What is colic?
Severe pain in the abdomen caused by wind or obstruction in the intestines and suffered especially by babies. It is the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. To qualify the crying as colic – more than three hours a day, more than three days in a week (there are variations in the nature of colic – these are just dictionary/google information).
Coming to us – We also had bouts of colic episodes with our little one. Though he didn’t have severe colic, but there have been episodes of crying which certainly mounted to being called colic.
So what would typically happen:
With us, somehow, the episodes usually started around evening and lead into the night. They do say that ‘Colic’ follows a pattern and the crying happens at the same time every time. For some severe or exceptional cases, I have heard that the baby cries all day long, regardless of anything whatsoever.
As a parent who is new to dealing with colic, you will realise that there is no particular, visible trigger for this crying. But if you do check on the tummy, it is either very tight or hard or bloated. And if you have been trying to breast feed or generally feed him (which usually works for everything or every time he/she cries), but this time around, he is just not latching and rather turning away crying – then that’s a sure sign that this is colic.
What is generally recommended for the first round of colic medicine is the Dill and Fennel oil with seminthicone drops (ColicAid Drops or T98 Drops in Mumbai). Usually their effect shows in around fifteen minutes. Once you give the drops, you are supposed to rock the baby. And one is asked to walk around with the baby. Somehow the vertical position helps them relocate or release the gas out better. Only when these don’t work, do they shift to a stronger dose. I will not write any particular name here as it won’t be right on my part. Even the pharmacy guy had once warned me about not over using these!
Often, all these medicine take some time to act, and your baby is howling in pain and you just want to do something magical and something less toxic.
There are these three things that have always worked for me –
1. Take one tea-spoon of Hing (Asafetida) and mix is with water to form a paste. Now apply this paste around the baby’s naval. Some even mix a little hing in water and feed it to the baby – but I would suggest to refrain from all grandma’s solutions that are fed – anything on the skin is fine, things taken inside – one needs to be more careful about them.
2. Walk around the house or take the baby out in open air. This somehow helps them feel better till the time the medicine takes to act.
3. If none of the above two seem to work, give the baby a warm water bath. And then try to feed him/her to sleep.
Also, if you know that the pattern has set in and you want to attempt to break it. Try gently cycling the baby’s legs in the afternoon – it is supposed to help them release the gas. And apply the Hing paste before hand.
Beyond all this, the best advice that I have received is – the mother or the person handling the baby needs to keep calm. If you get anxious, the baby also senses it and it adds to his/her anxiety, manifold. Also, for those, whom this happens more often than others – acceptance will solve half the issues. And also remember, it is a phase and it will pass by soon. Because dreading colic will do you no good. Face it as a strong mother and help your child combat it better.
P.S. Some recommend ‘gripe water’ to the baby, but I have refrained from it. Some research claims the presence of alcohol & other toxic substances in it.