Infant colic is a condition where a baby cries excessively for long periods. Affected babies are usually normal and do not suffer from any illness, disease or discomfort although they appear to be in pain. It is a condition that affects both boys and girls alike and starts during the first week after birth and ends when a baby is about four or six months of age. Colic is a very common condition that affects one in every five infants.
Infant colic is a harmless condition. It does not present any health risks. It occurs in the form of episodes that normally start in the afternoons or early evenings. Your baby’s feeding is never affected. He/she continues to breastfeed without any problems.
Infants generally cry but the cry is never excessive as that associated with colic. Your baby will exhibit the following symptoms in case he/she has colic;
- Continuous crying or fussing.
- Red face.
- Bending and straightening of legs continuously coupled with clenched hands.
The cause of this worrying condition remains unknown. However, its occurrence is thought to be linked to excessive intake of air when a baby is breastfeeding and digestive problems. These are believed to add pressure to a baby’s stomach, leading to the continuous cries and fussing.
Intolerance to cow’s milk protein is also believed to cause colic. Indeed, several studies have established that avoiding feeding babies on cow’s milk, babies who had earlier shown symptoms of the condition got relief. Similarly, babies fed on a formula that had shown signs of the condition quickly got relief.
Pediatricians do prescribe specific medications that help babies diagnosed with colic find some relief. One o the medications often prescribed is Simethicone. This is an oral medication in the form of drops that is given to a baby just before breastfeeding session starts. The medication works by dissolving air bubbles in the stomach, making it possible for a baby to burp the air out before feeding.
The other medication that a pediatrician can prescribe is lactase drop. This is mixed with pumped breast milk or added to formula before a baby is fed. The medication makes it easy for a baby to digest lactase easily, thereby preventing colic.
How to Cope
Living with an infant with colic can be very stressful. First-time parents, in particular, do become very anxious about what is wrong with their infants. Your first action should be to consult a pediatrician for examination and ruling out of any illness or disease. However, there are measures you can take to help your infant find relief so long as the condition has been properly diagnosed.
Avoid taking cow’s milk because it will form part of your breast milk, which is most likely to worsen your infant’s condition.
Carry your infant around with his/her stomach against your body to help him/her burp.
Ensure that you breastfeed your infant in a position where both of you are comfortable.
Make it a point to help your infant burp after every breastfeeding session so as to expel any inhaled excess air.