When your little baby is rolling around in pain, it can leave you feeling utterly helpless, and just as vulnerable as they are. Because babies can’t speak or communicate their pain, they cry it. Often we have to take a calculated guess as to what is bothering them. One word that can strike fear into the heart of many parents is colic. What does it mean, how is it causing pain and what are the signs? How can you tell the difference between colic and a stomach ache?
Here at Brauer Natural Medicines we get asked these questions a lot. The truth of the matter is, colic is somewhat of a mystery. Medical science has still not been able to come up with a real reason or cause behind the symptoms of colic. Some suggest that it is a sensory overload for more sensitive babies. For example, they are sensitised to their exposure to sound, light or touch.
Research has lead some scientists to believe that an imbalance of intestinal bacteria is the root cause. We understand it’s stressful to be unsure as to how to treat your baby. We’ve come up with the 5 signs that can help you correctly diagnose and treat your bub’s tummy.
What is colic?
Colic is the term used for when a baby cries continuously and can’t be soothed. This is usually followed by gas, bloating and often a rigidity to your baby's tummy. Crying spells can last for hours and your baby cannot be settled down. Colic typically affects infants from the age of 2 to 3 weeks and can continue on until they are 3- 4 months old. It’s exhausting for both mum, dad and baby. The ceaseless screaming of a hurting baby is unpleasant for all.
How does it differ to stomach pain?
This is where the waters get muddied. Reflux, gas and bloating are all normal baby functions. Their systems are new and developing daily, strengthening. Sometimes they have a temporary reaction to foods that can be passed on from the mother during breastfeeding. For example, it is common for some babies to struggle with an upset stomach after the mother has eaten broccoli.
Also common among babies is an allergic reaction to the protein found in milk. This can be the cause of gas and bloat. Yet here is where it is clear that there is some action other than colic at play. Usually, there are other signifiers of an upset stomach that differ from colic. These can include diarrhoea, constipation, and a general fussiness. These are all signs of a stomach upset and should be treated separately than with colic. It's always wise to consult with your doctor to rule out any other potential diagnosis.
A good way to tell if your baby is gassy is if they pull up their legs and arch their back. You can ease the pain of trapped wind with your baby by giving them a gentle, circular massage on their tummy.
This can help to move the pockets of gas and cause them relief. Simultaneously, your touch and gentle movements soothe them. For a natural alternative to drug based medication, why not try Brauer Baby and Child range?
Our Stomach Calm is a natural, traditional homeopathic product that may help to soothe your baby’s stomach upset. Containing ingredients like Lycopodium, which has been used for centuries in the treatment of flatulence, dysentery and diarrhoea.
So what is a good indicator of colic over stomach upset?
Babies cry. It’s kind of what they are known for the first few months of their life. The difference is in being able to tell a generalised attention cry, to an angry, distressed and in pain cry. Check out these signs of colic crying to keep an eye out for and how they differ to the usual cries.
If your baby is crying for more than 3 hours a day, 3 times a week for over 3 weeks, then you are looking at colic. It's worth noting that the difference between normal crying and colicky crying is when your baby can't be settled.
As uncomfortable and distressing as it is to witness, do bare some facts in mind. It is worth remembering that colic is not a disease or in any way the cause of long term damage to your baby. It is not pleasant, though, for anyone involved!
What is the best treatment for a colicky baby?
There are several options for the treatment of colic. There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that probiotics are useful for some babies with colic. Also, touch and a gentle tummy rub, sound or motion can help some babies calm down. Any kind of motion or sound that emulates the beating of the heart and the flushing whooshing of the womb can stimulate calm.
This is thought to be because it reminds your baby of the comfort of being in the womb. So think about a warm bath too, as this can help to calm muscles and many babies are known to be eased by this. Many parents would prefer not to use medication on their young babies. This we can totally understand. Their delicate systems are still developing, and a natural alternative is often preferable.
If you are a parent looking for a natural solution that can help, look no further than Brauer Natural Medicine Baby and Child range. In particular our Colic Oral Liquid. It is an all natural product that includes ingredients which are traditionally used in homeopathic medicine for the relief of colic. This can be taken on its own or used along with some of the techniques listed above to potentially help ease your baby's colic symptoms.
Really, it’s about experimenting to figure out what works best for your baby. It’s a trying and testing time for everyone involved, but you must not despair or let it overwhelm you. It does come to a natural end, no matter how long you think it will last. The main thing to remember is that this is a phase that most babies and parents suffer through, much like teething.
Taking steps to mitigate the severity of colic or stomach upset issues is the best you can do. Grit your teeth and bear it and always try for the natural options. For more helpful hints, why not subscribe to our blog, Parenting Naturally? If you can't see the answers you are looking for regarding alternative and traditional homeopathic medicine for your baby or child, contact us on Facebook and we will do our best to answer.