Coping With Colic

A new baby with colic is one of the most difficult problems a new parent has to cope with. Most new parents are under pressure trying to deal with a new routine and lack of sleep, the added burden of a crying infant you seem powerless to help can be overwhelming. The only comfort that can be offered is, with 1 in 5 babies developing colic, many other parents are suffering too and that by the time the baby is four months old the problem normally disappears.

The normal symptoms of colic are continuous loud crying, flexing and extending the legs, clenching fists and often a distended tummy. Very often this occurs in the late afternoon or early evening, although it can happen at any time.

So what is colic and is there a remedy for it? There are many possible causes, but initially the most important thing that a parent must do is establish that the child is actually suffering from colic and there is not another reason for the crying. Colic, however distressed the baby seems, is not life threatening, but it is essential not to assume a crying baby has colic, check with your doctor immediately.

Once colic has been diagnosed you should try to identify the cause. If you are breastfeeding avoid foods that are likely to cause gas. Make a note of what you are eating, baby may be intolerant to something in your diet, including dairy products. If the baby is bottle fed your doctor may suggest a change of formula. Don't overfeed the baby, we all know that bloated feeling when we have overeaten, so why shouldn't baby feel the same. Try hard not to get stressed, I know this isn't easy but many experts believe that babies are sensitive to stress around them and react. It's a catch 22 situation, the more crying the greater the stress. Try to take turns in dealing with the crying baby, even rope in grandparents or a close friend so that you can walk away for 30minutes.

A continuous soothing sound such as a washing machine or tumbledryer often works. There are CD's available that can help and I found that a tape of sea waves worked well, particularly when gently rocking the child.

Seek your doctor's advice on medicines, he may recommend some colic relief. If colic has been diagnosed but there is any change in the baby's behaviour, go straight back to your doctor, it's better to err on the safe side.

Finally remember that it will pass, in a few months that screaming bundle will be toddling about getting into more mischief than you can possibly imagine!

This article is for information only. You should always consult your doctor before commencing any treatment and no liability is accepted.

Margaret Tye runs the FromTots2Teens website that offers information on supplies for children of all ages as well as advice on health and other child and teenage related problems.

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