It’s the dreaded C-word that most parents fear. Colic is a difficult condition for both babies and parents to deal with, primarily because it’s difficult to diagnose and impossible to cure in a one-stop way. It’s the condition that has many parents leaning heavily on their medical aid because it may require many visits to the pediatrician before it’s cured… or simply goes away.
What is colic?
Colic is a condition in which your baby becomes irritable and cries continuously for more than three hours per day, more than three days per week, for up to three weeks. The condition can start when your baby is two weeks old (a bit later for preemies) and last until she’s about three or four months old. There’s no known single cause for colic, and it’s described as general “fussiness”. There are theories about what causes colic and many parents and doctors have put it down to:
- digestive trouble
- reflux or heartburn
- gas in the intestines
- an immature digestive system with crampy muscles
- high hormone levels that cause painful stomach ache
- environmental over stimulation (sound, light, heat, etc.)
- an as-yet underdeveloped nervous system
How to treat colic
As there are few certain causes of colic, it’s difficult to diagnose and treat, and requires a careful process of elimination to get to the source of the trouble. Your pediatrician should rule out infectionsgastrointestinal distress inflammation of the brain or nervous system (which can cause painful pressure in the body) eye problems arrhythmia in the heartbone fractures or hernias.
Once other conditions have been ruled out, try substituting cow’s milk formula with another type, like soy-based formula. Use a lactose additive or try a hypoallergenic formula. If you are still breastfeeding, change your diet to exclude caffeine, milk, and certain vegetables, or take herbal supplements. Make certain behavioral changes like trying infant massage using a front baby carrier so that you’re facing your baby try a different type of pacifier increase decrease the amount of environmental stimulation.
Speak to your pediatrician about the best possible solutions to colic and work with him until you find the right one, or until the colic resolves itself over time.
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