Crying is one of the ways a baby communicates and the average infant cries between two to three hours a day. Colic presents as a constantly irritable baby who is well-fed and otherwise healthy. The clinical definition of colic follows the Rule of Three: violent crying three hours per day, three days per week for at least three weeks. It can begin about 3 weeks following birth up to 3-4 months of age.
Suggested causes may include gas, lactose intolerance, food allergies, constipation or structural weakness within the infant’s stomach area. Any of these causes may be attributed to nerve dysfunction and joint misalignments within the spine resulting from the birthing process. This can negatively affect the communication between the brain and the digestive organs.
There are many babies that are irritable, yet do not meet the criteria for colic. They can be described as one who is generally difficult to calm, is only content when held, is at times inconsolable even when physiological needs have been met and cries more often than a content baby. Many of these babies are irritable due to a musculoskeletal origin and may present with an unusual posture, often arching their back, muscle tightness along the spine and sleep disturbances.
Top tips to ease the pain of colic and irritable babies:
#1 – Have your baby assessed by your family Chiropractor. Function of your baby’s spine and nervous system can play an integral role in the overall health of your child. Healthy babies, free of nerve irritation, are happier babies. Musculoskeletal irritation can cause a great discomfort for the baby, thus causing the irritability.
#2 – Dietary considerations. Food allergies are of interest when it comes to colic. Many clinical studies have shown that the baby’s discomfort may be caused by reactions to certain foods. For example, many children have been known to be intolerant to milk proteins from cow’s milk, either in their formula or through the mother’s breastmilk. Pasteurized cow’s milk consumed by a breastfeeding mother has been shown to be a trigger for colic. Other common food allergies to consider include soy, nuts and gluten.
Fruit juice should also be avoided. Mothers should be taking Vitamin D, B vitamins and omega 3 oils. There are antispasmodic teas which can offer therapeutic relief. These teas include chamomile, fennel, licorice and lemon balm. These can be ingested either by the mother or the infant by using an eye dropper (10 to 20 drops).
#3 – Quality Probiotics for Mother and Baby. Probiotics repair and support the infant’s digestive system.
#4 – Correct Breastfeeding Technique. If a mother – baby duo are struggling to successfully breastfeed, advice from a lactation consultant can be very helpful. Some newborns struggle to get a good latch on the nipple, which may be due to poor breastfeeding technique or inability to open their jaw fully. If it is the latter, a visit to the Chiropractor may help release any restrictions.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask your healthcare practitioner at evolve Nurturing Vitality.