Infant colic is a sharp cramping pain in the abdomen, which for a long time and regularly bothers a child aged 3 weeks to 3-6 months. Colic is not considered a disease or pathology that threatens the health of the baby, but, of course, can significantly complicate the life of the whole family…
Perhaps, little is so frightening to young parents as these “terrible and incomprehensible” colic are the loud scourge of the first months of the baby’s life… Today we’ll understand what kind of phenomenon it comes from and, most importantly, how to make the baby’s life easier in this difficult period.
Colic – what is it?
Unfortunately, scientists have not yet determined the exact cause of colic. Most agree that colic is a natural stage in the development of the baby’s gastrointestinal tract.
The appearance of colic may be associated with:
- swallowing air while feeding,
- adaptation of the gastrointestinal tract to nutrition through the mouth instead of the umbilical cord,
- the formation of intestinal microflora,
- digestive enzyme deficiency, overeating, or gas congestion.
How to find out true colic?
It sometimes seems to young parents that any long and seemingly causeless crying of a baby means colic. This is not entirely true! A child can cry both from colic and from increased gas formation, general discomfort in the tummy, overheating, insufficient air humidity or even accumulated lack of sleep.
Nevertheless, true colic is quite easy to recognize by the characteristic behavior of the baby. With colic, a well-fed and slept child in the late afternoon suddenly begins to cry for a long time and comfortably for no apparent reason. He does not calm down on the handles, screams, presses his legs to his stomach, feels obvious discomfort… But after a while he suddenly abates and quite walks or quietly falls asleep as if nothing had happened.
Experienced pediatricians are also advised to identify colic by the “rule of three.” True colic, as a rule, begins after 3 weeks of a baby’s life, lasts up to 3 months and happens at least 3 times a week. Of course, these figures are rather arbitrary. It is simply important to realize that colic is a systemic and regular situation, and not one-time episodes of incomprehensible crying.
How to help the baby with colic?
Unfortunately, an effective medicine that could skillfully “turn off” infant colic does not exist. Any measures to combat colic in a baby should be taken in a complex and be aimed at alleviating his condition and helping him survive this natural stage.
First of all, of course, it is worth giving the child a simple massage in the abdomen. Massage with an open palm, strictly clockwise, with gentle stroking movements with gentle pressure. The procedure should take no more than 3-5 minutes at a time.
After the massage, you can do light gymnastics with the baby. The exercise “bicycle” is especially suitable for fighting colic, but you can simply bend the legs at the knees several times, lifting them to the tummy and lowering them back.
In addition, in agreement with the pediatrician, you can give your baby dill water, preparations based on simethicone (to combat increased gas formation) or lactase (in case of insufficiency of digestive enzymes). You need to choose these funds with your doctor, taking into account the peculiarities of colic in a particular baby.
How to avoid swallowing air?
Of course, it is equally important to deal with one of the most common causes of colic and discomfort in the digestive tract – swallowing air during feeding. The air can enter the esophagus for a variety of reasons: an uncomfortable feeding position, improper grip on the nipple, the size of the baby’s mouth, the bottle or nipple is incorrectly selected.
If the baby is breast-fed, it must be ensured that he correctly grasps the nipple. In addition, the baby should not bend, slurp or choke in the chosen position. After each feeding, you need to hold it upright for at least a few minutes, waiting until it releases the air that has got inside.
If for some reason the baby receives a mixture or expressed milk, it is better to choose special anti-colic bottles that prevent air from entering the stomach. For example, the popular English brandall bottles anti-colic. In addition, Tommee Tippee has bottles with enhanced anti-colic effect and a supply temperature indicator, which are equipped with ultra-sensitive valves located along the entire length of the tube and at the base of the bottle. These valves prevent air from entering the baby’s stomach, which significantly reduces the likelihood of painful colic.
It is good if the anti-colic bottle also has interchangeable nipples, which allow you to adjust the rate of food entry into the baby’s stomach. At the same time, the nipple should contribute to a simple and correct grip, imitating the natural elasticity, shape and mobility of the mother’s breast – such as, for example, nipples in bottles of Tommee Tippee.
Equally important for proper feeding,bottles ergonomic and compact shape that helps ensure close contact between mother and baby. This helps the child to take food calmly, without rushing and without being distracted during the process.
And of course, remember about one of the main factors in the successful fight against colic – calm mother and other family members! Do not be nervous and do not worry, because your excitement can be transmitted to the baby. Remember that colic is a natural age stage that will one day necessarily end!