Immediately after birth, each baby faces the outside world and hundreds and thousands of species of bacteria living in it. There are bacteria in mother’s milk, on the surface of every object that small hands touch, etc. Thus, the intestinal microflora of the child gradually begins to form. As a rule, this process lasts for 3-5 months until the composition of the microflora becomes relatively stable. During this period of life, the baby often has intestinal colic, which torments him and disturbs his parents. So, at this time it is especially important to give colic baby a lot of attention and care, including helping to form a healthy intestinal microflora. After all, the well-being of the child and even his development depends on what the microflora will be.
Why Does Intestine Need Bacteria?
In a normal healthy state, the intestinal microflora of a child consists of 97% of beneficial and neutral microorganisms, and 3% of harmful microorganisms. This ratio is called the microflora balance. If there is such a balance, then the baby feels good. He is active, interested in the world around him, eats and sleeps well. Bacteria that are involved in dozens of different processes in the body are very helpful here as well. This also concerns the production of vitamins and enzymes, and the process of absorption of nutrients in the intestines, and, very importantly, the formation of children’s immunity.
If the balance of beneficial and harmful microorganisms is disturbed, then all processes suffer. And this is a direct path to the problems with the child’s tummy, to frequent infectious diseases, and even to the developmental lag of peers.
Colic Baby: Symptoms
As you know, a baby is born with not fully developed organs and systems. You can see that during the first month the baby cries without tears, since the tear ducts are not developed. Thermoregulation is not fully established as well. The gastrointestinal tract is also still under development. Many enzymes that help in the processing of food, are not produced, so there are problems with digestion, among which – increased gas formation. As a result, the baby may feel colic. Here are the possible symptoms:
- Unreasonable worry of the child;
- The baby presses the legs against the tummy, which speaks of cutting, cramping pains in the stomach or intestines;
- Shrill screams for several hours, almost always towards evening, although the child had a good appetite throughout the day and was healthy;
- Sometimes there may be gases;
- Pallor may appear;
- The crying and anxiety of the baby begins shortly after feeding;
- A sign of food intolerance is frequent green slimy defecation (or, conversely, constipation).
Possible Reasons of Colic
- Incorrect feeding technique (when a baby swallows air with milk).
- If the baby is bottle-fed, hold the bottle at an angle of up to 45 ° in order for air to accumulate at its bottom.
- Consumption of large quantities of milk can cause gas in the stomach and regurgitation. In this case, it is better to feed the baby more often, but in small portions.
- Inappropriate formula.
- Wrong diet of a nursing mom.
- Also, there is an opinion that colic is more common in children whose mothers smoke.
How to Help Colic Baby?
Help can be divided into two groups: preventive measures, which help to prevent the occurrence of flatulence, and “emergency” ones, working if colic has already begun.
Preventive measures include the following:
- Checking the capture of the nipple by the child. Although breastfeeding is a completely natural process, babies still need to learn it. Proper breast grip protects children from swallowing air during feeding. With artificial feeding it is necessary to carefully choose the most suitable size and shape of the nipple for the bottle;
- Holding a child in a vertical position is a great way to help air masses swallowed in the process of feeding or crying to go outside and not get into the intestines. Even if the baby doesn’t have the habit of regurgitating after eating, holding a child this way helps to avoid possible problems.
Helping Colic Baby: Practical Advice
Since colic is not a disease and does not cause serious harm to the health of the child, you should not worry too much. However, it can be very stressful for babies and their parents.
Take care of comfortable conditions
Feeding should take place in a calm, comfortable environment, so that both you and your baby feel completely comfortable.
Be attentive to your own diet
In the case of breastfeeding, be very attentive to your own diet, because the substances contained in your food enter the body of the baby through breast milk. Some foods increase the formation of gases, they can cause colic in a child. In particular, spicy dishes, chocolate, caffeine, onions, bananas, grapes, cabbage, radish, legumes, etc. should be completely excluded from the diet.
Responsibly approach the choice of milk formula
If your child is on artificial feeding, you should consult a pediatrician. The doctor will help you find a suitable formula, in case the child has colic. Also try not to overfeed the baby. Control the amount of food your baby receives.
Keep air out of the feeding bottle
For bottle-feeding, use feeding bottles with a special anti-colic valve. It limits the amount of air that a baby can swallow while feeding from a bottle. Also it is necessary to choose the shape of the nipples, which will not allow the baby to swallow a lot of air. When you finish feeding, hold the baby upright for a while so that swallowed air can escape.
Bathing in warm water will calm the child and raise his spirits. You can put a warm blanket on your baby’s tummy to relieve pain. It is also good to just hold the child close to yourself to calm him/her down.
A light massage of the abdomen will help ease the pain and get rid of excess gas. Do the massage clockwise. The exercise “bicycle” will also help: put the child on his back and gently bend and unbend each of his legs in turn, pulling them up to his chest, as when riding a bicycle.
Periodically place the baby on the tummy
Put the baby on the tummy for 7-10 minutes after each feeding and gently pat him on the back. Children who spend more time on their stomach, as a rule, have no problems with defecation and gas. Also, a similar position of the child strengthens the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall, which stimulates intestinal motility. Sometimes mothers put the baby on the fitness ball (fitball). This is also an option. But always remember not to leave the baby alone in the room when he is lying on his stomach!
Recommended Medication for Colic Baby
There are medications to relieve colic. As a rule, they are made on the basis of vegetable components, such as fennel (its extract reduces pain and facilitates the release of gases, improves digestion and appetite), dill, anise. However, if you decide to resort to using medications, consult your pediatrician in advance.
If nothing helps
If your baby is suffering from pain, and none of the above means helps, you can use a gas extraction tube or an enema. You can learn how to use them right from your doctor or nurse.