Other names :
Infantile colic, six week colic.
Intermittent spasms of the intestine causing crying in babies.
There are many arguments about infantile colic, whether it really exists, what causes it, what (if anything) should be used to treat it, and if it is a disease restricted to western society rather than infants of all economic and ethnic backgrounds. It is probably caused by a spontaneous spasm of the small intestine, but no reason for this spasm has ever been proved. Changes in diet and formula, different foods for the mother of breast fed infants, alterations to feeding times and positions, vitamin and naturopathic supplements, increases or decreases in the degree of attention paid to the child have all been tried to ease the problem. Some experts blame anxiety in the mother, particularly with a first child in a family without extended family support, for causing anxiety in the infant, and subsequent gut spasms. Mothers of babies who have suffered are in no doubt that it is a real entity.
A very common problem between 1 and 4 months of age.
Mothers who have sufficient physical and emotional support, and are relaxed about their mothering, seem to have babies who suffer less colic.
There are no tests that can be performed to confirm the diagnosis, and there are no clinical examinations that can be considered objectively.
As a new mother begins to establish a routine in her management of her infant, the pattern may be rudely shattered by the onset of six week colic. The baby starts screaming for no apparent reason, draws the legs up and looks pale. After a few minutes, the attack subsides, and although a little reticent, the infant appears quite normal again. After another short interval, the screaming starts again. This pattern can repeat itself for quite some time, several times a day. Eventually, usually at 12 to 16 weeks of age, the colic eases, the mother relaxes, and the treatment being tried at that time is credited with a miraculous cure.
Changing the feeding position, rate of feeding, frequency of feeding, and time of feeding may all help. If these ideas do not help, numerous gut antispasmodics (see Medication Table) of varying efficacy are available over the counter from chemists. Paracetamol drops are often the most effective and safest treatment. Anxiety in the mother can be transmitted to the baby, and this often exacerbates the problem. If mother and/or child are very distressed, doctors can treat the mother's anxiety with appropriate medications.
Changing the formula is rarely beneficial, but breast fed babies are less likely to develop colic than bottle fed ones.
These babies should be checked by a doctor to ensure that there is no more serious cause for their apparent stomach pain
Infantile colic always goes away in due course, and assistance from family and friends in caring for the baby can often give a new mother a little free time for herself, to gather her composure, and prepare for the next interrupted night of intermittent screaming.
Maternal and Child Welfare clinics are run by state governments in many suburbs of major cities, and most country towns. Residential accommodation is available for mother and their babies who are having serious problems coping.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Other names :