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Health Tips / Colic

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Most babies experience colic which can range from an occasional mild episode to a severe and painful condition. This can start from as early as two weeks and can continue until the infant is three or four months old. Persistently loud crying and irritability of the child are signs associated with colic. The infant may eat well and gain weight but seem excessively hungry, sucking on everything that they can. Sometimes the crying occurs at the same time each day. Current theories on the exact cause of colic include that it may be a type of cramp in the intestine; others believe it is associated with drinking too fast and taking in too much air; a third theory is that colic is associated with an intolerance to milk or more specifically to the milk sugar lactose (lactose intolerance), while others believe it is associated with stress. Irrespective of the reason, colic can result in a very uncomfortable condition for babies and a very anxious time for parents.

Preventative measures 

Both preventative measures and treatments may require experimentation by the parent to find the most appropriate method of reducing colic. These include examining the type of bottle, teat, food, and how the baby is held and rocked.

Changing bottle types can be useful in preventing colic. Most bottles need air to flow in through the hole in the tip of the teat to remove the vacuum, interrupting the flow and rhythm of sucking. Anti-colic bottles such as Canon Avent range have a one-way air valve, which opens and closes with baby s natural suckling rhythm, letting airflow into the bottle and preventing the baby taking in air and developing wind. Disposable bottles are particularly useful as the bottle bag contracts during feeding, just like the breast, the baby swallows less air, reducing the risk of colic.

If the baby drinks the feed in less than 20 minutes, it is suggested that the bottle-teat be changed to a slower flow one. Regular breaks should be taken during feeding and the baby regularly "winded".

The choice of powdered milk may need to be examined. Changing to a different brand may prove successful in preventing colic. More specifically, if lactose intolerance is suspected, then a non-lactose baby food may be suitable. Many of these products contain soya including INFASOY, WYSOY, and SMA LF.

Where the infant is breast-fed, the mother may need to experiment with her diet, perhaps avoiding spicy or acidic fo od.
How the baby is rocked and held can also be significant. Most babies enjoy being held close and are comforted by close body heat.

Non-Prescription Treatments 

The parent may need to investigate a number of treatments and preventative measures in order to reduce the incidence of colic. Many parents have found that colic can be reduced in severity and frequency by rocking the infant in the cradle or holding in the arms, massaging the baby s stomach in an anti-clockwise movement. Other frequently tried methods include bringing the baby for a short car journey.
Again, ensure that the baby drinks slowly and is "winded" frequently.

DENTINOX and INFACOL are dimeticone (also called simethicone) containing products for infants which help to break-up wind. DENTINOX may also be added to the feed.

Further Information on the medicines listed above including dosage is available at

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Last update: 16/05/2013 12:38 • Previous update: 30/11/-0001 00:00