Your baby is crying and squirming, and seems to calm down when you put him on your forearm on his stomach. These signs of discomfort may indicate infant colic. How to know if your baby has abdominal pain? How to relieve it, we tell you everything!
Your baby’s cries are getting louder and more persistent than usual. And it doesn’t seem to be due to teething, hunger or being “wet”… Is your baby inconsolable, extremely irritable, impossible to calm down? Is the child’s tummy bloated? Is he or she gassy? Does he lift his legs? If all of this usually happens after feeding, he or she is probably suffering from (first-trimester) colic. But don’t worry. It’s a very common ailment in children. The famous pediatrician Mendelsohnn said that less than 10% of stomachaches require hospitalization. However, watch more if there are the following symptoms:
Does the infant have diarrhea or even vomit? This is more likely to be gastroenteritis. – If he or she has a fever, there may be a variety of problems. In these cases, you’ll need to see a doctor sooner or later, but there’s no need to panic. Only if your child is very pale and screaming will you need to go to the hospital urgently.
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What is colic?
Colic is a bit of a mystery. The term applies to any healthy, well-fed infant who cries for more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 weeks. Here’s what we know about it:
- Colic is likely to start around 2 weeks of age if your baby is full term (or later if he or she is premature).
- It almost always goes away on its own after 3 or 4 months.
- The sex and birth order of your baby, whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, does not affect it.
- Children who have had colic as infants are no different from those who have not.
What causes colic in babies ?
The exact cause of colic is still not well understood. However, it is known to occur in the following cases: constipation, stomach pain, fatigue and stress, swallowing air coupled with an inability to pass air, lack of food, intolerance to cow’s milk or other foods, improper feeding of the child… The exact cause of colic is unknown, and therefore there is no clear way to help it. Some potential causes include:
- A growing digestive system with often spastic muscles
- Gas and bloating
- Hormones that cause stomach upset or mood swings
- Oversensitivity or overstimulation by light, noise, etc.
- A moody baby
- An immature nervous system
What you can do first to calm him down ?
- Hold the child upright against you.
- Apply something warm to the child’s abdomen.
- You can also soothe the child by turning him/her on his/her stomach and placing a hot water bottle underneath.
- Give your child plenty of attention and sing a very soothing song.
- You can also give your baby gentle, clockwise belly rubs. This could be miraculous!
At the same time, apply one or more of the following:
- Warm water compress or chamomile tea, 1 handful of flowers per liter.
- Rubbing the abdomen with St. John’s wort oil.
Anti-colic baths (children over nine months)
Warm bath with yarrow while giving them an infusion of chamomile internally.
Give with a spoon or in the bottle, in equal parts: crushed seeds of fennel + crushed seeds of caraway + flowers of camomile + leaves of peppermint. 1 tbsp. of the mixture per liter (strain before filling your bottle).
For recurrent colic
(Especially those that pediatricians are unable to treat effectively) several natural remedies have proven effective:
- 1 capsule of garlic helps to induce the liberating discharge.
- Aloe vera juice (not to be confused with medicinal aloe) mixed with fruit juice.
Normally the mentioned methods should be enough to alleviate baby’s colic, if it continues it could be colic related to a food allergy.
If after these simple measures you do not see any improvement, follow these tips to relieve colic
1. Rule out baby reflux
The first thing moms will want to rule out is baby reflux. This condition will often mimic some of the same symptoms as baby colic and can be relieved with natural remedies. Be sure to look for the signs and symptoms of baby reflux and, if appropriate, treat this root cause of your baby’s intense crying. Ask your pediatrician to try to find the cause.
2. Follow a healthy breastfeeding diet
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you may also want to give up foods that can trigger colic symptoms in your baby. Dairy products are big culprits, as are other common allergens like wheat/gluten, eggs, seafood, citrus fruits, caffeine and spicy foods. While it certainly isn’t fun to give up some of your favorite foods, it is worth it. After eliminating these foods from your diet, wait at least 2-4 weeks to make sure they are eliminated from your body and your milk.
3. Try a different formula
If your baby is formula-fed, whether it’s formula or formula, your child may be reacting to a specific ingredient you’re using. Some moms find that changing their diet can make all the difference!
