During the second or third week of life your baby becomes restless and moody, begins to refuse food, to sleep poorly, to cry often. All these can be the signs of stomach ache as a result of increased gas production in the stomach, or baby colic in other words. Since the baby still can’t tell you about her problems, first, you need to identify the cause of such behavior, and then to find the ways to help the child.
Why does a baby’s stomach hurt?
The causes of stomach ache in babies can be several.
– Colic. This is the problem 70% of parents face. However, scientists nowadays don’t know the exact cause of colic in infants. After all, baby eats within the first weeks of life solely her mother’s milk or baby formula.
– Indigestion. Diarrhea or constipation often occurs when the milk is either low or high in fat. So, poor digestion can be the cause of tummy ache in infants. If the milk is high in fat you should give the child some water, but if the milk is low in fat – include a special baby formula into your kid’s diet.
– Stressful situations. Unfavorable psychological climate in the family can be another cause of stomach ache in infants. The child is very sensitive to psychological factors, and any mom’s mood swing may affect her digestive system.
Baby colic: signs and symptoms
Intestinal colic appears as a result of meteoric processes in the digestive system. The child’s organism poorly digests enzymes that get into her gastrointestinal with the mother’s milk, and this results in gas formation. Therefore, it is a normal situation when a child starts crying, 70% of infants suffers from colic. So, don’t you worry. You just should identify the symptoms of intestinal colic in time and find a way to solve the problem.
There are following signs of colic in infants.
– Refusal to eat. Parents think that their child is simply naughty when refusing a breast or a bottle. In some cases, she can start to suck, but then the kid keeps on screaming.
– Anxiety. The little one feels uncomfortable before the pain attacks. She begins to dodge, to groan, to behave restlessly, to whimper, to wry.
– Suddenness. If the baby starts crying abruptly, with no apparent reason when playing, when she is a good mood, then it is a clear sign of colic.
– Bloating and tension of the body. The kid starts to clamp her fists, to restlessly move her legs.
– Gas. When the child is crying, the bloating can be followed by gas. Thus, you can understand that the child has colic.
How else can you define that the baby is suffering from colic?
1. Measure the baby’s body temperature. In this case it should be normal.
3. Watch whether the child feels comfortable when lying on the tummy. If not, this can be a sign of an abdominal discomfort.
4. The baby doesn’t suffer from diarrhea or constipation, she eats well, and after the meal she starts to cry.
All these can be a 90% probability of abdominal colic.
Causes of baby colic
Doctors didn’t come to a consensus what causes colic. This can be both an improper diet of a nursing mom and the individual characteristics of the baby’s organism. Some pediatricians agree that there isn’t a single cause of baby colic but different kid’s body characteristics can be a manifestation of this bad feeling.
Most common causes of colic are the following.
– Lack of enzymes. A newborn gets food only when breastfed. Thus, her body lacks enzymes that would digest all the micronutrients. As a result, colic is caused by poorly digestible lactose, fermentation.
– Immature CNS. The nervous system regulates all life processes. A child’s central nervous system is still being formed, the body does not get the impulses to digest certain products.
– Dysbacteriosis of the gut. Good bacteria in the gut appear gradually. That’s why their lack can trigger colic.
– Increased flatulence. Baby’s stomach is still very small, and the gas produced stretches it. When the walls of the stomach are being stretched, both pain and cramps appear causing discomfort.
– Stresses. In some cases, according to experts, a stressful situation in a family can trigger colic.
– Mom’s bad habits. If an expectant or a nursing mom smokes, the nicotine interferes with the absorption of nutrients, which affects gastric motility of the newborn.
– Individual characteristics of the body.
How to tell that your baby has colic
If you notice that your baby is restless, if she cries often, then pay attention to the following factors.
– When does “excessive crying” start? If after and during the meal, this can be a sign of colic.
– What is the interval between crying? If the baby is crying for about 3 hours and then calms down, this is a sign of flatulence.
– Is your little one suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever? If she does not have these symptoms, the baby suffers from bloating then.
– Additionally, you can consult a pediatrician who will not only determine the cause of baby’s bad feeling, but will also prescribe the therapeutic and preventive measures.
Prevention and treatment of colic
If you noticed symptoms of intestinal colic in your baby, you should take the following measures.
