Wind & Colic in Babies

Wind and colic can affect some babies more than others and can start quite soon after birth and continue until they reach 3-4 months old. It is characterized by sudden outbursts of crying, apparent abdominal pain and the drawing up of their legs towards their stomachs.

Babies with colic can be very irritable and not settle well and sleep can be short and disturbed, (for both parents as well as baby!!). There is no known exact cause but some babies seem more susceptible to wind and colic, than others do.

During the action of crying the baby can suck more air into its gullet and this can perpetuate the problem. Sometimes a baby who cries persistently is demonstrating a part of its personality and the colic is seen as a symptom which follows, not necessarily a cause. The important element is to try and pacify the baby and reduce the crying element. Holding and cuddling may be all that is required.

A colicky baby will often thrive, weight wise. so it is rarely a digestive problem. Certain foods associated with producing flatulence in adults e.g. cabbage and pulses, may have the same effect on a young baby so if you feel there is a link, avoid giving those foods.

Gently massaging the baby's tummy or attempting to rub the back to help expel wind is both useful. Some babies have a strong urge to suck even if they are not hungry and may require to be pacified, try giving a small bottle of boiled water with a small hole in the teat. If the baby's motions in their nappy are an abnormal color and odour, there may be an underlying reason for the colic symptoms.

Occasionally babies fed on bottled milk can be allergic to the cows milk and may require a Soya or goats milk substitute. To ascertain whether there is a form of milk intolerance, trials using alternatives could be tried over a 1-week period.

If colic symptoms persist past the 4 month stage or become difficult to cope with, it is important to seek help from your health visitor or family doctor. Also ask for any support you need from friends and relatives if you are tired and need a break, so that a crisis does not develop within the family home.

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