Colic is distressing for baby and mother but it's not an illness, it is a temporary physical disorder that is often confused with genuine medical conditions such as milk protein allergy, a lactose intolerance or gastro-oesophageal reflux. Colicky babies do not fail to thrive. Despite the tears, babies with colic are otherwise healthy and happy. In my experience the causes of the symptoms of colic include:
- Inadequate burping techniques and/or not all wind being brought up which causes heartburn and trapped gas. This then causes the baby to feed insufficiently at subsequent feeds and become distressed, failing to settle properly so causing more distress through lack of sleep. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken by good winding and a clear routine of feeding and sleeping.
- The immaturity of the baby's digestive system with intestinal muscle spasms causing abdominal cramps. Again, this is where winding techniques play a vital role.
- Overfeeding, snack feeding or an overactive breastmilk let-down reflex providing too much milk too quickly. This causes the baby to gulp down too much air, causing wind. Once again winding techniques are most important.
- A baby may be anxious or distressed because of stress in the home. A stressed mother will affect the nervous system of the baby and milk supply.
- Mother's diet too rich in simple carbs and too low in quality protein.
- Food intolerances such as wheat, yeast, sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea, eggs, peanuts, dairy, fruits such as citrus and vegies such as onion, cabbage and garlic.
Effective burping techniques are the most important treatment for colic. I recommend people look for seminars run by The Parents Centre.
- Also, feed your baby in a calm, relaxed atmosphere away from stimulating environments and bright lights.
- Warmth is very soothing - feed your baby in the bath! It is both relaxing and great for skin-to-skin bonding.
- Massage is also soothing. Rub the tummy clockwise, rub the back anti-clockwise, do cycle motions with baby's legs, and give a foot massage.
- You could also try Qbaby ColiCalm Drops to ease the spasm and distress. Herbs such as aniseed, chamomile and fennel help ease symptoms and can be made into tea and given directly to baby.
- Use a high quality acidophilus probiotic supplement such as Bioceuticals Baby Biotics to replace good bacteria in the gut.
- Breastfeeding mothers can take EFA Essentials, or give a formula-fed baby a teaspoon of Childlife EFA daily.
- Breastfeeding mums can also drink Lactation Tea which has herbs such as fennel.