Infant colic: causes and guidelines for parents

Some of the main reasons for consulting the doctor are usually those related to infant sleep, feeding, lactation and infant colic. Today we are going to deal with the latter, since It is common to cause anxiety and bewilderment to parents.

The most widespread definition of infant colic describes them as episodes of intense and vigorous crying at least three hours a day, three days a week for at least three weeks in a healthy and well-nourished baby.

Most often they appear around six weeks of age, and Crying crises are described as abrupt, high intensity attacks that appear at the end of the day. The improvement appears around four or six months postpartum.

How are the crises?

The characteristic is that babies adopt a very typical position: they place themselves flexing the thighs on the abdomen, clenching the fists, with the face reddened and the abdomen very tense.

These episodes can last from several minutes to hours. In the periods between the crises, the little ones are completely asymptomatic and smiling and during their follow-up they eat and gain weight normally.

Causes of infant colic:

The causes of infant colic are multifactorial, that is, there is no single cause that causes them, and often there are several predisposing factors that cause a particular individual to suffer them:

  • Organic factors: immaturity of the digestive system, lactose intolerance, etc.
  • Behavioral factors: baby temperament, behavior at home (new parents), use of liners, type of lactation, deficit in the grip, etc.
  • Anatomical factors: presence of lingual frenulum, alteration in the palate, low weight, etc.

What can we do?

The first thing we have to say to reassure parents is that It is a benign process, for which there are no universal remedies.

The main thing is to comfort our babies and attend to their crying, this always, since letting him cry is not only going to make the colic subside, but it can also cause other complications at the physical and psychological level in the child.

Before the crying of our son we must discard logical causes: that is hungry, cold, heat, sleep, dirty diaper, etc. It is true that As the weeks go by, the parents are able to identify the type of crying our baby and, based on that, know how to cover what needs.

We must rule out any pathology or disease, such as an earache or pain in the gums. For this it is important to go to the pediatrician when we see that our baby may have some kind of pain.

If from the medical point of view our baby is healthy, but we suspect that he may suffer from infant colic, it would be interesting go to a specialized center with a multidisciplinary team.

What is an infant colic consultation?

We at MaterNatal we approach it in a multidisciplinary way, and in the consultation they usually collaborate matron, pediatric nurse, physiotherapist and, in the necessary cases, the psychologist.

The first thing we will do is a history of childbirth, pregnancy, first days of life and family history. Then we will perform a physical examination of the baby: abdomen, diaphragm, oral cavity, signs of atopic dermatitis, etc.

In the same query we observed a baby taking, either breast or bottle, to rule out problems of grip, since in many occasions these are usually a reason for you to swallow air. Finally we perform the treatment with physiotherapy or osteopathy and give the guidelines to the parents.

Guidelines to parents:

  • If we breastfeed we must avoid tub liners or pacifiers that can produce a nipple confession. In addition, we should offer a breast until the baby releases spontaneously. That is when we will change the other, after having expelled the gas. We have to make sure that the technique of the grip is correct and that it does not present a lingual frenulum so that it has a correct mobility of the tongue.
  • If we give a bottle, it is important that the technique is also correct, and that we make sure that there is no alteration in the mouth. We can choose an anti-colic bottle that regulate the flow of milk output, and opt for low lactose milks.
  • It is important that after the taking keep the baby upright so that it expels all the air.
  • We can offer dietary guidelines to the mother if we suspect that the baby may have intolerances or allergies: remove dairy products, gluten, eggs, nuts, soy or fish for two or three weeks to check for improvement. In the event that there is and that is breastfeeding the baby, a somewhat restrictive diet will be maintained, and if there is no improvement, all the foods that we had advised to withdraw will be reintroduced.
  • Infant massage, performed by parents or caregivers. Also by a physiotherapist specialized in infant colic.
  • Always listen for the baby's cry.
  • Encourage skin with skin. He has shown that this technique causes babies to cry less. Also the ergonomic portage. In this way we ensure a correct position of the baby that will help to expel the gases. In addition, by having it close we will respond immediately to your demands.
  • Slightly incorporate the head of the crib.