Baby colic and some tips for managing crying spells
During the first 3 months of the baby's life it may happen that at particular moments the newborn begins to cry desperately without any apparent reason or reason, with inconsolable crying that sometimes tends to last up to 3 consecutive hours. A situation that exhausts and exhausts the little one and worries the parents, burdening them with tension. It happens more often in the late afternoon than in the morning and it is one of the frequent disorders of the newborn: the "infamous" neonatal colic or gas colic .
It occurs in 15-25% of newborns and the main symptom is a long and intense cry during which the baby shakes angrily, becomes red in the face, bends and moves his legs or stiffens them, keeps his fists closed, he has a tense abdomen.
Usually the first episodes begin between the second and third weeks of the newborn's life , reaching a peak around the sixth.
But what are the causes of infant colic?
The nature and causes of colic are still unclear today; in fact, although they are sometimes accompanied by gas emission, only in a few cases is the cause indicative of an intestinal problem. Sometimes it is thought that some components of the foods present in the mother's diet - which are assimilated with breast milk - are not appreciated or tolerated by the newborn, such as legumes, cabbage, asparagus, onion or coffee and tea for their exciting action, dried fruit and spicy foods. However, some children may have difficulty digesting the proteins found in eggs and fish.
This does not mean that it is necessary for the breastfeeding mother to change her diet preventively by avoiding certain foods, but it will be useful to observe whether when they are eaten, they then create unwanted reactions in the baby.
If your baby is fed with a bottle and formula or artificial milk, it is important to keep in mind that, even if the different types of milk have the same nutritional values, not all of them can be digested well by all babies. In this case, a consultation with the pediatrician on the most suitable brand of milk could be useful.
Both in the case of breastfeeding and in case of formula feeding have also been associated as potential factors of gas colic :
- an imbalance of the bacterial flora in formation, especially regarding the number of healthy bacteria that compose it
- infrequent burping
- incorrect sucking during breastfeeding which leads the newborn to swallow too much air
- the use of inappropriate bottles and teats , i.e. not really effective in preventing colic .
One of the interesting theories on which gastroenterologists, psychologists and neurologists who have dealt with the problem have recently agreed is that in reality in this phase of the child's life an immature neurological development determines a pain threshold so low that the newborn perceives the real pain as pain. slight discomfort due to the presence of air in the tummy.
It is now defined as a "behavioral syndrome": medical studies carried out on infants with inconsolable crying who appeared irritated or agitated have in fact shown that in reality less than 5-10% of children present real disorders linked to illnesses, and that normally all Babies who have colic are actually healthy, strong babies who are growing well.
The colic they are a temporary situation which tends to disappear around the fourth month of life, when the problem gradually reduces in a natural and physiological way.
We can identify three warning signs to recognize neonatal colic starting from the length of the cry and revolve around the number 3:
- the little one cries more than three hours a day
- it happens more than three days a week
- It's been happening for over three weeks
After this observation, if all three conditions are present, a consultation with the pediatrician will be useful; in the meantime, parents will have to collaborate a lot with each other to deal with the right approach to a situation that could really be trying, exhausting and make you lose your temper.
Finding yourself in front of a child who cries a lot and not being able to calm him down creates dejection and frustration, to the point of actually losing patience. The first secret in these cases to maintain the right calm is to place the baby in the cradle and ask your partner or someone you trust to supervise him so that he can move away and momentarily distract himself with an activity that helps regain balance. You shouldn't feel like a bad parent, on the contrary! In this way you demonstrate great self-control and avoid falling into dangerous situations dictated by anger which can lead to extreme situations such as shaking, shaking or swinging the little one forcefully. This is very dangerous because there is a risk of causing sudden movements of the head which can create irreparable biological damage to the body and brain: the " Shaken Baby Syndrome" or "shaking syndrome" or "shaken baby syndrome".
What can we do to make a baby suffering from colic feel better?
There are no valid and effective remedies for all children, so it will be useful to proceed by trial and error until you find the solution, even a partial one, that best suits your little one.
Here are some tips to help calm a baby who is crying due to colic :
Make sure of his digestion after each feeding:
It's important for your baby to burp after each meal, as this can help him release any air he may have swallowed while eating. It is therefore advisable to keep it in a vertical position, placing it on our shoulder and "tapping" it gently on the back to aid digestion.
Keep him in the sling, heart to heart , talk and sing in a calm and affectionate tone as his mother's voice will make him feel reassured and consoled.
Cradle him in your arms if he appears to be too nervous or hot, freeing you from the fear of spoiling him; it is better to be guided by one's own sensitivity and maternal or paternal instinct and common common sense.
Massage your tummy with circular movements clockwise to relax the abdominal muscles.
Massage the back by placing the baby face down on your forearm. This can help release gas that has built up in your intestines.
Offer the breast for a few minutes or try a pacifier ; Both are comforting and calming situations.
Take advantage of the effect of the repeated rocking created by a stroller ride or place him/her seated on a vibrating seat or bouncer. Even a ride in the car sitting in the safety seat can be an excellent relaxant or sleep aid.
Reduce visual and sound stimulation at home in order to offer him a peaceful environment and exploit the background of "white noise" such as that of the hairdryer on, the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner, which have the power to relax.
- Change your diet: if you are breastfeeding it could be useful to try changing your diet to see if certain foods seem to worsen colic or provide relief: it is better to share your diet with your pediatrician, especially if there are foods such as dairy products, caffeine, cabbage or garlic.
Infant colic is a frequent problem not yet fully understood, with possible different levels of complexity; However, there are various strategies to improve the situation.
The pediatrician is the point of reference for evaluating the case and proposing solutions that may go beyond or accompany the initial attention mentioned above.
Including infant massage in your baby's well-being routine can help prevent colic; 10-15 minutes a day are enough, when the baby is calm and not crying, and it can be done by both mum and dad. A light gesture of love that can bring extraordinary benefits.