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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Colic pain in infants

So, finally you are free from the burden of pregnancy and your angel is now in your hands.  You don’t have to worry about your figure distortion, back ache, morning sickness, vomiting, nausea, and the host of symptoms that arrived as unwanted guests into your body along with pregnancy.  But now another problem has crept in (and I wish it has not but generally it does with all mothers).  The problem is that your baby becomes cranky and fussy in the evening and starts to cry uncontrollably refusing to feed or sleep and especially starts screaming with a high pitch when s/he is put in a supine position.  So guys, welcome to the dirty world of COLIC PAIN.

Colic pain is defined as a benign pain in the intestines that generally occurs due to spasms of the intestine whose cause is not clear.  But the take home point is that it is a pain in the stomach for your baby and a real pain in the *** (you know what – I guess Google does not ban me for this!!) for you.  So, then what is this thing and what can we do to control this thing.

So, first things first – you need to understand that this condition is benign, i.e. it is not a dangerous or life threatening condition for your baby.  It is a normal condition which most of the infants around the world suffer from.  The reason for colic pain are attributed to a variety of factors including stress or anxiety in the mother or in the household, diet of the mother/infant, abdominal gas or swallowing of air, and other vague factors which are not very clear to anyone.

What to do in case of colic pain in infants?
1.       The first thing to do is – do not panic; because panic causes stress in both you and your child and your child gets scared more than you and starts screaming more.  So, keep your cool.
2.    The next thing to do is to hold your child in the upright position and gently pat his back in the lumbar area (mid back where the stomach area is).  This helps in passing of the gas which is the major cause of intestinal colic pain.  Do not put or hold the child in the supine position because this generally makes the child more cranky and makes him/her scream further.  This is probably because of the reason that gas in the intestine does not pass when we lie in the supine position and it further presses against the intestines which makes the pain severe, especially for an infant.  Always remember, prone position is the best position to lay the child whenever s/he has a problem of gas in the bowels.  Gas passes easily in the prone position either through mouth or the anus.  It is also a good practice to make the child burp after having the infant breastfed or giving any other food including water so that the excess air or gas is removed from the stomach.  Not burping the child after food is many a times the primary cause of colic in infants.
3.      Generally patting the back and holding the child in the prone or upright position for some time relieves the gas from the intestine and calms the child.  But an easier way is to consult your doctor and get some meds prescribed for colic pain (Generally, your pediatrician will prescribe you this med without asking you and telling you to give it only when the child is cranky or crying excessively in the evening time).  This medicine is generally simethicone, which is used for treatment of bloating and other gas-related ailments (Note:  Please do not buy any medicine without consulting your doctor.  You can seriously harm your infant’s health if you do so).
4.      One home remedy that worked for our son which was suggested to us by our pediatrician was to apply asafetida (hing) paste on the abdominal portion (except the umbilicus of the infant) and make the child like prone for some time.  Simply dissolve the asafetida powder or solid in some hot water and make a paste.  You can also give this paste orally to your child (that is if you are successful in giving it because the taste is a bit tangy and hot and your child may or may not like it and secondly it is very difficult to hold the child supine and give anything when s/he is crying uncontrollably).  Giving the paste orally is a quicker way to relieve the pain.  Asafetida is a proven digestive compound used in both modern medicine and Ayurveda and has proven medicinal benefits.  It strengthens the digestive system and helps in preventing colic in infants.  If you are not able to feed orally, just apply the paste on the abdomen (leaving the umbilicus intact because it may cause irritation to the child) and hold the child prone or upright for some time and wait for the gas to pass.
5.      While holding the child upright, please take care not to keep your hand tight around the anal position of the child because this may lead to difficulty in passing of gas for the child.  Keep your hand either above or below the anus gently and leave the anal pore open so that the gas may pass.

That’s it guys, these are some things that you can do and you should take care in case of colic.  And remember, it is a benign condition, so no need to worry.  Simply keep your calm and let it pass.  Happy parenting!

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