Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Colick, Myths & Facts!

My second son Joshua cried for at least four hours straight every day. Nothing I did made it better. He was only two months old and I thought that I might lose my mind. The doctors casual, " It's just colick he'll grow out of it" made me feel helpless. I believed him and decided it was like a random plague that affects some babies and not others for no explainable reason. I have had moms tell me that they were colicky babies too and it must just run in the family. In a way they are right. We now know that most colick is not caused by gas as we were so often told. Colic is usually caused by one of two things. Lactose intolerance (which does seem to be genetic) which causes the lining of the stomach to be irritated and possibly bleed. Or by acid reflux which causes a painful burning of the esophagus. No wonder babies scream and can't be comforted!
There are two ways to determine whether you baby is lactose intolerant. My favorite is to take a stool sample in to the doctor and let them look at it under a microscope for traces of blood. Really simple! The other way is to take your baby off of all products containing lactose. If you are nursing this means you must not eat or drink anything with lactose in it.
If you determine that your baby isn't lactose intolerant then the culprit is most likely acid reflux or GER (Gastro Esophageal Reflux). Reflux most commonly occurs when the ring of muscle that joins the stomach to the esophagus does not function properly. This muscle, the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, usually opens very briefly for swallowing or vomiting, and then closes again. But in reflux cases, the muscle stays relaxed and food and stomach acids can flow back into the esophagus. This causes an intense burning sensation. There are many treatment options for babies with GER. You should see your pediatrician for diagnoses and treatment options.
There are several things that can help make baby more comfortable. Be sure that baby is propped at a 45 degree angle during feeding and for at least half an hour after. Feed baby smaller more frequent feedings. Try Baby Bliss Gripe Water, this works wonders for some babies. It can safely be given before every feeding. Most of all make sure that you allow some down time for yourself. Having a baby with colick can be very stressful. Be kind to yourself and allow someone you trust to care for the baby while you do something just for you. If you don't have friends or family that can help call a postpartum doula. They are specially trained to care for colicky babies and can give you a much needed break.

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