Colic in infants: causes and effective ways to treat abdominal pain


What is colic?

Colic in infants is a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of severe abdominal pain. This pain is often associated with bloating and cramping in the digestive tract. Colic affects approximately 20% of infants and usually begins around the second week of life. The exact cause of colic is unknown, but there are several factors that may contribute to its onset. Abdominal pain caused by colic is very uncomfortable for the baby and can lead to loss of sleep for both the baby and the parents. Therefore, it is important to find effective treatments to alleviate the difficulties associated with this condition.

Symptoms of colic in infants

Symptoms of colic in infants usually appear between the ages of 2 weeks and 4 months. The main symptoms include repeated and uncontrollable crying spells that last more than 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks. The baby's abdomen is often hard and tense, and there may be bloating and flatulence. The infant often wriggles, pulls the legs towards the abdomen and shows signs of discomfort.

Possible causes of colic

The possible causes of colic in infants can be varied. One of the most common causes is immaturity of the digestive system. Infants have an imperfect digestive system that is still developing and therefore may be more prone to digestive problems. Another possible cause is excessive gas build-up in the intestines, which can cause painful cramps. Colic can also be caused by excessive swallowing of air during breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Sometimes colic also occurs as a reaction to certain foods that the mother eats and that enter the breast milk.

How to manage colic in babies

When your baby is struggling with colic, there are several ways to help him. First, try changing your baby's position. Holding your baby upright or leaning him forward slightly can relieve gas and reduce discomfort. Another option is to gently massage the baby's tummy in circular motions. Warmth can also help relax muscles and relieve pain, so try placing a warm diaper on the belly.

Sometimes noise or monotonous sounds, such as a crackling fire or trickling water, can also help. Many parents also try using special toys or objects to attract the baby's attention and distract him or her from the pain.

If the infant is still crying and suffering from abdominal pain, it may be appropriate to give him or her medication for bloating or whining. However, it is important to consult a paediatrician about the use of these medicines.

Remember that every baby is unique and what works for one may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to try different methods and find the one that helps your child the most.

Home treatment for colic

Home treatment for colic in babies can be an effective way to relieve abdominal pain. Some proven methods include a tummy massage, a warm bath, a change in position or applying a hot compress to the tummy. Herbal teas with cumin, fennel or chamomile can also be used, which have a soothing effect on the digestive system. It is also important to maintain a calm and quiet atmosphere when feeding and to avoid overeating.

When to seek medical advice

When you experience symptoms of colic in your infant, it is important to know when to seek medical attention. If the abdominal pain becomes frequent and intense, if it lasts for more than three hours, or if it is accompanied by vomiting or fever, you should contact your pediatrician immediately. The doctor will help you identify possible causes of colic and suggest an appropriate treatment plan. Do not ignore these symptoms and seek professional help for your child in time.

Preventing colic in babies

Prevention of colic in infants is important to minimize the occurrence of abdominal pain. Several measures can help reduce the risk of colic. The first step is proper breastfeeding or feeding of the baby, which includes proper positioning and technique when breastfeeding to minimize bloating. Next, it is important to avoid overfeeding and excessive air intake during feeding. It is also recommended to regularly perform a gentle tummy massage, which can help relieve gas and promote digestion. Preventing colic also involves minimizing stressful situations, such as loud noises or over-irritating the baby. Overall, it is key to provide a calm environment for baby and plenty of time to rest between feedings.

There are several recommended products that can help relieve colic in infants. One of these is a special valve pacifier that helps reduce air intake during feedings, thereby minimizing bloating. Another option is drops or syrups containing probiotics, which promote proper digestive function. The use of warm compresses on the baby's tummy or gentle abdominal massage is also recommended. Some parents have also seen success with herbal teas such as cumin tea or fennel tea. However, it is important to check with your pediatrician before using any product and to follow the recommended dosage.

Parents' experiences with colic in infants

Parents' experiences with colic in infants vary. Some parents report that their baby suffers from colic only occasionally and the abdominal pain is mild. Others, however, describe the situation as very difficult and exhausting for the whole family.

Parents often find that movement and gentle abdominal massage can help calm the baby. Some have also noted relief after applying warm compresses to the abdomen or after bathing in a tub of warm water.

Other parents have tried to change their eating habits, such as adjusting their diet if they were breastfeeding or changing formula if the baby was receiving artificial milk. Some said these changes could help reduce colic symptoms.

It's also important to note that every infant is unique and what works for one may not work for another. Parents should therefore try different methods and observe their babies' reactions.

In any case, it is important that parents do not lose patience and seek support from other parents or infant care professionals. Colic in infants is a temporary condition and usually subsides with age.

Colic in infants is a common and unpleasant problem that can be very distressing for parents. It is important to remember that colic is usually temporary and gradually improves. There are several ways to cope with colic and help your baby:

1. Soothing techniques:

2. If your baby is suffering from colic, try soothing him or her with gentle rocking or tummy massage. Sometimes a warm bath or a warm compress on the tummy can also help.

2. Change position. Some babies benefit from being worn in a swaddle.

3. Movement: light shaking or gentle circular movements can help to release gas in the digestive system and relieve pain.

4. Change of diet: For some children, changing their diet can help reduce symptoms of colic. Consult your pediatrician about possibly changing the baby's milk or adding probiotics.

5. Support: Remember that you as a parent are an important support for your baby. Be patient and provide affection and love.

It is good to remember that each child is unique and may respond to different methods in different ways. If your child's colic symptoms worsen or last longer than usual, it is advisable to seek medical attention. With the help of professionals, you can find the best way to cope with colic in your infant and make him as comfortable and calm as possible.

Published: 03. 12. 2023

Category: Health

Author: Simona Zábranská

Tags: colic | abdominal pain in infants