Colic affects many babies and results in sleepless nights for the parents, as well as the affected baby. Parents often find the uncontrollable, persistent crying traumatic. No parent wants his or her child to be in pain and the high-pitched crying for between three hours and three days can be very distressing. The baby may draw up his knees or arch his back and neck, showing abdominal pain or discomfort that appears to have no apparent cause.
Babies generally experience colic between the first two weeks after birth until about three months of age. Colic is an unexplainable and uncontrollable crying for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for three or more weeks. Babies will usually cry the most in the afternoon and evening hours. While it is not a disease, colic is distressing for both the baby and the parents.
Doctors do not know for sure what causes colic, but the following suggestions are commonly accepted:
An immature digestive or nervous system;
Air in the stomach and digestive tract from crying or feeding;
Acid reflux; and
The symptoms for colic can vary from baby to baby, but include:
Trapped stomach gas;
Acute gastric and intestinal pain;
Intense and prolonged periods of crying;
Sleeplessness and exhaustion (for both parents and babies); and
Fussiness or irritability.
There are many natural and home remedies that can help soothe your fractious infant and can alleviate the agony caused by a colicky baby. Try a few of these remedies to see which ones help your child.
Newborn babies have an immature digestive system that has not processed food and the gastrointestinal system develops muscles to move food efficiently through the digestive tract during the first few months of life. Infants nervous systems are also immature, so it is possible for babies to become overloaded with unfamiliar sights and sounds. This is why a baby will rarely settle in a strange environment, compared to their familiar cot.
Chiropractors always work on the nervous system, providing clear passages for the nerves to work properly. The stress of birth, a prolonged labour, or tools used during labour or a caesarian section, such as forceps, can create minor misalignments in your baby’s spine, which connects every nerve to the organs in the body and the brain. Even if you cannot tell your baby has problems, a trained and qualified chiropractor can help your baby with colic. In one clinical study, colicky babies that received chiropractic care experienced 80 per cent improvement within a few days, while babies that received no chiropractic treatment experienced longer bouts of colic. Babies who had received a series of gentle chiropractic treatments were noticeably less likely to experience colic in the future.
Chiropractors will use light finger-tip pressure on a baby and minor adjustments can make a big difference to how your baby’s body functions. Chiropractic care is a completely safe and natural treatment that will help your baby to recover from colic and could prevent future bouts.
Herbs and Oils
Fennel, peppermint, chamomile, ginger, aloe, blackthorn, caraway, and lemon balm are popular home remedies for babies suffering from colic. You can often find these herbs as oil extracts, so it is easier to give to your baby. A few drops of oil such as peppermint oil can aid digestion, provide gas relief and help your baby to get to sleep.
Gently massaging your baby’s back or tummy could help your baby to recover from colic quicker. Massage may help to treat the cause of colic, by helping to get the bowels moving, releasing gas, and reducing stomach cramping.
Regularly burping your baby before, after, and during feedings will reduce the amount of air going to the stomach or intestines of your baby. As you are feeding your baby, you should stop every few minutes to burp your baby for a minute or two.
Hot Water Bottle
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel may provide comfort to your baby. Place the hot water bottle next to your baby’s tummy, as the warmth may help soothe your baby’s colic.
Strange though it sounds, some parents have found that keeping a fish tank in the baby’s room provides a continuous soothing sound as bubbles rise to the top of the water through the filter. This can help your baby to relax and reduce the severity of colic.
Avoiding Certain Foods
Breastfeeding mothers can avoid certain foods that may increase the likelihood of colic for your baby. Foods that commonly produce gas in adults, such as cruciferous vegetables, contain trace elements that can pass via the breast milk to the baby and cause gas and abdominal bloating. Lactating mothers may like to avoid dairy products, chocolate, caffeine, …