What is Baby Colic?

Baby colic is a condition where a baby cries or screams frequently and
for extended periods without any apparent reason at all. The condition
usually appears within the first few months of the baby’s life and will
almost always immediately disappear as quickly as it had arrived at
around the time the baby nears its eight months of existence in the
outside world. Baby colic is more common in bottle-fed babies, but may
also occur in breast-fed infants. The crying frequently happens during
a specific time of the day which is often in the early evening.

Since the cause of infant colic has not yet been fully established as
well as the amount of crying differs between babies, there is no
general agreement on the definition of infant colic. But parents should
bear in mind that it is just a condition that can pass away in time and
not a disorder that may need immediate treatment. The only way to
distinguish if the baby is colicky is by ruling out other causes of the
crying. An accepted of thumb is if the baby cries intensely more than
three days a week, for more than three hours on every bouts of crying,
and for more than three weeks every month.

Although the actual cause of infant colic is not known as of the
present, medical professionals have made some observations as to why
the condition might be experienced by newborn infants. When born,
babies may still have an immature digestive system that has never
started on processing food.

The gastrointestinal system is literally just starting to learn its
function. Digestive muscles may have not yet developed the proper
rhythm for moving food efficiently through the digestive tract. This
might cause frequent and uncomfortable stomach upsets in infants and
might be able to explain why there is such a condition as infant colic
and why almost all infants outgrow colic within the first six or seven
months of life. 

Another explanation for infant colic may involve the mother. There4 may
be certain foods eaten by lactating mothers that may contain unsafe
chemicals and allergens that can result in colic discomfort and
digestive upset in babies.

Through lactation, trace elements of cruciferous vegetables and other
gas producing foods may be passed on to the baby through the mother’s
breast milk and cause gas and bloating in the infant. Babies often
swallow air while feeding or during crying, which might further
increase gas and bloating and further adding some discomfort to the
baby.

There is currently no generally-accepted medical treatment for infant
colic. Medical professionals may take different approaches in trying to
treat the condition. Many doctors believe that infant colic is
currently untreatable, and is best left to normally run its
course.  What mothers can do is try to make the baby
comfortable. Soothing measures, such as the use of pacifiers and gentle
rocking can be effective in calming the baby during crying periods.

Some parents can take turns holding the baby upright which also seems
to lessen the pain and crying of the infant. Certain homeopathic
remedies can also be utilized as an excellent option for treating
infant colic symptoms. Homeopathic treatment is considered safe and
completely allergen-free with no known side effects. It will be up to
the parent to consider such an alternative as long as they find it very
effective in handling the colic symptoms.

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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