It is important to understand that colic is not a disease, but a variant of normal development. Every third newborn has colic. They equally often bother boys and girls, full-term babies and children born before the term, and breastfed and bottle-fed kids. The exact cause of colic is unknown, however, pediatricians have several versions:
- immaturity of the digestive system – a baby’s digestive system takes time to learn to work in harmony. Chaotic muscle contractions can cause pain and discomfort. But by three to five months, the process improves, and colic disappears
- the lack of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract – bacteria living in the intestines take an active part in the digestion process. It takes time for them to settle it. Until then, food cannot be fully digested. Fermentation begins, and gases are formed. It causes pain
- food allergy or sensitivity to certain products – symptoms similar to colic can be caused by intolerance to cow’s milk. It occurs in only seven percent of babies and is usually accompanied by other problems: diarrhea and rash
Specialists highlight the following signs of colic:
- a baby screams
- symptoms usually occur as scheduled, at the same time every day. Most often in the afternoon and evening
- the face may turn red when crying. A child closes its eyes, clenches his fists, pulls its knees to the stomach, and arches the back
- relief often comes after a baby farts or poops
Once we get acquitted of what colic is and what are the common signs of it, let’s find out how to help an infant deal with the symptoms.
Ensure a Baby is Comfortable
Make sure a baby eats enough, sleeps, and is dressed in dry clothes. It should not be too hot or too cold at home – the ideal air temperature is around 20-22 degrees. These measures do not guarantee a cure for colic, however, they will deprive a child of other reasons for crying and make it calmer in general.
Don’t Overexcite a Kid
Some babies feel calmer if they are swaddled, put in a crib, and dimmed the lights in the room. In such cases, they fall asleep more easily and do not wake themselves up with their hands. Do not give your little one a lot of sweets if you have already started complementary feeding, and avoid active games before bedtime.
Help a Baby Burp Excess Air
Colic can be caused by excess air trapped in the esophagus. During breastfeeding, pay attention to how a baby holds the breast – the baby’s mouth should be wide open and should capture not only the nipple but also part of the areola. If you use bottles, try several different models and choose one that will protect a kid from air wallowing. After feeding, hold an infant vertically for a while or place its chin on your shoulder and pat its back gently. If this did not help, sit down and put a newborn on its stomach on its lap.
Choose the Right Formula
Prebiotics are the most important component in baby food intended for the prevention and elimination of colic. These components are aimed at softening fecal masses, as well as improving the intestinal microflora. Lacto- and bifidobacteria, natural food fibers will help to improve its peristalsis. Only a pediatrician will tell you what formulas are better for newborns suffering from colic, however, organic european formula made by the strict standard can be a good way out. In the content of comfort baby formula made to relieve pain, you’ll also find Omega-3 fatty acids as well as deeply split protein which is much better absorbed. Besides, in the European formula against colic, there is metafolin that is naturally present in breast milk and has a reduced lactose content, as some babies with digestive problems do not tolerate lactose very well.
Put a Baby on Tummy
It helps to get rid of gases and starts intestinal motility, which is sluggish and often poorly coordinated in babies. Remember that you should not put a kid on its tummy for an hour after eating because it provokes belching, and a baby can choke.
Massage is one of the methods that can help to get rid of gas and can relieve colic symptoms. Stroke the belly in a clockwise circular motion. Swipe your palm from top to bottom. Put more fingers above the navel and gently spread them to the side. Do not press too hard. Remember that all movements should be gentle and smooth.
Lull a Baby
Lulling causes drowsiness. Hold a child and walk with it, swaying slightly. You can try slow dancing to smooth music. If you are tired, a rocking chair, a fit ball, a cradle or a special swing for babies will help. Some children calm down when they are carried in a stroller or a car seat. In any case, the movements should be soft, and smooth, without sharp jerks.