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Colic

ColicDoes your baby just seem to scream all the time, or at a specific time each day, for no apparent reason?

You have checked that she is dry, warm, fed and comfortable and yet the screaming does not seem to stop?

 Well, your baby could be suffering from Colic. Colic is defined as periods of crying, fussiness and discomfort that last longer than three hours a day, for more than 3 days a week and 3 weeks or more, and is not caused by a medical condition.

 You don't need to feel alone, nor that you have done something wrong, as Colic is believed to affect up to 40% of babies in early infancy.

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What Causes Colic?

You are not going to like this answer...No one really knows the cause of Colic.

It is believed to be any one of the following... or perhaps a reason not even listed here!

Your baby may be suffering from one or more of the following:

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Holding and Carrying techniques

  • Carry your baby in a Baby Wrap or Carrier. The baby will like to feel close to you and the warmth, on their tummy, from you, may help to ease symptoms. This will also free up your arms to get other chores done, or do activities with older children.
  • Try the Colic hold: Holding your baby over your forearm, so that its legs, near your elbow, and arms near your wrist, hang on either side of your arm, their tummy rests on your arm, and head in the palm of your hand. This can provide some relief, as it places pressure on the stomach region and may help the baby to pass winds. You can even put a warm pack between your arm and their tummy for added relief.
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Causes of execessive gas

All babies have gas or wind to some degree. Gas can cause bloating, cramping, burping, flatulence and of course, crying. Trapped gas or excessive gas production in your baby can cause significant discomfort and can lead to great distress in your baby, and can present in a similar way to Colic one of the causes of Colic.

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Symptoms of Colic

Symptoms of ColicColic is different in every baby.

The symptoms vary as do the timing and duration of the crying periods.

Your baby may experience all, or only some, of these symptoms. Some of these symptoms below will also occur from time to time in a perfectly healthy baby. But when in doubt always seek advice from your Health Care Practitioner.

 

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Infant Gas

All babies have gas or wind to some degree. Gas can cause bloating, cramping, burping, flatulence and of course, crying. Trapped gas or excessive gas production in your baby can cause significant discomfort and can lead to great distress in your baby, and can present in a similar way to Colic one of the causes of Colic.

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How to reduce infant gas

  • When feeding your baby, ensure that he is lying with a straight spine and that their whole body is in the same direction. In other words, if breast feeding, the baby should not be lying on his back with his head turned towards your breast. This can make swallowing very difficult, and can cause additional gas build up in their system. Use a feeding cushion to help you position your baby correctly. A new feeding cushion has just been launched in South Africa and we hope to have it listed on our site shortly, so keep checking back!

      

  • Burp your baby frequently during feeding. The Chiropractic profession recommends gentle but firm upward stroking to help your baby pass wind. They suggest that patting can cause the diaphragm to stiffen which prevents the gas from escaping.

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The information in this article was reviewed for medical accuracy by, Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.