Colic Basics -
Giving You What You Need To Know
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Colic - or frequent crying in babies - is sometimes caused by excess gas or poor carbohydrate absorption. In one study, colicky babies and perfectly healthy babies were given small samples of apple juice and white grape juice. While they had no problem digesting the grape juice, the colicky babies had a harder time with the apple juice, resulting in a frantic crying episode.
To tell a colicky baby from a sick baby, the rule is usually about the crying episodes. If it goes on for more than three hours, for more than three days, and for more than three weeks, then these are symptoms of colic.
More often than not, colic is sort of like growing pains, where the baby''s getting used to his or her new environment and bodily processes. Remember, it''s quite a system shock to be utterly dependent upon the mother and then suddenly have to regulate independently!
After a trip to the doctor to be sure nothing is seriously wrong, there are several colic remedies to try. First of all, changing the feeding patterns may reduce stress for the baby.
Colic can also be treated by changing from cow''s milk to breast feeding, trying a hypoallergenic formula, or adding Lactase. Breast feeders should avoid caffeine or milk.
Using bottles with plastic liners may reduce the amount of air swallowed and frequent burping keeps the baby from getting an upset stomach. If the colicky baby is spitting up the milk frequently, regurgitating or always shrieking after feeding, then it''s possible he or she is lactose intolerant or has acid reflux disorder.
Secondly, try changing the over-stimulating environment to treat colic. Some babies have a hard time adjusting to all the sounds and lights. Swaddle your colic baby in blankets, put him or her in a front carrier rather than laying them flat and facing the ceiling, or put the baby near soft vibrations (such as next to the dryer or in the car).
Give the baby a massage or put a warm water bottle on the belly. Warm baths, pacifiers and infant swings can be relaxing to the troubled infant.
Thirdly, there are some doctor-recommended colic remedies to try. Anti-reflux medication, herbal teas with chamomile or mint, anti-gas drops, homeopathic drops or "gripe water." Colic gripe water is a herbal concoction known to reduce digestive irritability.
It''s natural to feel pent-up anger and resentment toward the colic baby when many sleepless nights stack up and the baby seems inconsolably fussy. During this time, it''s equally important to find outlets for these negative emotions.
Many cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occur as a result of a colicky infant. First, remember that the baby will outgrow this.
Then be sure to alternate caring for the infant with a spouse or other caretaker. Get out and do things for yourself. Physical exercise can be an important release - or take a nap if you feel tired and aggressive. In some cases, a counselor can help you express your feelings in a healthy manner.
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