Friday, April 5, 2013

Dealing with Colic

Please see updated post on this topic October 2015

I think the most common calls I get are about fussy, gassy babies. ( although I sure do talk about poop a lot, perhaps it's a tie). Often these colicky kids have wretched periods during the late afternoon and early evening when it seems to be especially hard to settle them ( I refer to this as the witching hours)

With most of my patients this usually seems to improve at least a little once you hit the 3 month mark ( keep your fingers crossed)
If one of those gassy babies is yours and you are breast feeding, the first thing I will ask is about your diet. I know that not everyone agrees that there is a connection, but in my case I swear to you that if I even looked at cabbage my kids cried for a week.
The biggest culprits in my opinion are:
caffeine ( in tea and chocolate among other things)
gassy foods (like cabbage, onions, broccoli)
spicy foods

What I suggest you do is see if you can establish a connection between an extra fussy day and something that you recently ate.
Hey look, I have some moms that know perfectly well that coffee is a problem but drink it anyway because they can't face the day without it.

As always, it is a balance. It is worth finding out if there is a connection between your diet and your babies gassiness but then make whatever choice works best for you.
The other thing that breast feeding moms should pay attention to is hind-milk. The milk that the babies get as they empty a breast is helpful with digestion. Sometimes greenish stools ( not necessarily something that I worry about) and increased gas issues are because they are switching breasts too soon and never getting to the hind-milk.

If you haven't found any magic cures from a diet elimination, it is perfectly find to experiment with some different colic remedies
*Simethicone is the ingredient found in most of the OTC gas drops that you can get at a drug store. Some of the name brands are Mylicon or Little Tummies. Simethicone drops are very safe and helpful in about 70% of my patients. They are certainly worth a try.

*Homeopathic colic remedies come in a few products. I am most familiar with Coccyntal drops by the Boiron company) and colic tablets by Hylands
These seem to help about 60 % of the time. I consider them fairly harmless if used properly. They too are worth having in your arsenal.
*Grippe Water is an herbal remedy that can be found in many health food stores or Whole foods. I find this helps about half of the time. Stools might get a touch green with this (not to worry)

*Brew some chamomile tea, add a few grains of sugar and give a dropperful or two to your baby. This also helps about half of the time.
(You may have a couple of months of colic ahead of you, you will have plenty of time to try all of these)

*Don't forget about massage! Go on line and check out baby massage techniques on You-tube.
( there is a book called itsy bitsy yoga that gives you some yoga poses for your baby that might help with colic)

*Get up and dance. Hold your baby over your shoulder with their knees tucked up in fetal position. Give firm pats on the back. Sway, bounce and sing. ( I teach the "shuffle" at my baby boot camp class)

I read a study some where years ago that postulated that kids with lots of colic symptoms ended up with higher IQ's
Hold that thought....
As with everything, this stage will pass. Enjoy the calm moments.

~Nurse Judy

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