Colic is a condition where there are repeated bouts of excessive crying in a baby who is otherwise healthy and thriving. Colic is common and distressing. However, it usually goes away by the age of 3-4 months. Ways that may help to ease colic in some cases, and some tips on how to cope, are given below.
It is natural to try and soothe a crying baby. Holding a baby through the crying episode may help to soothe. Close contact with either one of the parents will comfort your baby. Also, holding your baby upwards, touching his stomach to your body, will warm him up and may reduce the pain. A very useful tip when the mother is breastfeeding: it is best to your partner to hold the baby while crying, as babies usually can smell mother’s milk and will not stop crying until breastfed (and again, and again.) If the father is holding the baby, it will be much easier for the little one to be soothed.
Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed!
Babies have poor digestion system, which may lead to upset tummies and colic in the early days. Breastfeeding is best for a colicky baby. Not just because it is most easily digested. Bottle-fed babies take air while sucking from the bottle, which is another reason for colic. The air is “stored” in the babies’ gut and is causing them discomfort. Juts try to avoid gas-causing foods or those which are more difficult digested, while breastfeeding – such as leeks, cabbage, beans, and aubergines.
Could it be cow’s milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance?
A sensitivity to cow's milk or to other foods is one theory for colic. Studies have shown that some babies cry less if cow's milk is stopped. This does not occur in most babies with colic. However, if colic is severe it may be worth trying a 'hypoallergenic' diet for one week.
If the baby is breastfed, this means mum having no milk or other dairy products as part of the cow's milk can get into breast milk. Also, no eggs, wheat, or nuts.
If the baby is bottle fed, this means changing from a formula based on cow's milk to a 'hypoallergenic' formula.
If the colic persist after a cow’s milk free diet for a week, there is no point continuing. Just go back to a normal diet for the breastfeeding mother, or baby’s usual formula.
Another theory is that lactose (a sugar in milk) causes or aggravates colic in some babies. You may try and give your baby Probiotics with lactase. Lactase is an enzyme which breaks down lactose in the gut. If there is an improvement then you may with to continue.
Apply gentle pressure on the tummy by massaging it clockwise. This massage technique will help digestion and usually eases colic. You could also massage your baby’s back, by placing your right hand on the baby’s neck and then moving it gently towards his bottom, followed by the same movement with the other hand. Do this for a couple of minutes. This may not help with colic, but will generally sooth you baby.
Please refer to our homeopathy section for further information.
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