Colic, in general, refers to a type of pain that is sharp and spasmodic. Infant colic, more specifically, is a result of the baby’s digestive system maturing. Doctors are not sure exactly what causes colic, since it varies from baby to baby. There are certain recommendations on how to treat infant colic, depending on the signs of colic your baby exhibits. They can range anywhere from shrill shrieking for more than three hours, three days and three weeks per month, all the way to being unable to burp, resisting feeding and showing hypersensitivity to lights and sounds.
Many times it just seems like the baby is being "fussy" or is inconsolable and does not want to bond with the parents. During this touchy stage, it is important for parents to have patience and remember that symptoms of colic generally go away within four months as the baby’s digestive system matures.
One theory for the cause for colic in babies is that there is trapped gas in the stomach and intestines. The baby experiences sharp pain shortly after feeding because he or she is unable to breakdown the milk sugar properly, and therefore experiences unpleasant stomach acids and a bloated feeling. Some babies also swallow too much air while feeding, also contributing to the overall discomfort. For these babies, it’s recommended that a homeopathic remedy be administered – something like Colic Calm gripe water, a blend of peppermint, chamomile, fennel, caraway, ginger, lemon balm and aloe. These natural ingredients stimulate the body’s digestive processes, while providing calming relief. Similarly, a colon massage or burping the baby may help ease the symptoms too.
Another theory for the root of baby colic is the lack of "gut flora," which are the healthy microorganisms that assist in digestion. The average human body has anywhere from 300 to 1000 species of gut flora living in the stomach. Infants have been found to lack the microorganism that assists in milk sugar breakdown specifically, which can be a huge problem considering a baby’s early diet consists of milk. In this case, Pro-biotic like a Lactobacillus acidophilus supplement or Lactose have been known to help.
No matter what the cause, it’s important to remember that the symptoms of colic generally only last four months or so. This can seem like forever when one’s baby is crying constantly. Pacifiers, infant swings, heated blankets, soothing lullaby Cd’s, baby essential oils, baby bathtubs and rocking chairs are all items on the market intended to help parents of colicky babies cope. Infant colic isn’t something that parents need to deal with alone. Doctors and counselors are available to answer questions and offer suggestions for natural colic remedies.
Parents will find themselves plunged into a confusing world of psychology as they try to learn how to deal with their infant during this difficult time. Infant colic can affect the whole family. For single parents, it can be especially frustrating because there’s rarely a reprieve from the crying. Having a friend or relative who can babysit from time to time can be critical. Also, the Parents Without Partners organization is willing to offer their expertise for the single mom or dad who’s feeling overwhelmed and helpless.