The cause of colic remains a mystery, to the dismay of many a parent who has spent sleepless nights attempting to calm a crying newborn. Efforts to soothe the baby through their ear-splitting wails are often in vain, which is distressing for both baby and the new parents.
About 40 percent of babies will be diagnosed with colic, which is defined as uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Cholic is diagnosed when a baby cries for at least three hours a day, and for three or more days a week in the first months of life.
Other symptoms of a colicky baby include urgent crying for no apparent reason – the baby isn’t hungry or cold or has a wet diaper. Crying often occurs at the same time each day, usually in the late afternoon or early evening. The baby might clench his or her fists, flail the arms, and pull up the legs. The baby might close his eyes and furrow the brows and might hold his breath. The baby might burp or spit up.
The medical profession hasn’t determined the exact cause of colic, although there are plenty of theories. One is the diet of breastfeeding mothers. Moms who eat a diet high in dairy, wheat products, coffee, and soda are thought to contribute to colic, although bottle-fed babies develop colic as well.
Gas is another theory. The baby might have a gas bubble caught in his belly, which can be made worse by crying because the baby gulps air that can get trapped in the digestive system.
Another school of thought believes that babies become colicky because of an undiagnosed gastroesophageal reflux – or GERD. The condition can become more painful in a baby’s swift-growing body.
The good news is that babies with colic will continue to develop normally despite the daily crying.
Did you know that studies have shown that chiropractic treatments for colicky babies can provide welcome relief? Home remedies can work, but it might take some trial and error to find the right treatment method because each infant is different. A chiropractor can help you devise a treatment program.
Some moms have found an improvement when they’ve cut out dairy, wheat, and caffeine in their diets. Swaddling a baby to put light pressure on the stomach has proven to be helpful, as well as back rubs, or laying the baby belly-down across your lap, or over the shoulder, to encourage the movement of gas.
Sitting the baby upright during feeding and burping the baby more often has also proven to help colicky babies.
Other colicky baby treatments moms have found helpful are laying the baby on his or her back in a dark, quiet room, infant massage, placing a warm water bottle on your baby’s belly, soaking him or her in a warm bath, and offering a pacifier.