Colic in newborn babies
Colic is one of the hottest topics in the first months of a baby’s life. Often it worries parents more than it should. Good awareness is the key to overcoming the initial stress and excess tremors.
It is well known that colic provokes a specific abdominal pain that is associated with increased gas formation in the child’s intestines. Discomfort is provoked by the process of adaptation of the gastrointestinal tract of the baby to the new conditions after birth.
As a result, the child becomes restless, and the pains often provoke prolonged and irrepressible crying. You can expect the first colic in newborns by the 2-4th week after birth. They usually disappear completely after 3-4 months. You should also know that colic can be suffered by perfectly healthy children who are characterized by a good appetite and normal development.
What is colic?
They represent an accumulation of gas in the abdomen of the newborn. The strong concentration provokes spasms, which the child feels painfully and this makes him restless.
In the first weeks after birth, the child’s organism adapts to the new life. If previously it received nourishment via the umbilical cord, now it needs to work harder to satiate itself.
Along with the new food, whether it is breast milk or an artificial mixture, new bacteria settle in the child’s body. This process involves gradually adapting to a new way of processing food. Colic is a problem that will go away once the child’s gastrointestinal tract has finally developed.
Characteristic symptoms of colic
- Unexplained restlessness of the child;
- clenching of the legs towards the abdomen – this symptom indicates sharp pain accompanied by cramps;
- sudden crying and strong clenching of the fingers and toes;
- loud crying accompanied by flushing of the face;
- piercing crying for hours, often it is observed as evening approaches, although the child has fed with appetite during the day and is perfectly healthy;
- discharge of gases;
- pale colour of the skin;
- crying and restlessness beginning immediately after feeding;
- bloating and a clear audible gurgling. After discharge of the gas, the child is observed to calm down;
- a sign of food intolerance is green-coloured stools with a slimy consistency;
- colic is often seen in children who gain weight rapidly.
- Constipation can also be a symptom of gastrointestinal problems.
Causes of colic in newborns
These are several and sometimes affect a complex set of practices to which we may not give due attention.
- Improper feeding technique of the newborn. In this case, the child swallows air along with milk. The problem may be present in both breastfed and formula-fed children. If the child is on artificial milk, the bottle should be offered at an angle of up to 45 degrees. This allows air to collect at the bottom;
- Overfeeding. Consumption of too much breast milk or artificial milk can provoke the release of gas in the stomach and belching. It is advisable to feed the child more often, but with smaller portions;
- Discuss with the doctor whether you are offering the child an inappropriate formula;
- Inappropriate nutritional menu of the breastfeeding mother;
- Sometimes colic in newborn children is explained by the mother’s habit of smoking.
- The character of the child can also be a prerequisite for the occurrence of colic. There is a likelihood of abdominal pain as a result of the child’s frequent crying. At such times he gulps air;
- Pay attention to the feeding regime. Try to exclude this factor as the cause of the newborn’s painful sensations.
Food products that provoke colic
It is advisable during the breastfeeding period for the mother to pay serious attention to her food menu. Even during pregnancy, she has in all probability carefully monitored what she puts on the table, and it is advisable to continue this practice after childbirth.
It is advisable for the breastfeeding mother to exclude from her menu the following food items: cabbage, spicy foods, corn, cow’s milk and certain dairy products, onions, tomatoes, nuts, products containing caffeine.
If the appearance of colitis in a newborn is associated with any of the listed products, their exclusion from the menu will lead to the disappearance of pain within 1-2 days.
How to help the baby with colic?
Practice shows that parents can help their child in many ways. Independently (that is, without medical help) and at home you can:
- before each feeding, place the child on a firm and flat surface on his tummy;
- hold the child upright after a meal and wait for the moment when the child will burp well;
- give him a warm compress – for example, by ironing a nappy immediately beforehand. Warm the nappy and put it on the child’s tummy. This is a grandmotherly method, but it is very effective during an acute attack of colic;
- another way to make use of the previous advice is by laying the heated nappy on your tummy, and on top lay the child on its tummy;
- massage the baby’s tummy in a gentle clockwise motion;
- press his tummy against your breasts. This will help him to relax and help to relieve cramps;
- once the colic starts, lay your baby on his back and press your palm against his tummy;
- after feeding, give your child dill water or dill tea;
- if the pains bother a child who is fed on artificial milk, it is advisable to try changing the formula.
- administer medication only on the advice of a doctor;
- regular tummy massages are an excellent remedy for colic;
- do gymnastics – bend the child’s knees towards the tummy. This is a natural way to massage the abdominal area. Join the right knee with the left elbow and vice versa. Repeat the exercise several times. The gases will begin to move out of the body on their own;
- do the “plane” exercise. Lie down. Take the child in your arms and put your palms on his belly. Gently rock him now to the left, now to the right. Older children can experience real joy from this exercise;
- if the child likes to bathe, do not hesitate to give him a warm bath. Put a decoction of chamomile in it. The recipe is 3 tablespoons of chamomile blossom to half a litre of water. This will soothe the painful sensations characteristic of colic.
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