About 1 baby in 5, breastfed or not, will get colic, and among them, some will seem to violently rebel against this pain and express their inability to cope with this situation by very loud and persistent crying.
Sometimes, a parent will perceive or think that the crying will turn into what seem to be uncontrolled screams of anger.
Let us not forget that babies are totally helpless, especially during their first two years and that this makes them extremely vulnerable.
The loud yelling might be the first indication of their character, but in this case, even if they try to express rebellion against the pain, it is the only action they can undertake to react and ask for help.
They are not rejecting help or trying to aggravate their parents or caretakers, they are only stuck in a horrible nightmare of pain, yet, sometimes, it so happens that some people will perceive this in this manner.
At this point, the infant sometimes will not accept cuddles or soothing until its discomfort goes away and in most cases, this so-called “rebellion” is the only way they have of asking the parents to help soothe while learning how to cope with the adversity of pain.
Colic symptoms in breastfed babies
A breastfed baby that is having intestinal cramps, painful gas passing through the bowels, having difficulty processing and digesting food, or having digestive problems is sometimes found to suffer from what is referred to as colic.
Possible causes of colic
The most common possible causes of this intestinal discomfort will often be ascribed to these:
- Gas: too much air in the bowels.
- Allergy: difficult digestion of certain food types.
- Reflux: baby’s stomach is still adapting to processing food.
- Incomplete burping. After the first burp, there is often a second one.
- Incompatible bottles that cause too much air swallowing.
- The digestive system still needs to mature.
- Excessive sensibility to certain food types.
Colic remedies for breastfed babies
Modern medicine has not been able to cure colic with a pill or a syrup and it is not yet known why this problem exists, nor what causes it. All that is known for certain, is that it will pass when the child grows older, usually between 8 and 10 months of age.
There is a large number of tricks and tips derived from past experience that can come to the rescue to help try and cope with colic.
The knack is in finding the right balance of “action” ingredients that are the best fit for parent and child. This can be difficult to find at first because one has to proceed by trial and error.
What is important to know, above all, is that learning to cope with pain and adversity early in life will be transmitted from parent to child and is absolutely vital to the child’s well-being for the future.
Depriving a baby of love will not help, neither will allowing the baby to throw what sometimes looks and feels like his tantrum all the time. The two extremes have to be reconciled by finding the middle road.
Coming to grips with the constant crying because of belly ache with loving care and attention helps the child understand that one is there to help deal with the problem, that one is abundantly loved and that rebelling against the situation is not productive, on the contrary, it will only aggravate the situation.
All this cannot be explained to a newborn, it has to be transmitted through patient tender loving caring action from the parents or caregivers.
Sometimes exhaustion will drive some parties to extremes. This is when sometimes a parent will try to literally shake some “sense” into the baby and the baby is harmed.
Unfortunately, it is the most common reason that causes babies to be harmed and this is referred to as the “Shaken Baby Syndrome”. Almost always the parent or caregiver had no intention of harming the child, but it happens nonetheless.
Colic in Newborns – How to get rest with a Colicky infant?
For parents struggling with a colicky child, sleep may seem like a distant memory. Fortunately, there are some options for parents dealing with this difficult time – colic, while frustrating, is not a rare event.
Colic newborns may require adjustments in scheduling, but with a little compromise, you can have rest, even if your baby’s fussy nature continues. The two basic approaches to getting the rest you need both involve scheduling – for both you and your baby.
Colic newborns typically cry at the same time each day or night, and the duration of the crying can be anywhere from several minutes to several hours.
Once you know your baby’s colic schedule, you can begin to adjust your own to maximize the rest you are able to obtain, provided that you are the at-home caregiver for your child.
Do you have a fussy baby in the evenings? Plan extra nap time during the day for yourself while baby is quiet and restful.
Does your baby fuss in the wee hours of the night? Temporarily adjust your schedule so that you can be more wakeful at night, and sleep more during the day.
Keep in mind, newborns don’t sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch, generally speaking, so you’ll need to learn the art of napping in order to remain refreshed.
If you work outside the home, don’t worry – working parents of colic newborns can get rest too. It just takes more creativity. If your baby is typically fussy at night, you can ask the daytime caregiver to make some adjustments to the baby’s schedule, which may provide for better rest.
Encouraging shorter daytime naps, and developing a consistent routine that encourages sleep will benefit your child both now, and in the long term. Taking turns with your spouse or significant other can also maximize the amount of sleep you are able to get on any given night.
Regardless of which options are available to you, there is one thing that parents of colic infants should not do: you should not let your baby grow to depend upon your presence in order to sleep.
Help your child settle into a sleep routine, but do not become his or her security blanket. If you are always around as your child drifts off to sleep, he or she may not be able to get back to sleep if you are not present in the middle of the night. Coupled with colic, this is a recipe for disaster.
There is no one solution to the problem of colic newborns. You must be willing to take charge of the situation and explore what works for you and your family, as a whole. Regardless, you can take comfort in knowing that colic is temporary, and the adjustments you make now, will help your child’s sleep patterns in the future.
When to seek medical intervention for baby colic
While stressful and frustrating, baby colic is generally not seen as a major problem by pediatricians. Most parents are told that they will just have to cope with the condition as best they can until it goes away on its own. It invariably does when the child reaches eight to nine months of age.
There are those who postulate -this means it remains to be proven- that newborns have to go through the process of colonizing their bowels with the helpful bacteria that live in human intestines and help them with the digesting and processing of food.
Statistics tend to show that about 20% to 25% of all infants will have trouble with colic, in effect, that it will be a highly uncomfortable period for them.
However, there are some symptoms that you should not ignore, even if you believe your baby’s crying to be due to colic or newborn colic-like symptoms.
If your baby has any of the following symptoms, you should contact your baby’s doctor for a more formal evaluation.
Little or no interest in feeding.
If your baby’s formula or breast milk consumption is not as it should be, any crying may be an indication of digestive troubles that may be linked to other causes which have no relation with babies and gas or baby gripe.
In young infants and small children, the dehydration caused by diarrhea can be dangerous, even fatal. Crying accompanied by this symptom should be reported to your baby’s doctor right away.
High fever can cause permanent brain injury in infants, and should not be ignored. Any crying along with fever can be a sign of serious illness.
As with diarrhea, vomiting can cause severe dehydration and may be a sign of infection.
Hives or rash – this may be a sign of an allergic reaction
Changes in breathing – another sign of allergies, and one that can be highly dangerous in small children.
What is the best sleeping position for a colic baby
It is still not recommended to put the baby on his stomach, to relieve him, you can carry him on your forearm, flat on his stomach, with his little skull at the level of your elbow. Take advantage of your second hand, which is free, to gently massage his back and soothe him: an excellent position to calm a colic baby.
Are there foods that cause colic in breastfed babies?
If your baby is 6 weeks or younger and you are breastfeeding, eliminating potentially allergenic foods may help reduce colic symptoms. Here are some of those foods that can potentially cause colic in breastfed babies
- Cow milk
If you choose to no longer consume certain foods, it is important to consult a dietitian to ensure that you do not have a deficiency. After a while, you can resume eating these foods if your baby’s colic does not seem to be improving.
Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for colic in breastfeeding newborns yet. This condition will go away on its own.
If you are breastfeeding your baby and you are thinking of stopping consuming potentially allergenic foods, consult a registered dietitian who will help you eat a balanced diet. If you smoke, try cutting back or quitting altogether.
Consult your pediatrician if you are concerned about your baby’s crying or if you notice any changes in your baby’s feeding habits, sleep, or behavior.