Everything You Should Know About Infant Colic
All babies cry. That's how they tell us what they want, or something's wrong. But when your baby cries for hours on end, you know it's more than communication. After some time, the tears wear you out, and nothing seems to work. What is making your baby so cranky? Could it be infant colic? Does your baby need Nospamin?
Newborns cry and get fussy sometimes. During the first 3 months of life, they cry more than any other time. But when a baby who is otherwise healthy has several periods a week of fussiness, high-pitched crying, and difficulty being comforted, it’s a sign of a condition called colic.
What Is Infant Colic And How Does Nospamin Help?
Colic is a bit of a mystery. The term applies to any healthy, well-fed infant who cries more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 weeks. But doctors may diagnose a baby as having colic before that point. Colic usually doesn't point to any health problems and eventually goes away on its own.
Here's what we know to be true of infant colic:
- Colic is likely to start around age 2 weeks if your infant is full-term (or later if premature).
- It almost always goes away on its own by 3 or 4 months.
- Your baby's sex and birth order, and whether you breast- or bottle-feed, don’t affect it.
- Kids who had colic as babies are no different from those who didn’t.
What Causes Infant Colic?
Colic’s exact cause is unknown, and that's why there’s not a clear way to help it. Some theories of what’s behind it include:
- A growing digestive system with muscles that often spasm
- Hormones that cause stomach pain or a fussy mood
- Oversensitivity or overstimulation by light, noise, etc.
- A moody baby
- A still-developing nervous system
Experts have suggested that cow's milk intolerance is a possible culprit, but doctors now believe that this is rarely the case. Breastfed babies get colic too; in these cases, the mother's dietary changes may help the colic to ease. Some breastfeeding women find that getting rid of caffeine in their diet helps. Others see improvements when they eliminate dairy, soy, egg, or wheat products. It's also been found that infants of mothers who smoke are more likely to have colic.
It may not always be Colic
- An infection
- Acid reflux or stomach problems
- Pressure or inflammation of the brain and nervous system
- Eye trouble, like a scratch or increased pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Injury to bones, muscles, or fingers
Treating Infant Colic: Does Nospamin Work?
First, no singular treatment has been proven to make colic go away. But there are ways to make life easier for both you and your colicky baby.
According to the manufacturer, Nospamin Paediatric Drops is used to treat gastrointestinal spasms, and as an adjunct in the treatment of peptic ulcer. But doctors don't prescribe Nospamin. Neither do they prescribe its friendly neighbour, Gripe water.
"Both Gripe Water and Nospamin have their risks, especially when parents are self-medicating," says Dr Rukeme Njokanma, paediatrician at the Lifeline Children's Hospital, Lagos. "There's a long list of side effects that may include blurry vision, respiratory congestion, eye itching/ local stinging, and constipation." We know you don't want that for your baby.
Doctors instead, counsel you on lifestyle changes that could help bring comfort to your precious little one. "The reason is that infant colic has a favourable course and outcome even without treatment. The symptom, which usually begins in the first few weeks of life resolves itself by the 3rd to 5th month of life," says Dr Njokanma.
She also says she doesn't give a prescription for infant colic. Instead, she takes time to counsel the parents on what she calls 'behavioral modification' and she gives parental reassurance. "A doctor when evaluating a baby with suspected infant colic should first exclude other organic causes of excessive crying and irritability. After doing so, and has diagnosed the infant to have colic, the doctor should offer supportive counseling, encourage behavioural modification and most importantly parental reassurance," she said.
How To Ease The Colic Symptoms In Your Baby
First, if your baby is not hungry, don't try to continue the feeding. Instead, try to console your little one — you won't be "spoiling" the baby with your attention. You can also:
- Walk with your baby or sit in a rocking chair, trying various positions.
- Try burping your baby more often during feedings.
- Place your baby across your lap on his or her belly and rub your baby's back.
- Put your baby in a swing or vibrating seat. The motion may have a soothing effect.
- Put your baby in an infant car seat in the back of the car and go for a ride. The vibration and movement of the car are often calming.
- Play music — some babies respond to sound as well as movement.
- Place your baby in the same room as a running clothes dryer, white noise machine, or vacuum — some infants find the constant low noise soothing.
- Some babies need decreased stimulation. Babies 2 months and younger may do well swaddled in a darkened room.
- You could also try reflexology (but you must know how to apply it).
Caring for a colicky baby can be extremely frustrating, so be sure to take care of yourself, too. Don't blame yourself or your baby for the constant crying — colic is nobody's fault. Try to relax, and remember that your baby will eventually outgrow this phase.
Also read: How To Bring Relief To Your Gassy Baby