For a newborn baby, crying is a form of communication. Parents will soon learn to differentiate the cries of their little ones and to identify the reason based on the characteristics of the cry and thus be able to calm them.
However, there is a characteristic cry and for which it is difficult to find relief . It is about the crying produced by the typical colic in babies.
WHAT IS COLIC?
Colic in babies, or infant colic, are contractions of the abdomen that cause intense pain and, therefore, a persistent cry that is difficult to calm. The usual way to consider them as colic is if they occur for three hours a day, at least three days a week and for three consecutive weeks. They generally occur after feedings, especially late in the day. Crying is apparently inexplicable, since to be considered a characteristic cry of colic, the child must be healthy, fed and rested. Ultimately, there does not seem to be any cause to justify crying. In addition, babies are often tense, hunched over, and grimacing in pain. Although there are many data regarding its epidemiology, it is estimated that at least 20% of babies will suffer from colic, the most frequent stage from the third week after birth and up to three or four months.
WHAT CAUSES COLIC IN BABIES?
Its exact causes are unknown, although there are many explanatory theories.
Those that explain them as a digestive or dietary problem affirm that they can occur as lactose intolerance or as an allergy to cow’s milk proteins, when used as a base for the baby’s milk or even being consumed by the mother who practices breastfeeding. They are also explained as a simple immaturity of the digestive system of babies, by alterations in the intestinal flora or as a difficulty in eliminating gases, especially if they swallow too much air during feedings or if they spend too much time in a horizontal position.
Others explain them based on psychological and social factors , understanding them as an effect of a possible anxious relationship between parents and babies. Also as a simple predisposition of the baby based on his temperament or as a response to the stimuli that surround him.
All these theories find their justification. Indeed, it seems more common for colic to occur in first-born babies, which would justify a possible anxiety on the part of the parents. They are also more frequent in babies of mothers who do not practice breastfeeding , which would explain the possible allergy to cow’s milk proteins. However, the theory that has more weight is that colic is due to the excessive accumulation of gases, regardless of the cause for which it occurs.
SHOULD WE GO TO THE DOCTOR FOR BABY COLIC?
During the first trimester of life of children, especially if they are the firstborn, the most common visits to the pediatrician are due to colic. Often parents go to the emergency room, desperate after hours of crying and anguished by the pain of their child to whom they are not able to give relief but, when they arrive at the consultation, the child is already calm or asleep, as if nothing had happened .
It must be borne in mind that, despite generating real pain, colic as such is not a disease if not something very common in this period. There are some factors that make it possible to rule out the existence of a specific health problem.
– Babies with colic do not have feeding problems.
– They have a normal sucking reflex and a good appetite.
– Frequent vomiting is not a sign of colic.
– Neither the stools are altered in babies with infant colic.
– Infant colic usually remits after three months of age.
As it is not a disease, there is no recommended treatment to treat colic pain in babies or, at least, no pharmacological treatment. On the other hand, there are a series of guidelines that can be carried out and other types of alternative treatments . The main guidelines given to parents are as follows:
GUIDELINES TO PREVENT COLIC
– It is advisable to avoid that the child ingests more air than normal, which can generate the dreaded gases. For this, if breastfeeding is practiced, it is important that the baby suck while grasping the nipple well, preventing air from entering the corners of the mouth. If using the bottle , avoid those with too small or too large holes. In any case, you should try to ensure that the child maintains a good posture and does not have a blocked nose.
– After taking the shots, we must try to expel the air that has been ingested. To do this, it is good to lay it on our shoulder or on our thighs, doing a light massage on the back and gently tapping it until it expels the air, without insisting too much, since they do not always necessarily swallow air.
GUIDELINES FOR RELIEVING COLIC ONCE IT HAS STARTED
– First of all, keep calm. It is more than proven that parents transmit their nervousness to their babies, so maintaining a calm demeanor will help them to relax themselves. Obviously, after hours of tireless crying it is normal for anxiety and stress to arise, but you should try to control yourself and be patient.
– It should be ruled out that the crying may be occurring for any other reason.
– If they persist for days, it is advisable to go to the pediatrician at least once, so that he rules out other pathologies and gives us the appropriate guidelines.
– During the crying, it is good to hold the baby and hug him next to us , maintaining a calm attitude that helps him calm down and give him relief.
– The pacifier or the fingers themselves, whatever helps him to suck, will also help to keep him calmer.
– Maintain a calm environment, dim light, silence or relaxing sounds.
– It is advisable to gently swing it or catch it by keeping it upside down or on its side, resting its belly on our arm. Each baby will respond differently to different patterns. It’s about finding the right one.
MASSAGES TO CALM COLIC
Nowadays, it is common to treat colic in babies with massage. There are many proposed ways to carry them out and the Internet is full of proposals and explanatory videos. However, professional physiotherapists or osteopaths should be those who propose these treatments and carry them out and, in any case, they should be the ones who give the appropriate guidelines to the parents.
If these massages and maneuvers are practiced correctly, they have proven to be very effective and in any case, the baby will never be harmed. However, by doing so without the necessary qualifications we could harm you.
Despite colic being so frequent, we must not forget that each baby is different and, therefore, one must have the necessary patience to overcome this transitory stage in the lives of babies.