Hi all, I am a mum of 3 girls & a boy the latest addition. Here was where the problem started. My latest addition was very "colicky" and crying about 80% of his time awake, I had breast fed my first 3 children & then moved on to SMA Gold which had suited them fine. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case with my Son. By the time he was 7 weeks I feared I must be doing something wrong as he was constantly crying. I didn't really get any helpful advice from my health visitor ("... some babies cry a lot") so I turned to the web for help. Here’s what I found... All newborn babies cry but when a child who is otherwise healthy cries for more than 3 hours per day, it is a condition known as colic, which is perfectly normal. It's estimated that a quarter of all babies have colic. It usually starts between the 3rd and 6th week after birth and goes away on its own by the time the baby is 3 months old. If the baby seems to still have colic after that time you should seek medical advice.
To determine whether your child has colic, you may first want to make sure that he or she isn't crying for another reason.
Try this checklist for colic:
1. Your baby cries for hours at a time. You have done everything you can think of (fed, changed,winded, allowed to sleep, checked if too hot/cold, talked to/played with...to an extent) at least twice over and now the crying has worn you down to the point you feel like joining in.
2. Colicky babies have a healthy sucking reflex and a good appetite and are otherwise healthy and growing well. Sick babies may appear colicky but won't feed well and won't have the same strong sucking reflex.
3. Colicky babies like to be cuddled and handled. Sick babies appear uncomfortable when they are handled and are difficult to console.
4. Colicky babies may burp sick from time to time, but if your baby is actually vomiting, and/or losing weight call your child's doctor. Being sick repeatedly is not a sign of colic.
5. Colicky babies typically have normal stools. If your baby is difficult to console and has diarhoea or blood in the stool, call your child's doctor.
What Causes Colic? Many parents worry that it is something that they are doing causing the Colic, or that they are not being a good parent. Please be aware you cannot cause colic. There is however, some evidence that colic occurs because of a baby's immature digestive system being able to cope with trapped gases & the *Lactose (*Lactose are natural sugars found in breast & formula milk) causing digestive discomfort. So aiding the release of gases (by way of burping) & reducing the Lactose, can reduce the discomfort.
Treating colic (trapped gases & the inability to digest Lactose)… There is no single treatment that has been proven to make colic go away. But here are some things you can do for your colicky baby that may make life easier for both of you. First, make sure your baby is not hungry. During the feed try winding your baby after every couple of ounces.
Here are a couple of ways to reduce babies Lactose intake…
1. I swear by this method & as such always have Colief for sale here on eBay & I always sell it cheaper than the chemists/supermarkets... so try adding a few drops of Colief to babies usual milk. If breastfeeding you will need to try & express a few teaspoons of breastmilk into a small sterilised conatiner. Add 4 drops of COLIEF. Give this to your baby on a sterilised plastic teaspoon & continue breastfeeding as normal. Midwives, health visitors & mums everywhere swear by this (I certainly do!) although quite expensive retailing at around £10 per 7ml bottle from Boots etc but if it helps it’s worth every penny. You just add two drops to babies usual milk 4 hrs before a feed. Colief then breaks down the Lactose in babies milk, making it easier for them to digest equalling less pain & less crying (can be used for breast & formula milk). When using Colief babies stools do become a little more lose. This is normal but again, if baby has diarhoea or blood in the stool, visit your child's doctor. I used Colief until he was 4 months & by then his digestive system had matured enough to break down the Lactose without aid. You do have to ween them off Colief so I suggest always keeping at least two bottles handy. This is to allow their digestive system to adjust to the Lactose being introduced back into their digestive system (& from what I noticed in the nappy to allow the bottom end to adjust back to firmer stools). I managed to ween my son in a week (had an open bottle of Colief & never ran out so one bottle to ween should be sufficient) with no adverse effects. The inconsoleable crying has gone. I now have a content & happy baby. Note:Colief is not a medicine & does not have to be prescribed it is a food supplement. The front of box reads - Lactase enzyme for adding to infant milk or breastmilk to reduce lactose content & the back states-Transient lactase deficiency can result in the temporary digestive discomfort caused by undigested lactose in food. This can be an important factor in some babies with colic. Colief may help reduce the hours of crying by breaking-down the lactose in the baby's usual milk and making this more easily digestible.