– Reduce the number and volume of meals for the child. The kid’s stomach can have difficulties digesting food.
– Review your diet if you are breastfeeding. You should avoid the foods that cause colic.
– What is the room temperature? The child should not overheat, since the rate of metabolism is reduced in this case.
– Breastfeed correctly. Make sure that while feeding the baby is not swallowing air.
– After feeding, place the child her tummy onto yours or hold the baby upright and pat her back to release the air the baby swallowed. This helps to speed up digestion and to relieve cramps.
– If you feed the child baby formula, consult the pediatrician, maybe he will advise to change the formula. There are special therapeutic formulas that facilitate gastric emptying. In some situations, it makes sense to use low lactose baby formulas. You can change both the nipple and the bottle so that the child does not swallow air. Between feedings, place the baby on her tummy more often, do a tummy massage – stroke around the navel clockwise, press her legs to the tummy.
What foods can cause baby colic
When breastfeeding, you should avoid the following foods that cause baby colic.
– Whole milk. It contains lactose that usually is the cause of colic in infants by forming gas. A little one’s body poorly digests this product which can cause allergic reactions as well. So, you better drink yoghurt, kefir, sour milk.
– Spicy sauces. Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard irritate the intestine and cause colic in babies. That’s why you should avoid them when breastfeeding.
– Brown bread. Enzymes in such bread cause flatulence. When breastfeeding, you better prefer whole grain bread.
– Bean crops. Soybean, lentils, corn, beans, and peas are the products which cause colic in infants. You should include into your diet other foods containing protein like cheese, tofu, low-fat fish.
– Raw vegetables and fruits. Cellular tissue cause flatulence and some fruits can cause an allergic reaction as well. Therefore, you watch the kid’s reaction and if necessary, heat the vegetables and fruits you eat.
– Sweets. Chocolate and candies are the products which cause colic in infants. Hence, avoid eating them.
– Sodas. Not only Fanta or Coca-Cola can cause colic in infants, but a regular mineral water with gas as well. So, try to drink not strong-tasting tea or herbal tea.
A diet plan for nursing moms
When knowing what foods cause baby colic, you can create a proper diet. It can include:
– lean meats and fish;
– cottage cheese, sour milk, yoghurt, baked milk;
– buckwheat, rice, wheat grains;
– baked vegetables and fruits.
It is important to consider not only the foods that cause colic in kids, but also understand what foods can cause flatulence. Hence, you should:
– eat foods separately, not mix them;
– drink more pure water;
– eat small portions;
– avoid exotic foods.
At what age does a baby get colic?
None pediatrician will definitely answer the question when babies get colic, since it depends on the individual characteristics of the body.
But there’s a certain pattern in the manifestation of colic, the so-called “rule of three”:
– colic begins when the kid turns three weeks old;
– colic lasts for about three hours a day;
– children get colic mainly within the first three months of life.
Many believe this is due to changes in the baby’s body; others say about the changes in the nursing mom’s body, and that she doesn’t keep the diet recommended by the doctor as well. In any case, you should be prepared for the possibility that your kid will start behaving restlessly and will cry after eating.
At what time of day babies usually get colic? Every child is individual. But practice shows that babies are restless in the evening. Why in the evening? There can be several reasons:
– during the day, more bubbles with gas are accumulated in the stomach, leading to cramps;
– during the day, the child can experience lots of emotions. This affects the rate of metabolism and therefore the body can’t properly digest the food;
– during the day, mom can break the rules of her diet. Thus, some substances that cause colic will accumulate in the breast milk.
When does colic go away?
You will surely understand that colic has gone away once your little one is in a good mood. Usually, this happens in three months of baby’s life. Experts say that both kid’s body and digestive system start working other way and can cope now with the enzymes from mother’s milk or a baby formula. Taking into account the individual characteristics of the child’s body, one can say that in some cases colic ends by 3-6 months.
If also considering the ways to relieve colic, they will bother your baby less when you:
– perform a special baby massage;
– review your diet plan;
– place the baby on her tummy after feeding;
– give your baby special medications or drugs to treat gas.
Remember: intestinal colic is not a disease, but the way your baby’s digestive tract adapts to new conditions of existence.