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Handling colic in babies – Part 2

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There are old wives tales on handling colic that a lot of mums still attest to and work for them. While Colic in local dialects will refer to pain in the navel area, which they also claim is associated with the healing process of the fallen cord detached from the placenta at birth, Dr. Yaro says that grandparents, aunts and some of her patients’ mothers have been able to manage colic with these methods:

. Adding chamomile tea to your baby’s milk.
. Using water infused with Mint/pepper mint leaves.
. Laying your baby tummy down on your laps, and patting her back.
. Administering remedies like Gripe water, Infacol, Dentinox etc.
. Carrying your baby piggy back (the traditional ‘backing’).
. Applying warm compress to her tummy.
. Feed them more frequently.

“The truth is some of these remedies work and most mothers swear by them, but the scientist in me cannot endorse all of them,” she said.The child advocate and mum said that colic in some cases, may be a sign of sensitivity to food in a breastfeeding mother’s diet, or to the milk protein in the formula. “If you think your baby might be sensitive to your breastmilk, talk to his pediatrician.

“He/she might ask you to eliminate dairy products and other known allergenic foods from your diet for a few weeks. If your baby is formula-fed, the doctor might suggest switching to an extensively hydrolyzed or hypo-allergenic formula.”Dr. Yaro further stressed that if you think your baby might have colic, let your baby’s doctor know. He or she may want to check your baby for illness or discuss possible changes to your diet or your baby’s formula. However, if the diagnosis is colic, give these strategies a try:
Swaddle: This mimics the snug sensation of the womb to help your baby feel secure.

Try motion: Cuddle your baby close and rock her back and forth, put her in a sling /carrier or the traditional “backing” (piggyback) and walk about. The body contact and rhythmic movements may help to settle her down.

Offer a pacifier: For many infants, sucking is extremely soothing. Consider offering your baby a pacifier.
Give a massage: Soft strokes on your baby’s back, belly, arms, and legs can comfort and distract him during crying spells.
Use white noise: Your baby might be lulled to sleep by the sound of a hand dryer, fan, vacuum, a rainfall recording, or gentle shushing noises.
Go for a car ride: Taking them out in the car (something about the vibration of the car running can be soothing).
Check your diet: If you’re breastfeeding, cutting out known allergens in your diet like dairy, wheat, caffeine and spicy foods might help.
Bicycle her legs: Push them one by one towards her tummy while she is lying on her back. That might help release some gas.

While Colic isn’t forever, it often peaks when babies are about six weeks old, and begins to fade away between three and four months. Most infants (80 to 90 per cent) are over colic by the time they are four months old.Dr. Yaro added that always remember to share your feelings and frustrations with family members or close friends and ask for help so you can get some time off to rest and take care of yourself, too.

Having a colicky baby is a big deal and it may seem like an overwhelming situation now, but the good news is you are not alone in your struggle. Colic isn’t a disease and won’t cause your baby any long-term harm.So hang in there, there is light at the end of the tunnel.


In this article:
Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
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