2. you can try changing babies formula milk to a low lactose milk. The web recommended Cow & Gates Omneo Comfort (retails at approx £7.20 a tin (about £1 more expensive than SMA). Simple to make up with 1 scoop of powder per 30ml of cooled boiled water (Cow & Gate recommend leaving the kettle to cool for only 10 minutes. Any cooler & the 'Starch Globules' won't mix properly), but note just boiled water can increase the fat content which can make the milk harder to digest. On the other hand if you make it with the water too cold this creates lumps (again making the milk harder to digest). Only boil the water one time or you could end up concentrating the minerals & fluoride content. Just to confirm the lactose content of Omneo Comfort is only 2.3% compared to other formulas (and breast milk) which can be up to 7%.Cow & Gate also recommend using Avent Variable flow or Dr browns level 3 teats because of the thickness of the milk - so buy these at the same time if you haven't got them already. I had problems getting this in the ready made up cartons so I opted for the Colief (no need to change bottle teats) but you choose what you think would suit your lifestyle as they both equal the same thing in the end which is to reduce babies Lactose intake but if you want to continue breastfeeding you need to opt for the Colief.
Some tips to aid the release of gases (burping)…
1. Place your baby across your lap on his or her belly and rub your baby's back.
2. I highly recommend Dr Brown’s bottles, which are miracle bottles in themselves & retail at approx £11 for two (cheaper on eBay). This was one of my best moves yet. With some thought I could sterilise 3 Dr Brown's bottles in an Avent steam steriliser. I cannot recommend these bottles enough. Never shake the milk vigorously in the bottles as this can trap air bubbles in the milk.
3. Put your baby in a swing or recliner chair (lots available now with activities like lights, vibrations, sounds etc) the motion may have a soothing effect.
4. Put your baby in a car seat and go for a ride. The vibration and movement of the car often soothe a baby.
5. Try Infacol drops before a feed- this liquid comes with a pipet & is orangey flavoured. Very easy to administer & aids baby by joining smaller gas bubbles to create larger bubbles making it easier for baby to burp.
6. Holding baby upright. Babies back against your tummy. Place your arm across his shoulder and across his tummy & support baby between legs. Bounce/rock gently.
7. Try a dummy/soother.
8. White noise (like a hairdryer or an untuned radio). What is white noise? White noise is a constant Mix of sound widely believed to promote sleep. What does that mean in plain English? When we were in the womb we were subjected to a mixture of white noise from the mother’s internal organs. It is believed that white noise calms us by reminding us unconsciously of being in the womb aiding baby to feel relaxed.
Finally remember that caring for a colicky baby can be extremely tiring & frustrating. Please look after yourself too. Don't blame yourself or your baby for the constant crying. Remember that your baby will eventually outgrow this phase. In the meantime, if you need a break from your baby's crying, take one. Friends and family are often happy to watch your baby when you need some time to yourself. If no one is immediately available, it is okay to place your baby somewhere safe (like their cot) and take a break before making another attempt at consoling the baby. It will not hurt your baby if they cry but experts recommend not to leave them crying for more than 10 minutes.
I am not a health professional. I am a mum like you. So please, if you are unsure whether your babies crying is colic, or a symptom of another illness, please visit your child's doctor. I really hope this guide helps. Remember it does get easier!
Best of luck Angie XXX
If you do wash your bottles in a dishwasher always use a reputable brand of tablet (not a cheaper shops own brand or you may find they will taint the colour of the teats & screw caps (they might turn orangey pink).
If you found this guide helpful please remember to vote & if you have any questions about any part of this document please do not hesitate to contact me.