How to Treat Colic
Colic is a condition where a baby excessively cries and is irritable and inconsolable. Crying can happen repeatedly at any time of the day, but it is most exhausting when it occurs at night. Despite holding the baby with a gentle rocking motion, the crying cannot be soothed. Feeding may not give relief either.
A high-pitched cry or scream is one of the signs that your baby may have colic. Also, according to doctors, the episodes of excessive crying usually peak at the time when the baby is around six weeks of age. Colic is a problem not only for an infant, but for the parents or caregivers as well. This could affect the overall quality of life of the family.
Parents may feel exhausted, frustrated and incompetent. Their feelings may lead to loss of patience and less interaction with the baby. The frequency of breastfeeding may be affected in some cases.
How to Help Your Infant
According to a study, restriction of eggs, milk products, wheat and nuts in the mother's diet can be beneficial. This applies to breast-fed babies with colic.
Here are some other tips:
- Respond immediately to crying
- Gentle rocking motions while carrying the baby
- Holding the baby in football position
- Using of a pacifier
- Burping the baby
- Swaddling the baby
- Using an infant carrier such as a baby wrap or baby sling
- Setting up a white noise background player
- Applying pressure on the baby's abdomen while being held
- Going for a walk while the baby is on the stroller
- Taking a quick drive while the baby is in the car seat
Milk Test for the Baby
See if your baby's condition can be improved by eliminating cow's milk in formula-fed babies. One study found out that soy-based formula provides therapeutic effects on colic symptoms.
Some colic pain can also be associated with food allergies. These cases may benefit from infant formulas with partially hydrolyzed whey protein or low lactose content. This type of formula has shown an effect of reducing crying episodes.
You may have read over the internet that infant massage can do good with colic. Unfortunately, studies show that it does not cause any improvement in the signs and symptoms of infant colic. Even manipulations of the spine by chiropractors are not recommended to be an optional treatment for colic pain.
Even though herbal teas and medication can have healing benefits, doctors point out to be cautious when taking herbal medications. There is a possibility that this could interfere with feeding and the dosage and strength of each formulation may not be standard, which makes it risky for everyday use.
Just like any other medication, parents should watch out adverse effects including, but not limited to, increased sleeping time, vomiting, constipation and a decrease in food intake.
Probiotics are said to be promising in terms of treatment for infantile colic. However, identifying which strains are beneficial is important.
A study has found that milk formula enriched with alpha-lactalbumin and supplemented with probiotics has shown a positive effect. Gastrointestinal side effects of feeding are reduced, as well as the frequency of irritability and agitation. However, there are no changes in the duration of crying.
Another strain of probiotic, lactobacillus reuteri, is found to be effective in treating infant colic because of its ability to increase the number of anti-inflammatory proteins. Here's what you should know about this particular strain:
- It is a probiotic that grows in the human gut.
- It has relieved colic pain in breastfed babies in just one week of treatment.
- The crying time was cut in half.
Peppermint oil, as described by Michael Greger M.D, has a role in reducing intestinal spasms for adults. Given the effectiveness of peppermint oil, he explored the use of this for colic. As a result, he found it helped in minimizing attacks of colic and the duration of crying per episode. That is a good outcome and can be something to consider as an action during episodes of colic for your baby.
However, similar to herbal teas, the use of peppermint oil on babies comes with warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you have someone you can call for help, do not hesitate to do so. It will not hurt either you or the baby. Pushing yourself to your limit may leave you burned out. It might even cause unfavorable decisions like shouting at the baby or hurting him or her because of mixed emotions. Make sure that when you take your break, you are in another room or any place away from the baby. An area where you cannot hear the baby crying is the best spot.
Do not feel bad for leaving your baby for a while. It is the best way to keep yourself in a sound mind. Also, use it as an opportunity to recharge so that when you get back, you will have the energy to take care of him or her again the best you can.