Colic is a frustrating problem for many parents of newborn babies. Colic is defined as unexplainable and uncontrolled crying for three or more hours per day for three weeks or more.
Colicky babies may be so for a number of reasons. The condition most commonly begins two to three weeks after birth and usually self-resolves within three months. However, in some cases it can last up to six months or more. Colic occurs in approximately 20% of babies. There are no identifiable factors that make a baby more likely to develop colic. This means that being a first time parent, the baby being a boy or girl, or formula feeding instead of breastfeeding does not increase a child’s chance of developing colic. All newborns, regardless of these factors, develop colic at the same rates.
Colic is most often diagnosed by continuous crying over long periods of time. Other symptoms of colic include drawing the legs up to the belly, clenching the fists, and extending the arms and legs or arching the back. Also, babies with colic might have problems falling asleep or staying asleep. However, colic does not cause any developmental problems. Babies with colic still have a good appetite and are otherwise healthy, so they continue to grow normally. Colic does not cause repeated vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss. If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should be taken to the pediatrician for evaluation.
If you have a baby with colic, what can you do to help? Trying new things with feeding can often change how colicky your baby is. Try offering a feeding because sometimes babies with colic are simply hungry. Although overfeeding can occur, this is rare because the baby will usually spit up whatever food it doesn’t need. If you are nursing your baby, eliminating foods from your diet might improve the baby’s colic. Try eliminating milk, caffeine, and vegetables in the cabbage family such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage from your diet if you are nursing. If you are formula feeding your baby, ask about changing formulas. Also, changing the bottle or nipple type might reduce the amount of air the baby swallows and, therefore, reduce the colic symptoms. Feeding the baby in a more upright position and burping the baby more often might also reduce the symptoms of colic.
If changing how or what you feed your baby doesn’t improve the colic, trying other solutions might work. Holding and cuddling your baby often helps calm down the symptoms of colic. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby during this time. Responding to your babies needs is not spoiling and can help with bonding between you and your child. Keeping your baby in motion by rocking them in your arms, swinging in an infant swing, taking a walk with your baby, or going for a short drive can help reduce the crying in colic. Finally keeping a low level background noise, such as a bathroom exhaust fan or a fish tank motor, can soothe your baby and make them less likely to wake up when they hear other noises.
Colic can be stressful for everyone in the family, especially the primary caregiver. If you find yourself caring for a child with colic, remember to arrange for backup care periodically so you can have a little time for yourself. Find a good listener you can talk to so your emotions don’t get bottled up and end up adding to your frustration. Finally, try to stay positive and remember that babies sometimes cry out of frustration and tiredness. You should never judge your success as a parent by how much your baby cries.
If you have tried these solutions and nothing seems to work, you may want to consider taking your baby to a chiropractor. During birth, the neck and spine of a baby can easily become misaligned due to the stretching and compression that takes place. These misalignments can irritate nerves, and irritated nerves can reduce the function of major body systems, such as the digestive tract, and result in the symptoms of colic. Chiropractic adjustment of babies involves only gentle sustained pressure to particular areas of the spine with one finger. It only takes a few minutes and many parents report improvement after only a few treatments. A recent study showed that 94% of parents saw an improvement in their baby’s behavior after only two weeks of chiropractic care.
To determine if chiropractic care could help relieve your child’s colic, or to speak with a chiropractor in the Edwardsville, IL area, call Dr. Emily Brueggeman at 618-692-0000 . Ask for a free Invitation to Health which includes a consultation and screening to determine if your child’s case is a chiropractic case.