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Your Baby’s Colic: Coping and Prevention



By Rita Louise

Colic is a common problem in infants and an even more frustrating condition for parents to deal with. Approximately 10 to 30 percent of all infants born have colic. If an infant is going to experience colic in his life, it will typically appear within the first few weeks of life and will subside by the time the infant is 4 months old. Babies with colic grow and develop normally, and it is rarely a factor in later physical or behavioral problems.

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The term colic refers to a condition in which an infant cries inconsolably from one to four hours at a time. Spells are typified by a high-pitched, loud cry that is continuous. Your child may pull her legs up toward her stomach as if in abdominal pain, or her legs may be extended straight out. Often, her hands are clenched. He may hold his breath or grimace. Frequently, his face may flush while his feet remain cold. These episodes can occur at any time but often begin in the late afternoon or early evening.

Currently, there is no identifiable cause for colic. Doctors have identified a number of factors that classically make colic symptoms worse. These include rapid eating or overfeeding, swallowing excessive air, intestinal gas, lack of burping or food allergies. Doctors also recognize that an environment filled with anger, frustration or even excitement can play a role in this disorder.

It is critical to consult your child’s pediatrician at the onset of colic-like symptoms. It is important to rule out other health complaints such as ear infections, allergies, intestinal blockage, a hernia or even a scratch in your infant’s eye.

Recommendations for Wellness

If you are breastfeeding

• Watch your intake of caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and soda.

• Stop eating milk products for one week to see if your baby is reacting to milk protein you have consumed.

• Reduce or eliminate gas-producing foods such as orange juice, cabbage (and other foods from the cabbage family), beans, broccoli and onions.

• Drink soothing herb teas such as chamomile tea to calm yourself as well as your baby.

If your baby is formula-fed

• Change the type of formula or type of water being used. You can also try changing to a low-allergy formula or switch to a soy-based one.

• Make sure your baby is getting enough to eat. Check the hole size of the nipples you purchased.

Other recommendations

• Burp your baby after each ounce of formula or every few minutes.

• To reduce the possibility of your child’s swallowing air, have him or her sit up rather than lie down when eating.

• Gently repetitive movements soothe some babies. Try taking your baby for a ride in the car or a walk in the park. Rock him in a rocking chair or rocking swing and try leaning his infant seat against a running clothes dryer or dishwasher.

• Sounds can also help calm a colicky infant. Many parents have found relief by playing soothing music, running their vacuum cleaner or even their clothes dryer.

• Applied heat can also help. Lay your baby over a warm hot water bottle that is covered with a towel, or trying giving her a hot bath. Add a few drops of chamomile or marjoram essential oil to the water to help her relax further.

• Herbal chamomile has a long history of calming an infant and easing intestinal cramping.

• Teas made of licorice root, catnip or fennel have also been found to help.

© Body, Mind & SoulHealer

Dr. Rita Louise, Ph.D., is a naturopathic physician and a 20-year veteran in the human potential field. It is her unique gift as a medical intuitive that enlivens her work. Whether it is a physical problem, an emotional issue, a problem at work or a problem in a relationship. Visit her at www.soulhealer.com.

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