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Colic in babies
Is your baby crying for long periods of time even though they’ve been fed, bathed and are caring for him/her? Your baby may have colic. Here’s everything that you need to know about the condition.
What is colic?
Colic usually presents a few weeks after your baby is born and lasts for approximately three to four months. We know you may be worried because no parent wants to see their baby crying constantly, but the good news is that colic isn’t harmful.
The exact cause of colic is unknown, but research speculates that indigestion and gut health may play a role, but this hasn’t been proven. However, it’s been documented that twice as many babies suffer from colic if mom smoked during pregnancy. So, please ditch the cigarettes. Overstimulation to light and lactose intolerance (milk allergy) have also been suggested causes.
A healthy, well-fed baby will usually have the following symptoms.
- Erratic sleep: He/she may have irregular sleep patterns due to the bouts of crying.
- Irregular feeding: Feeding the baby may also be a difficult task due to episodes of crying. Even though it may take longer, the baby should still eat his/her usual amount of food.
- Extreme crying: The reality is that the baby will cry intensely for some time. His/her face usually becomes flushed, and the crying spells take place at approximately the same time every day: generally during the late afternoon or evening. He/she may cry for a few minutes or for a much longer time.
- A change in posture: Fists may be clenched, tensed abdominal muscles, knees drawn up, and the back arched.
As mentioned earlier, colic is natural and not harmful to the baby, and so doctors don’t usually recommend medication as treatment. No single substance is a sure-fire ‘cure’, but the following treatments can help.
Simethicone drops: They contain an anti-foaming agent that helps to reduce trapped wind. It remains in the gut exclusively and is said to relieve abdominal pain. Typically, an infant should be given a 2.5 ml (with a spoon or an oral syringe) after each feed. You can be added to the baby’s bottle, or they can swallow it directly, either
Eliminating cow’s milk protein: Use a hypoallergenic formula (if the baby is being bottle-fed or the mother should follow a dairy-free diet. If it works, continue, if not, stop immediately.
Lactase drops: Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose (milk sugar) into glucose and galactose. If your baby responds to this treatment, it doesn’t mean that he/she will need them later in his/her life.
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