Abdominal pain in infants in their first weeks of life is often caused by gases or “colic”, in professional parlance.
In this post, discover the causes and natural remedies to treat baby colic.
What is Baby Colic?
Infantile colic is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects about a quarter of the infant population.
It occurs during their first three months of life and is most common in babies as young as 6 weeks.
This phenomenon involves severe abdominal pain, excessive crying, convulsions, and clenched fists.
Although it’s considered a transient problem, it’s a significant source of distress for infants and parents.
Colic in babies is probably one of the most common reasons why parents seek medical advice in the first three months of their baby’s life.
What Causes Baby Colic?
Some of the reasons why colic may occur in babies are:
- Immaturity of the baby’s digestive system
- Sensitivity to lactose the baby formula might contain.
- If the baby cries while feeding or eats too fast, he may swallow air and then gases will form.
- Sometimes the baby is mistakenly thought to be hungry when crying, which can lead to over-feeding him.
This puts a strain on the digestive system and increases abdominal pain.
- Smoking during breastfeeding may also aggravate the phenomenon.
- Apparently parental anxiety may also contribute to baby colic, as babies of skilled parents seem to suffer less of this problem.
Basic Rules to Avoid Baby Colic
Foods You Should Add or Remove from Your Diet
If you are breastfeeding, know that your diet greatly affects your baby’s gases.
It is advisable to feed you and your baby with a light and digestible diet, cooked food, especially stews of whole grains and vegetables.
You should also avoid or reduce caffeine, tropical fruits, dairy foods, pastries, and spicy foods.
Don’t limit the breastfeeding time, let your baby get all the milk fat he/she needs and balance his/her sugar levels.
Go for a Walk with Your Baby to Relieve Colic
Walking with the baby on your hands or in a carrier while making small jumps may relieve the gases a bit.
Gentle jumps on a swiss ball may also help.
Sometimes just walking in the clear air and change of atmosphere, for him and for you, will calm your baby.
Songs, music, and soothing noises may sometimes help in calming the colicky baby.
Postures that May Relieve Baby Colic
Discover the position that makes it easier for your baby.
There are a variety of different postures, two of them are:
The “tiger” position, in which you lay the baby on your forearm, stomach down with the legs and arms on either side of your arm.
And the “fetus” position, in which you lay the baby with his stomach on your shoulder,
Then you sit on a chair and bend forward towards your knees with his face down.
Try different postures and discover what makes it easier for the baby when having gas attacks.
The helpful poses vary in the colicky babies.
Home Remedies for the Treatment of Baby Colic
Massage With Chamomile Oil
Abdominal and foot massages may well help relieve flatulence.
In the abdomen, you should use circular motions.
Care must be taken with the direction of the motions, depending on the direction of conduction of the colon.
Chamomile is known to be a painkiller and it also stimulates the digestive process.
Therefore, you can use olive oil mixed with chamomile essential oil, or chamomile infused oil.
When massaging the feet use circular motions and gently press the feet against the abdomen.
Warm Bath with Lavender Essential Oil
A warm and soothing bath sometimes relieves gases and abdominal pains in infants.
Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the bath, as it may soothe restlessness, ease pain, and also disinfect.
Fennel Seeds Infusion to Relieve Colic in Babies
Most products designed to relieve gas contain the active ingredient in fennel, Terpenoid Anethole.
This substance soothes the movement of soft muscles in the body and is most effective in soothing spasms in the digestive system.
When breastfeeding, drink fennel seeds infusion 3 times a day and it will relieve the gases in both you and your baby.
To make the infusion, simply smash a teaspoon of fennel seeds and add to a glass of boiling water.
You can smash them using mortar and pestle or any clean and heavy tool from your kitchen.
Let it steep about 15 minutes, strain, and drink.
Soak caraway seeds in boiling water for about 15 minutes, strain, sweeten with a little sugar, and let it cool.
Use a dropper to give a few drops of this infusion to the baby, three times a day.
Try to avoid using various products that are called “natural preparations” for the treatment of flatulence in infants.
Most of these products are uncontrolled and some of them may even contain alcohol.
Consult a pediatrician before deciding on the use of any preparation.
Finally, remember, warmth and love are the best treatment.
Do not despair, baby colic is a temporary condition that eventually passes by itself.