The "Rule Of Threes."
When infants cry for three or more hours a day at least three days a week for three weeks or more, it could be colic.
Colic generally begins at 2 to 3 weeks; it is unusual after 3 months.
WHAT IS COLIC?
The cause of colic is unknown. Researchers have explored a number of possibilities, including allergies, lactose intolerance, changes in the normal bacteria found in the digestive system, a digestive system that hasn't fully developed, anxious parents, and differences in the way a baby is fed or comforted. Yet it's still unclear why some babies have colic and others don't. I like to agree with the explanation that the first three months after birth is just another “trimester”. At birth your newborn's digestive system is still very immature and It will take about another three months for the digestive system to adjust to the circumstances outside the womb. Fussing and crying is normal for infants, and a fussy baby doesn't necessarily have colic.
In an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby, signs of colic include:
- Predictable crying episodes.
- Intense or inconsolable crying.
- Crying that occurs for no apparent reason.
- Posture changes. Curled up legs, clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles.
- It usually starts a few weeks after birth and often improves by age 3 months. By ages 4 to 5 months, the majority of babies with colic have improved.
What to do:
- Get a good support system. You are going to need the help.
- Take your baby for a good check up by a medical practitioner in order to rule out physical causes for the condition.
- Breastfeeding mothers could try a few adjustments to their diet. Problem foods may include: Alcohol, chocolate, spices, cabbage, onion, garlic, peppers, strawberries, oranges, grapes, eggs, wheat, and coffee.
- There are several homoeopathic remedies to relax the intestinal muscles and to help with excessive gas and acidity.
- Probiotics to supplement the friendly flora in the gut may help with the digestive process.
- Colic babies like to suck in order to relax. Offer a pacifier or read the section about cluster feeding.
Often a fussy, hungry and irritable baby in the evenings is mistaken for a colicky baby. To allow your baby to cluster feed between 18h00 and 22h00 might just solve your problem. If I could turn the clock back a couple of years, I would have done things so much different. I would make sure that I prepare myself, my household and my family to allow for a few hours of exclusive feeding time with my fussy, needy baby. Another point I want to make is: Your baby’s need for more frequent feeds is not a sign that your milk is not sufficient or that your milk is too “weak”. We do know that cluster feeding is just nature’s way of increasing your milk supply during times your baby needs it, but it is not a sign that you should switch to bottle feeding or give extra feeds.
When to worry
- When you start feeling overwhelmed and you are losing control. Don’t shake the baby. Rather put the screaming baby down safely and leave the room for a few minutes. Phone somebody you can trust and go back when you feel in control.
- Watch out for symptoms that could indicate a more serious medical condition like projectile vomiting, diarrhea, fever, poor weight gain or weight loss, lethargy.
THE HOMOEOPATHIC APPROACH
If we understand the stages through which a new born baby’s digestive system develops, then it is easier to stay calm when baby has reflux, gas, diarrhea and some discomfort. Crying is your baby’s only way of telling you something is bothering him. It does not always mean he is experiencing serious discomfort. Check first to see if he is too cool or warm, hungry, gassy, or tired, or if he needs a diaper change.
Colic improves on its own, often by age 3 months. Unfortunately, there are no proven treatments that consistently help every baby, but a visit to your local homoeopathic clinic will be very beneficial to yourself and your baby.
The practitioner will work out a formulation for gas and cramp relief, as well as something to calm the tummy nerves.
If you want to look around in your health shop or pharmacy for a homoeopathic remedy, make sure some of the following simplexes are in it:
Gas and cramp relief
- Carbo vegetabilis is indicated for flatulence, and burning crampy, stomach pain.
- Magnesium Phosphoricum is used to treat abdominal bloating and flatulent colic, stomach cramps
- Nux-vomica is indicated for flatulence, symptoms that are associated with mental strain and rritability.
- Arnica montana relieves stomach pain and abdominal discomfort associated with loose stools and aversion to touch.
- Calendula officinalis quietens apparent hunger in a baby who has just nursed.
- Chamomilla is indicated for painful teething, regurgitation of food, abdominal distension and colic accompanied by loose stools.
Calming the tummy nerves
- Banisteropsis caapi relieves nervous hypersensitivity.
- Cuprum aceticum helps treat spasmodic pains in stomach and abdomen.
- Magnesium phosphoricum has anti-spasmodic and analgesic action on all muscular tissue and treats twitches, and spasmodic, colicky pain.
- Zincum metallicum acts on the central nervous system to treat muscular twitches, difficult teething, hiccough and flatulent colic.
Digestive Enzymes. Dygestive Enzymes are normally a non-animal broad spectrum formulae of digestive enzymes aiding in the digestive processes in the gut.
Please remember that the colicky stage will pass and you can only do your best. Don’t judge yourself because you are not coping well. Your next challenge is soon to come. In our next talk, we shall discuss teething.
- www.livestrong.com › Diseases and Conditions
- Mayo Clinic Staff
- Natura Website - http://www.comedhealth.co.za/
- The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby’s First Year, Alice Callahan, PhD, published in August 2015 by Johns Hopkins Press