General Functional gastric disturbances in young infants
Infantile colic. Infantile colic is the name given to intermittent periods of loud, contenuous crying. It is not uncommon in newborns and lasts no longer than the third mouth. It is usually seen only in firstborn infants and seldom in their subsequent brothers and sisters. Because it occurs rather routinely in the evening hours between 5 or 6pm and midnight, medical, nursing, and nutritional care are usually better directed toward the ragged nerves of the new inexperienced parents than to the infant himself. It is a self-limiting difficulty, ending spon-tenuously during the first 3 months. However, to young, tense parents this brief interval of time may seem an eternity.
Treatment usually involves careful history taking to discover attitudes and feeding practices, The child may be underfed and simply screaming because of hunger or he may be overfed by a zealous young mother and have abdominal discomforts, In other cases an experimenting mother may be rapidly changing his formula from day to day.
The common pacifier is much more in current vogue than formerly with the blessing of most pediatricians. At least the pacifier has the value of closing the opening from which the noise emanates. Mostly, however, treatment involves explanation and moral support to the parents with reassurance that their child is growing normally. They may take courage from the knowledge that such an active, energetic child with high neuromotor functions often develops faster than his more passive peers. He may hold up his head, walk, sit, and talk sooner. He has excellent energy potential for becoming a vigorous and vocal adult.
Simple functional vomiting. Regurgitation, or spitting up, is common in most young infants. Its cause is usually gastric distention from overfeeding or from swallowing air during feeding or crying. Other related factors may be ineffective burping or leaving the baby in a supine (on his back) position rather than a prone (on his stomach) position after feeding. Also over activity and semi acrobatics at the hands of doting father’s parents soon after he has been fed may stimulate regurgitation. Temperature of the feeding may be a factor, since feedings that are too hot may induce vomiting. Milk at room temperature is better tolerated. Even cold feedings have evoked no difficulty in a number of infants. Again simple attention to possible causative factors and reassurance to the young mother will provide adequate care.