Colic is an acute
abdominal pain probably caused by abnormal bowel functions and
What to look for
Colic is thought to occur
when the bowel in a baby contracts more regularly than an adults slower peristaltic
movements. It is characterised by:
loud screaming lasting
for hours, three or more days a week and the baby is usually difficult to comfort.
Crying for long periods
after a baby has been fed.
while crying, the baby
draws his knees up over his stomach as if he has a stomach ache.
bowel movement or wind at
the beginning or end of crying episodes
It is very common for
children to experience colic and although uncomfortable for the child and exhausting for
the parents it is a relatively harmless condition that ends after the child is 4 months
The cause of colic is not
known. Experts attribute it to any number of things, including an infant's immature
digestive system, weaning the child too early, allergies, hormones in breast milk, and
overfeeding. It is worsened when the baby cries as he or she takes in extra air which can
exacerbate the problem.
There is no actual cure for
colic, although you can often find relief from many at-home remedies have proved helpful
in soothing colicky babies. Always try to be calm and curb your anxiousness as this can
inadvertently be communicated to your child and it will make the condition worse.
Do not ever punish a child
with colic. If you feel you cannot cope, leave someone else with the child for a few
moments while you relax calm yourself.
If you suspect your child
has colic, call your paediatrician. After ruling out possible medical causes of prolonged
crying, most doctors recommend simple remedies you can perform at home.
Some encourage parents to
talk with other parents for support. Give the baby something safe to suck, this will
distract them from the pain. Also rhythmic rocking or walking with the baby is soothing.
- Teas made with herbs containing carminative oils, which reduce inflammation
in the bowels and lessen gas production, may help a colicky child.
(Try teas made of chamomile, lemon balm,
medicine offers several over-the-counter colic remedies that are considered safe to use
without prior consultation with a Homoeopath. Seek help from a professional if your child
does not respond to a remedy within 24 hours.
Try massaging your childs stomach with
chamomile or peppermint in a clockwise direction. Never give
aromatherapy oils to children younger than 2 weeks. (see our section on aromatherapy).
Be consistent with the
ways in which you pacify the child
Give your baby things to
distract him or her.
Motion can relieve colic.
So take them for a walk, or drive or gently rock them.
White noise may soothe
Wrap the child snugly in
a blanket to provide a sense of security and comfort.
Use a warm water bottle
to sooth the pain
Ask a relative or friend
to take over when you feel yourself getting frustrated or exhausted.
When to seek further
your baby has never had
bouts of colic are
accompanied by fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, or
your baby's crying sounds
painful, not fussy - indicating injury or illness is causing the distress.
your baby is older than
three months and still acting colicky; behavioural problems or illness may be the cause.
your colicky child fails
to gain weight and is not hungry, which suggests illness.
you're exhausted or fear
stress might lead you to hurt your baby.