Has Colic Invaded Your Home?
You spent nine months anxiously anticipating the birth of your baby and all the joy he would bring to your home. You went through labor and delivery, held your baby for the first time, and gazed into his eyes thinking that there was never anything he could do that would bring tears to your eyes. Did you consider though how you would feel when your baby is the one who is crying?
10-20% of all infants are bitten by the nasty colic bug. Colic can start during the first few months of life and can last up to six months of age. Colic is described as unexplainable crying that occurs at least 3 days a week and lasts more than 3 hours at a time. It normally begins in the evening, but some babies will show signs of colic in the early hours as well.
If your baby has colic it will seem as if it is impossible to console him. He won’t want to eat, won’t sleep, his diaper will be dry and clean, and yet he will be crying. Often times your baby will show signs of abdominal pain by arching his back, or will have a hard tight belly that you can tell is full of gas.
While gas in babies is thought to be a possible cause of colic, doctors have not determined and definitive cause or found a cure to help your baby feel better. Some researchers believe colic is caused by a baby swallowing too much air while sucking, while others believe that it starts in babies’ intestines. Some people think it is related to cow’s milk in formula or the dairy that comes through the breast milk.
Everyone agrees that breast milk is best for your baby for the baby’s first year of life. If you are breastfeeding and your baby has colic you can try to change your diet to help him. Some pediatricians will recommend that you simply cut out foods that are known to cause gas like garlic, onion, caffeine and broccoli. Others will tell you to cut out wheat products. Some will recommend going on an elimination diet which cuts out most food except white meat protein and a small handful of plain veggies. This might be hard for you to do, especially if you have other small kids and a partner at home with whom you sit and eat meals together regularly. It is also not guaranteed to work, however if it does it is worth the inconvenience to be able to continue nursing your baby for the entire first year of life.
For the moms who can not breastfeed or choose to place their babies on formula, there are special formulas created and designed to try and help ease the crying for your baby. These include gentler formulas for gassy bellies, soy formulas and colic specific formulas like the Enfamil Lipil family of products.
If your baby has colic and you can not console him, try to remain patient. The endless nights of crying are bound to get to any parent. Remember it is ok to switch off parenting duty with your partner, call grandma to give you a break, or just leave your baby in his bed while you take a bath to relax for a few minutes. Also remember that colic does not last forever and that by the time your baby is six months old you will probably have that happy smiling baby you dreamed about during your pregnancy.
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