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By Planning Family


Colic is a non-scientific term used to describe inconsolable crying or screaming stemming from tummy pain of an otherwise healthy infant. It usually starts when baby is around 3 weeks old, peaks when baby is about 6 weeks and ends when baby turns 3 months old. Colic can be a traumatic time for the whole family.

Colic is not a bad word..

• Colic is not your fault. Despite your efforts you can at the most ease the discomfort for a while but not make the pains vanish for good.

• A colicky baby doesn't mean baby has health issues.

• Colic doesn't mean baby is going to have a difficult personality later on.

• Colic doesn't mean you as a parent are incompetent and failing in your love and care.

• Colic is not damaging to the baby in the short or long run.

• Colic in most instances will end by 12 weeks.

Colicky facts..

• Colic may last for hours and hours and mostly happens in the evenings.

• Baby tends to draw up his knees and passes wind often.

• Although the crying spells are distressing, in all other respects baby is thriving normally.

• One theory suggests that colic is triggered by sensitivity to a particular food.

• A more substantial find suggests that colic is a result of baby's immature nervous system being on an overdrive which would explain why it seems to happen in the evening when both mother and baby are both most tired and stressed.

• Though for most babies colic subsides after the third month, some babies go on to suffer from it at 4, 5 or 6 months.

• In a breastfed baby colic can be caused by poor positioning leading to what is termed temporary lactose overload. The break down in sugar is not complete and will ferment in the bowel causing gas. This is the likely situation if baby's poo is green, watery with a lot of wind, both bottom and top. The solution is to offer more fat-rich hindmilk - increase the time on the breast to ensure baby gets the hindmilk.

• Some babies swallow more air when they feed and still others do not burp well enough.

• Abdominal discomfort leads to even more swallowed air, unfortunately.

Are Wind and Colic the same?

• Wind means baby has swallowed some air which is now trapped in his tummy or digestive system causing him pain. Doctors themselves are not sure why colic occurs but they partly attribute it to painful gut contractions caused by trapped wind; in fact not much is known about colic and some experts choose to refute its existence.

• Wind is not the cause of colic although a screaming baby would undoubtedly swallow a lot of air - this can worsen the problem since air gets trapped. The trapped air in the intestine loops intensifies the problem during spasm and only gets better after a good burp.

• Wind can be relieved by getting your baby to bring up the wind and burp. Colic being not as straightforward has to run its course of hours of incessant crying and screaming for weeks at end.

Coping strategies with a Colicky baby

• One theory hinges on colic being caused by wind build-up. Try giving your baby an anti-wind treatment such as gripe water.

• Burp your baby. Rest your baby over your shoulder with belly flat against you or sit him down on your lap and pat and rub her back until a burp comes out. This way baby experiences gentle pressure on her tummy and relieve some of the tummy pain. Burp your baby mid-way during a feed if he seems uncomfortable. Keep a cloth handy as along with the burp some squirts of milk may be expelled.

• Breastfeeding mothers should try eliminating certain foods such as chocolate, cabbage, broccoli, beans and milk products etc. Give this a try.

• Get help with your latch on technique as poor latching is the number one cause of windy babies.

• For bottle fed babies check with your doctor if a change in formula might help. Try different teats and bottles. Tilt the bottle and ensure the teat is filled with milk. Seat baby in a more upright position.

• Try and avoid evening stress by giving baby an evening bath or a massage in the day or by going for a walk together.

• Have proper meals and naps yourself to help build your own energy level.

• Reduce your chores or activities and in turn reduce your frustration level as these get easily transmitted to your baby.

• Make sure your movements are relaxed and slow as these vibrations can be caught on by your baby.

Tips to try with your crying child..

Since the cause isn't clear, preventive measures are hard to find. If issues like hunger, dirty nappies are not the cause try these measures to prevent you from losing your mind:

• Snuggle baby close to your body; try different holds to see which one best suits.

• Move while holding him close either by bouncing or swaying gently.

• Play music. Experiment here again coz different babies take on to different type of music.

• Try white noise. Place him by a washing machine, dryer or vacuum cleaner.

• Let him suck your clean finger or his thumb or fingers.

• Have a bath

• Let someone else handle him. Different vibes sometimes work wonders. New smell, face or touch may distract him from crying.

• Give him a massage. Lie him down on a warm towel in a warm room and stroke his body with gentle and firm strokes using warm oiled hands.

• Change his nappy and clothes - maybe the familiar changing routine may just work at quieting him down.

• Lie him down. Maybe that's all he wants, to be put down.

• Use a baby sling and carry him around while you go about your chores.

• Take a walk outside to give her a change of temperature, atmosphere and noise.

• Go for a drive, but only as a last resort as babies tend to become accustomed to this rather easily.

• Get practical help. Make sure that somehow you get some time out for yourself, everyday if possible even if its just for 10 minutes

• Try all the methods, tricks and ideas you can think of to soothe your baby. Something may just work even if it's just for few minutes. Short relief is better than no relief.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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