the treatment of colic is toxic and bad for baby’s health.
However, rather than assuming on own and starting with the abdominal colic treatment the baby should be thoroughly examined by paediatrician to check with any other medical reason as some other reasons for baby’s crying and fussiness may be:
- Infection anywhere in body.
- A hernia
- Pressure or inflammation of the brain and nervous system.
- A gastrointestinal distress.
As abdominal colic is hard for parents, the same is for the babies too rather even more as he doesn’t know any other way express his problem or distress. As older people say parenting is the toughest task of life, the parents handling colic babies may find it really is.
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