What causes colic? The truth is experts don’t really know. Although most assume that it is a gastrointestinal problem this may or may not be so. Pediatricians also attribute colic to an underdeveloped nervous system, medication taken my mom, food allergies, environment, mom and babies emotional health and temperament. Research has shown that for 50% of babies it may be a mild acid reflux. And, for some there just is no telling. Apparently, I was a very colicky baby myself. My mom reminds me that for weeks I would scream for hours and the pediatrician attributed it all to colic. I don’t know if it was payback, but my daughter had quite a bit of colic during several hours a the day for at least the first few months of her life.
Colic is defined by uncontrolled crying in infants from about two weeks to three months old. For a baby to be considered truly colicky crying spells must last for three or more hours at least three times a week or more.
The good news is that colic appears to stop after 3 months of age. So, if you are struggling with a colicky baby there is hope!
It is important to note that smoking mothers are shown to have a 14% increase in colicky babies. Most commonly in my experience colic has been due to food allergies. Allergens that are transferred to baby in moms milk can easily upset babies stomach. Some of the more typical foods I’ve seen that bother baby are beans, onions, eggs, nuts, dairy, soy, and wheat. If your baby is having extreme colic and you suspect that it might be food related I highly recommend that you seek professional help from a lactation consultant or pediatrician. Mothers are able to continue nursing when baby is experiencing food allergies, but they may have to incorporate an exclusion diet into daily life in order to calm babies upset tummies.
Typically a pediatrician will suggest Mylicon for infant gas problems and often to try for colic. Mylicon’s active ingredient is simethicone. Although this medicine is considered relatively safe for infants, I highly recommend that you read the label carefully before administering it to your infant. There is a potential to overdose from the product so ask you pharmacist or pediatrician before administering any more than the suggested dosage.
Don’t get too distraught when I tell you that there may be no cure for your babies colic except to grow out of it especially when it may be a case of an underdeveloped nervous system or temperament. Bu,t as a student of natural health and natural remedies I highly recommend trying several natural remedies before picking up a bottle of Mylicon.
Here are a few natural suggestions, remember to always consultant your pediatrician before beginning a new remedy or medication:
- Gripe Water- The main ingredients are ginger root, and fennel seed that are known to calm gastrointestinal upsets. Grip water is known to be a safe alternative to Mylicon drops. There are a number of brands out there.
- Infant’s Blend Probiotic - Although most mother’s breast milk naturally contain probiotics a probiotic supplement may be helpful to cure infant colic. This is especially important to note if you have an infant that came into the world in result of a c-section. Giving birth naturally helps baby’s intestinal flora to begin functioning properly with good bacteria and in a c-section it is a little difficult to kick start this process. I highly recommend an infant blend probitoic if you have a c-section or a baby seems to been having tummy problems. I highly recommend Udo’s Choice as a reputable brand.
- Homeopathic Remedies are also known to be helpful – Colocynthis, Cuprum metallicum, carbo vegetabilis are all known to be helpful remedies for colic. The good thing is when it comes to homeopathic remedies they are completely non-toxic so it is safe to re-administer them every 15 minutes to see if they are helpful.
- Other herbal remedies may include chamomile and peppermint water given in low doses.