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Helping Colicky Babies

Updated on March 25, 2013

Babies are gifts that parents treasure always. There are times though that a parent's patience may be sorely tested and these times include when the baby gets colicky.

Colic occurs to babies usually six months of age or below. The actual cause is not known but there are many manifestations of this condition. It starts with a gassy baby that cries for several minutes to an hour accompanied by bouts of flatulence. The baby cannot be easily consoled and it is distressing to watch, especially by the parents. Despite this, there are ways to ease the occurrence of colic as well as to make it less stressful for both baby and parents. Sharing one's concerns with the pediatrician is always the best way to go and he or she can make recommendations regarding what to do to help with colic.

Easing Colic

There is no surefire way to stop colic but there are ways to ease it. One way is to monitor the baby's intake of milk. Breastfed babies rely on their mothers for milk; therefore the mother should be considerate towards the baby regarding her food intake. Some foods have a negative effect on the stomach and these can make colic worse. Mothers should try to eliminate foods that they feel contribute to the condition. Dairy can have a tumultuous effect on both the mother and baby's stomach even if the mother is not lactose intolerant. If the mother reacts to dairy products with an uneasy stomach, it may be best to reduce or stop intake of these products. Dairy products include, but are not limited to, milk, cheeses, butter, yogurt and ice cream. If both baby and mother are not lactose intolerant, consumption of dairy products can be slowly introduced again after the baby has turned 6 months. The pediatrician can recommend alternatives to dairy products for the mother's intake. Babies that drink formula can be switched to a different less reactive formula. There are formula that are lactose free as well as made with a specific kind of whey to be less stressful on the tummy.

Aside from the baby's intake there are also other ways to try to ease colic in babies. Bottle fed babies might need bottles or nipples that are designed to take out the air from the babies' consumption. Several bottle brands like Avent, Vent-aire, Playtex and Tommee Tippee have specifically designed bottles and nipples that can help to take out the air from the bottle. Apart from these, parents can also try to minimize the presence of air bubbles in the bottle before feeding the infant by letting the bubbles or foam in the bottle settle before a feeding.Burping the baby and waiting several minutes before putting him or her down can also help to minimize the presence of gas in the tummy. Some babies burp sooner than later while others take their time burping. Parents should wait a few minutes after the baby has burped to encourage another one.

Other ways to help lessen the impact of colic is to have a routine to encourage the baby to feel more comfortable before the time that it usually hits. Since many babies sleep around the early evening, having a warm bath around this time can help to make the baby more comfortable and less anxious. Religiously following this routine can be a great comfor for the infant and lreduce the stress of this difficult time. Reducing the anxiety and encouraging a calm atmosphere not only applies to the infant but also to the primary caretaker of the infant. The parents should be relaxed because the infant can sense anxiety. Some babies like to be held or laid on their stomachs during colic and parents should initially experiment with ways their child might like to be held or left alone during an episode of colic. Some parents swear that white noise can help to ease their baby's colic while others remedy the situation by taking the baby out on a ride. The basic idea of both remedies is that the lull of the white noise and the lull of the vehicle's movement can help the baby sleep or at least be more relaxed. Rocking the baby or just walking with him or her in the parents' arms can also help.

The point is for the parents to pinpoint that the baby is colicky and to address this accordingly before trying out colicky options. Some babies may be fussy if they are wet or the temperature is too high or too low. Babies still have some difficulty regulating their body temperature and their other bodily functions, hence they may feel uncomfortable with just the slightest change in temperature. Parents should take heart that colic doe snot last so long and after the child has passed 4 to 6 months of age, the occurrences will go away.


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