Although moms everywhere are still debating and certainly don’t agree when it comes to breastfeeding—they can all probably agree on how challenging it is to have a baby with colic.
A common question from distraught parents is: “Is it colic . . . or something else?” Dr. Christine Wood, USANA Health Sciences’ Pediatrician and Certified Lactation Expert, says that sometimes we can identify a cause for the colic-type behavior. If you have ruled out a cause for colic, you may be left with a typical colic baby, and there are things you can do to help—whether the baby is breastfed or formula-fed. Below, Dr. Wood has outlined some situations to consider when you’re wondering if your baby has colic.
If your baby is breastfed, consider some of these situations:
Food allergies vs. sensitivities. Some babies are sensitive or allergic to certain foods.
There is a difference in these two problems, although symptoms can look the same. Food sensitivity or intolerance causes gassiness, fussiness, or a change in stools. An example would be diarrhea, cramping, and bloating resulting from lactose intolerance.
Babies can also be sensitive to foods mom eats while breastfeeding, like broccoli, cabbage, onions, beans, garlic, chocolate, caffeine, or spicy foods. True food allergies may cause symptoms like chronic congestion, hives, eczema, blood in the stool, gassiness, fussiness, wheezing, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect a food allergy, discuss it with your doctor.
Overactive let-down reflex. Some women suffer from too much milk production. Their babies chug and gulp, and milk sprays if they accidentally pull off. They can be gassy, fussy, gain weight quickly, have lots of wet diapers and stools, and want to nurse frequently. Try having your baby nurse on one breast at a feeding, and use a position where your baby is lying more on top of you (upright).
Low milk supply. At the end of the day, milk supply typically diminishes. Pump milk in the morning, and save a top-off bottle for the evening. Feed an extra ounce or two of breast milk in a bottle after you nurse in the evenings (if over three or four weeks of age). If your baby seems hungry and fussy all day long, have a weight check to make sure he or she is getting enough milk and gaining appropriately.
If your baby is formula-fed, consider this situation:
Allergy to formula. Your baby may have an allergy to a formula. Babies may be allergic to cow’s milk, soy formulas, or both. Discuss this with your baby’s doctor before making a change in formula.
BREASTFED OR FORMULA-FED
If your baby is either breastfed or formula-fed, consider these possibilities:
Stool infections. A newborn may develop an infection with a bacterium or virus. A stool culture will need to be done by your baby’s doctor.
Swallowing excess air. This condition may occur when a baby cries a lot or gets air with bottle-feeding. Try to burp your baby frequently during feedings. Simethicone drops may be used safely for the gassy baby.
Spitting up. Babies who spit up can be fussy with feedings. These babies will arch or cry while feeding and will be fussy after feeding. Diagnosis and treatment should be discussed with your doctor.
MIGHT JUST BE COLIC
If none of the above situations apply, you may have the “colic” baby. Realize that all babies do have fussy periods. Babies who have a difficult temperament and require more attention will need more cuddling, patience, and calming techniques, such as swings, rocking, swaddling, music, warm baths, and car rides.
Dr. Wood’s colic must-have product: A study from Pediatrics in September 2010 found that treating breastfed, colicky infants with Lactobacillus, found in products like USANA’s Probiotic, improved symptoms of colic and reduced crying time. Make sure to check with your doctor to determine the best treatment for your baby.
Courtesy of Dr. Christine Wood, USANA Health Sciences Pediatrician and author of How to Get Kids to Eat Great & Love It, An expert in nutritional medicine for children, she speaks on healthy lifestyles to parents worldwide. She has been featured in several magazines, television, and radio programs; and she is active in addressing childhood obesity with schools, parents, and health professionals.