Colic in Newborn Babies

Colic in newborn babies presents with frequent daily episodes of inconsolable crying, which get parents very worried. Still frustrating is; by the time they reach the doctor's consulting, the baby is asleep, and the doctor says, “oh! it's nothing. Don't worry. Relax. This could be an infantile colic, which has passed away”

What is an infantile colic?

Daily episodes of inconsolable crying in infants that continue for hours without a significant identifiable cause. The affected infants are usually in good health; feeding well, passing adequate urine and stools (poop) regularly, and have neither fever nor rash.

Presentation

The fits of irritability usually occur at dusk or late in evenings, where as many others may have no predictable pattern ascribed to them.

Onset and resolution

Colic in newborn babies usually develops in first 2-4 weeks of life. These agonizing episodes usually resolve spontaneously typically
by 3-4 months of age.

Prevalence

Colics during infancy are very common. However, the available statistics depends on the number of babies that are taken for medical consultation. Consequently, the documented incidence of affected infants varies from 10-40 percent.

There is No noted predisposition for infantile colic depending on baby’s sex or the gestation age at birth.

Predisposing factors

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What causes colic in infants?

The underlying cause for colic is not clear. However, colic in newborn babies is attributed to -

  • Immaturity of the gastrointestinal system.

  • Immaturity of the nervous system.

  • Breastfed babies react to maternally ingested foods

  • Over or under stimulation of an infant.

  • Psychosocial stress

  • Depression in parents

  • Faulty feeding: Over feeding or Under feeding

  • Faulty feeding technique resulting in air swallow

  • Inadequate burping

  • Food allergies:
    Contributes to 10-15 percent of affected infants.
    Most frequently seen in cow milk and Soy allergy.

  • Disturbed intestinal microflora: For example; use of antibiotics

How can colic in newborn babies be relived?

Colicky infants can often be soothed with -

  • Rocking movements.

  • Close parental contact.

  • Gentle abdominal massage.

  • Avoid proteins that could cause allergy, for example; cow milk protein and soy products

  • Medical evaluation is essential to rule out any underlying sickness in the infant. 

  • Breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid in their diet:

    a.) Caffeine

    b.) Spicy foods

    c.) Citrus foods

    d.) Dairy products

  • Medications - To be administered after consulting a doctor

    a.) Simethicone

    b.) Use of probiotics for colic in newborn babies:
    The good bacteria, L reuteri, offer a rapid and natural solution to vexing problem of infantile colic. The effect of beneficial bacteria is curative rather than short lived symptomatic relief. The relief is most pronounced in breast fed infants.

    When compared with the response achieved with use of simethicone, gripe water probiotics are documented to be most effective in the clinical studies conducted.

    c.) Gripe water: Its use is very controversial

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