Crying as a result of colic generally occurs during the day more often around the evening feed and if colic going to occur, it usually becomes apparent within 3 weeks of birth, normally lasting up to 3 months.
Colic is thought to be a type of spasmodic stomach ache resulting in cramp like pains which causes the baby to scream and draw their legs up in pain. The baby will be extremely miserable and show signs of distress with periods of calm being followed with bouts of screaming which can continue for several hours at one time.
Colic can affect both bottle feed and breast feed babies with possible causes being:
• The quantity of food offered, either too little or too much in one go.
• A feed which is too rich or too weak (if bottle feeding always follow the manufacturers instructions).
• A bottle feed that isn’t offered at the right temperature being either too hot or too cold.
• With breast feeding the wrong type of food being eaten by the mother. If colic arises in a breast feed baby try cutting out anything that you have eaten within the last 24 hours which you think might have affected your baby. Speak to your midwife or healthcare visitor who will advise you as too what types of food may affect your baby.
• Constipation or diarrhoea.
It is thought that there could be a link between tension and colic with colic occurring more frequently at the end of the day. The evening tend to be a more stressful part of the day when mothers are tired with the baby to feed and make ready for bed, possibly other children to attend to and general chores to get cleared.
Babies are sensitive to moods and may cry when they feel the atmosphere is tense which just compounds the situation with the babies crying causing more tension and so it goes on until mother and child are exhausted.
One recommendation is to take as much pressure off the end of the day as possible by preparing bottle feeds and clearing as much work as possible earlier in the day. A more relaxed evening atmosphere could help to calm and soothe your baby and reduce the incidences of colic or lesson the impact.
When colic occurs you can try holding your baby close to your body providing warmth and comfort to your baby’s stomach, gently rubbing their back. With possibly several hours to go it is always advisable to try and share the comforting of your baby, with your partner, which will help reduce the tension and provide you both will a well earned break.
As yet, there are no 100% reliable treatments for colic although there are some over the counter treatments available. If you and your baby are struggling with colic seek medical advice before trying any colic preparations.
If your baby’s colic is beginning to get you both down just hold onto the fact that it generally only lasts for a couple of months!
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Article Added on Saturday, September 2, 2006
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