What are the Symptoms of Colic?
It is not uncommon for newborn babies to go through periods when they appear abnormally irritable or seemingly cry for no reason. However, if you suspect your baby is suffering from colic, you may look for the following symptoms: •cries vigorously for long periods, despite efforts to console •symptoms occur around the same time each day or night, often after meal times, and usually ending as abruptly as they began •shows signs of gas discomfort and abdominal bloating
•has a hard, distended stomach, with knees pulled to the chest, clenched fists, flailing arms and legs, and an arched back •experiences frequent sleeplessness, irritability and fussiness In most cases, colic is the worst pain a baby has thus experienced. It is usually manifested as an acute abdominal pain with intense spasmodic cramping, but since colicky babies cannot describe exactly what distresses them, it is hard for parents to know the precise cause of their distress. Infantile colic is most common in the first few weeks to four months of an infant's life; rarely does it endure past six months of age. Pediatricians often use the "Rule of Three" to diagnose colic: "A baby that cries for three or more hours per day, at least three times per week, within a three month period". Wess, et al., "Paroxysmas fussing in infancy." Pediatrics 1984:74:998. About 25 percent of babies worldwide meet the official "Rule of Threes" criteria for medical diagnosis of colic. What Causes Infants to become Colicky?
There is no single consistent cause for colic that experts all agree upon. However, a lot of evidence suggests that colic may be caused in different ways in different babies. There appear to be several contributing factors that, when occurring in combination, are likely to result in colic pain and discomfort: •Newborns have an immature digestive system that has never processed food. The gastrointestinal system is literally just learning to function. Muscles that support digestion have not developed the proper rhythm for moving food efficiently thought the digestive tract. Furthermore, newborns lack the benevolent bacterial flora (probiotics) that develop over time to aid digestion. This explains why almost all infants outgrow colic within the first six months •Certain foods eaten by lactating mothers contain volatile chemicals and allergens that in a small percentage of infants result in colic discomfort and digestive upset. Through lactation, trace elements of cruciferous vegetables and other gas producing foods may be passed via breast milk to baby and cause gas and bloating. •Infants often swallow air while feeding or during strenuous crying, which increases gas and bloating, further adding to their discomfort. Since infants nervous systems are so immature, it is possible for them to get overloaded with unfamiliar sights and sounds. Infants that are easily overloaded often experience more severe colic, fussiness, and difficulty sleeping later in the day or at night. In general, the more activity (errands, visitors, T.V., phones, etc.) in baby's day, the higher the chances of baby becoming colicky and fussy. What Treatment Options are Available to Relieve Baby Colic?
Colic, and the months of distress and sleeplessness that it brings to both infants and parents, can leave you feeling frantic, frustrated, worried, exhausted, confused, guilty and inadequate. Foremost, it is essential to build and maintain a loving bond with your infant. If your baby experiences colic that does not appear to dissipate, you will probably be...