The word colic means spasm, or painful tightening of muscle. Some babies go through a period of having unexplained and regular crying each day. This usually happens during the early infancy or the first few months of life. These bouts of crying may last for a couple of hours and occur mostly in the late evenings and the middle of the night or early hours of morning. The baby is extremely distressed due to the abdominal pain. The baby seems to be inconsolable and may cause considerable concern to her parents due to the excessive crying.
Colic affects around one in three babies
Colic is extremely common in the first few months of the life of the babies. It is estimated to affect at least 20% of babies during early infancy. By the time the babies are 4 to 5 months old the symptoms of colic are eased.
Causes of Colic in babies
Digestive system of babies is still in developing stage in early infancy
The causes of infantile colic are not yet known. Some theories suggest that the digestive system of the babies is still in the developing stage in the first few months of life. As a result there is formation of wind in the abdomen which the babies are not able to pass out on their own. This results in abdominal pain and the babies cry. By the time the babies turn 4 to 5 months old the symptoms of colic disappear.
Fault in the mother’s diet
Some experts suggest that colic in breastfed babies is a result of fault in the mother’s diet. However, there is no scientific or clinical evidence to support this theory.
Whatever the mother eats passes on to the baby by way of breast milk. So health professionals have advised that mothers need to limit the intake of spicy food and allergic foods like eggs and soy. The rule for the breastfeeding mother is to eat anything and everything but in moderation.
Occasionally breastfed babies are helped by removal of cow’s milk and dairy products from their mother’s diet. This should only be done with the help of a doctor.
Colic in babies may be a result of other problems like lactose intolerance and gastro esophageal reflux disease
Even though the babies cry due to colicky pains it is does not affect their growth and they usually thrive well. If they are not gaining weight properly and not feeding well then the colic may be related to other health problems. In such cases the colic may be related to other problems such as lactose intolerance and gastro esophageal reflux. Lactose intolerance may also be associated with other food allergies like allergy to eggs and soy or dairy products. In reflux diseases the babies are not able to pass the milk from the esophagus into the digestive tract resulting in milk spillage.
Hence parents should regularly check the growth, weight and other developmental milestones with a registered childhood nurse. In case of any major health problems the parents should consult their health professional.