By Dr Mike Marinus, dad to Megan and James plus a Chiropractor in Blairgowrie with a special interest in family practice and paediatric care. Click here to hear his podcast. This is the 4th in our series on babies by Dr Marinus. Find his other articles here.
Let’s be honest, nothing prepares you for Colic. It comes out of the blue, it can be terrifying and very upsetting for the whole family. All the books seem to contradict each other and everyone has advice for you which, even though it comes from a good place, generally comes across as them telling you that you don’t know what you’re doing. Newsflash: – You’re not supposed to know! You’re new at this baby thing and just because a piece of advice worked really well for your mother-in-law doesn’t mean it’s automatically right for you and your baby.
What you need is a plan.
That starts with a trip to the Paediatrician to make sure it’s only Colic. Wait? What? But don’t we want to make sure our kids don’t have colic? Well, yes but by definition Colic kids are healthy kids and we want to make sure that there are no underlying causes for the excessive crying. Urinary Tract infections, ear infections and other conditions can present just like colic but need to be diagnosed and treated accordingly. Once we know it is only Colic, then we can kick our plan into action.
First off learn your baby’s cries and cues. The better you know how to interpret your baby’s needs, the more you can avoid those big emotional pressure build-ups and outbursts. Episodes 1 and 2 of The Easy Baby Podcast focus on these issues so refer to our website and grab that info.
Secondly, if you or anyone at home smokes…stop. Smoking increases certain gut hormones that lead to colic attacks. Breastfeeding moms who didn’t smoke through pregnancy and start again after birth put their babies under even more strain because baby has had no time to adapt.
Thirdly, there is excellent research behind the use of probiotics in newborns. Caesar babies in particular end up with completely the wrong amount of bugs in their systems because they don’t traverse the birth canal and this messes up the fatty acid profile of the intestine which favours colic.
Fourth, even if your baby doesn’t have any patent food allergies it’s still a good idea to cut out or minimize foods like dairy, citrus, caffeine, leafy green vegetables and beans in your diet. Every mom and baby pair is different but by eliminating the basic irritant foods you take pressure off their digestive systems and make life easier all round.
As a Chiropractor, excessive crying, niggling and fussing babies make up most of my patients under 3 months old. So if that’s the case then how does manual therapy treat these conditions? Well the short answer is… it doesn’t. Chiropractic treatment of babies is not focused on the symptom of crying (which is where a lot of the misunderstanding in the research happens) but rather on the healthy alignment of the spine and the impact that this has on your baby’s nervous system ability to work effectively.
Getting the Farts and Burps out is hugely important in treating Colic babies and I teach these techniques to every parent in my practice. Click here to find out about winding babies.
Lastly, click here to find out about the 5 S’s system developed by Dr. Harvey Karp, an American Paediatrician who recreates the womb for babies under 3 months allowing their calming reflex to set in. Following these steps, along with your crying checklist gives you a good base from which to start coping with your Colic baby.
Finally don’t neglect your local baby clinic, the sisters there work with these kinds of babies all day every day and are invaluable sources of information on just about anything baby related.