What is Colic?
The strict medical definition of colic is a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks.
This crying is thought to be caused by discomfort in the digestive system. It generally occurs in the late afternoon and evening and during this time the baby cannot be comforted. They become red in the face and may draw the knees up. The baby may also seem to have difficulty passing wind and stools.
Prevention of Colic
Reducing the amount of air that a baby swallows at feeds may help to reduce trapped wind and so reduce colic pain. This may be done by changing the teat for a bottle fed baby. Changing to a hypoallergenic formula may also help to reduce colic in some babies.
For breastfed babies the mother may try excluding foods from her diet, particularly foods which disagree with her or which she eats in large amounts. Foods which may cause a problem include cow’s milk, alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate, spices, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and oranges. If you suspect that a particular food in your diet may be causing colic try to exclude it for a period of a week - this will be long enough to determine whether it helps to reduce your baby’s colic.
All babies should be winded well after feeding to prevent trapped air in the bowel.
Treatment of Colic
Simeticone is the ingredient in several preparations available over the counter to treat colic. This helps to break down trapped wind into smaller ‘bubbles’ which eases the discomfort and allows the wind to be passed more easily. Infacol® Oral Suspension has been specially formulated to relieve wind, infant colic and griping pain, it is suitable for use from birth. This product is sugar, alcohol and colourant free and comes with a handy integrated dropper for easy administration. Dentinox Colic drops are suitable from birth and work by gently dispersing trapped air. It is pleasant tasting and alcohol free. These drops can be added to baby’s bottle or administered using the spoon included.
You should visit your doctor if your baby is inconsolable for long periods of time or shows other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation associated with the colic. You should also consult your doctor if your baby is more than 3 months old as most babies ‘grow out of it’ before this age.