4. Make sure your baby is well rested
Watch your baby’s signs carefully and make sure he doesn’t get too tired. Experiment with periods of wakefulness to see what works best. In general, newborns should be back in bed within 1 to 2 hours of waking up. For some, it’s only 45 minutes! A good sign that you put your baby to bed on time is that he or she goes to bed without struggling. If he’s still having a crying fit, you’ve missed the sleep window. Next time, try putting your baby down 15 minutes earlier.
5. Create closeness
In the last few weeks of life in the womb, your baby’s environment is cozy, dark, comfortable and warm. When babies step out into open space to join the rest of humanity, it can be a difficult and uncomfortable transition. Some even consider the first three months of a newborn’s life the “4th trimester”.
How do I carry my baby? You can help your colicky baby make the transition into the world by carrying him or her. The closeness and warmth created by carrying can soothe colicky babies when nothing else does. Even better, skin-to-skin baby clothes. Studies show that skin-to-skin contact can regulate baby’s breathing, temperature, heart rate, blood sugar and blood pressure. It can also regulate mood.
Swaddling: This practice creates some of the comfort and closeness that baby is used to. Also, some babies wake up regularly with their startle reflex. Others inadvertently scratch themselves. A swaddle will solve both of these problems. Here’s how to swaddle a baby.
Co-sleeping: Some moms avoid swaddling altogether and co-sleep whenever possible (naps and nighttime). Most people in the world practice this type of sleeping. By creating this closeness and warmth, you can help soothe your colicky baby.
6. Make some noise
The womb wasn’t just comfortable, it was noisy. Between mom’s heartbeat and digestion, the sound in utero is intense – it’s estimated to be the equivalent of having a vacuum cleaner running at all times! To recreate this sound environment you can try using the sound of the hair dryer to keep your little blonde head asleep at night! Some people record a few hours of sound to be safe.
7. Sucking on demand
Babies have a very strong sucking reflex that needs to be satisfied. Babies also have a hand-to-mouth reflex, which causes them to place their hands, fingers or fists in their mouths for comfort and soothing. You can also try the pacifier when he or she needs it. If your baby is breastfed, let her feed on demand as much as possible. Ultimately, let your baby use his natural reflexes to comfort and calm himself.
8. Get some fresh air
There’s something magical about fresh air. The sun, the wind, the birdsong, the movement, all of these elements contribute to changing the mood and comforting baby.
9. Take warm baths
Alternatively, some babies like to take a warm bath. It can help soothe their tummies, as well as their minds. You don’t need to add soap or bubble bath. Just warm water and a peaceful bathroom. You can also warm up a washcloth and put it on baby’s tummy as a hot water bottle, if you don’t want to run a bath every day.
10. Create movement
This can be rocking your baby in your arms. Some moms walk around the house with their baby in a sling or put their baby in the stroller and walk around the neighborhood. Swings and recliners and vibrating chairs can also be fantastic tools for parents of colicky children. Do what works best for you! The point is that movement can calm and soothe an upset child.
11. Go pedal-pushing
Some baby exercises can do wonders for releasing trapped gas. You can try pedaling them with their legs bent, or putting their belly on your thighs for gentle pressure to induce burping. You can also give baby gentle massages.
Another option is to have your baby manipulated by an osteopath. Often, during childbirth, the baby’s body becomes misaligned, which can affect everything from sleep to bowel movements to digestion.
12. Use digestive support
Some practitioners believe that colic is related to the baby’s immature digestion. Trapped gas, a slow digestive tract, an imbalance of intestinal flora and acid reflux (all babies have some form) can lead to colic symptoms.
- Drink fennel tea if you are breastfeeding to calm baby’s digestive system.
- Try probiotics for baby. Babies need bifida bacteria for their developing digestive systems.
- Try homeopathic remedies: ask your homeopath for advice, there are many treatments available.
- The key is to work with your doctor to find the right digestive aid for your baby, if any.
13. Get help
Despite our best efforts, sometimes babies cry and there is nothing we can do to make it better. It’s heartbreaking…and depressing to watch this happen as a parent.
Mothers of colicky babies need to take very good care of themselves – these mothers have a significantly increased risk of postpartum depression. Ask a friend, family member or babysitter to come over a few times a week so you can take a break if the crying is too intense. On weekends, ask your partner to take over so you can rest and get some light exercise. Talk to a counselor or other moms for help. Take medication if needed. Bottom line: Don’t go through this alone.