Thursday, 7 April 2011

Be My Guest: Philip Weeks, Natural Medicine Expert - on colic

·        What is colic?
Babies cry for all kind of reasons but there are times when a baby will cry, scream or be very distressed for no obvious reason.  Often this is the result of trapped wind in the digestive tract commonly called colic.  It can be incredibly distressing for both baby and parents. 

·        Why do some babies get it and others don’t?
It is not fully known why some babies get colic and others don’t.  However I have certainly see it more commonly with those bottle fed and less often with breastfed babies.
I have seen a number of factors which are contributory.  A difficult birth, or some level of birth trauma is a major factor for colic.  

·        How long does colic usually last?
Colic often starts when the baby is about 2 weeks old, and although it usually disappears after 3 to 4 months, some children still get colicky symptoms at 18 months old.  An episode of colic can last for a few minutes and  even up to a number of hours

·        What can parents do?
Luckily there are lots of things to help with colic:
If the birth process was difficult or the colic seems difficult to shift then take your child to a Cranial Osteopath. They can help to relax the child and release the trauma held in the system.  I have found it very useful both with my own baby and my patients.

Acupuncture can be very helpful for colic and some children, respond really well to it. 
Breastfeeding mums need to:
  • Drink loads of water and make sure they have enough b vitamins in their diet.
  • If you are breastfeeding then drinking lots of peppermint and fennel tea as it will go through into the milk and into the baby

Bottle fed babies
  • It could be that the baby is sensitive to the formula milk, cow dairy is a common allergy, try alternatives such as goat milk.
  • A little peppermint and fennel tea can help move the trapped wind.
  • Make sure that the angle of the baby when feeding

Many babies respond well to being prescribed probiotics or good bacteria.  Some studies have shown that they reduce the incidence of colic and digestive disturbance in babies. 
Gripe water can help some babies, it contains dill which reduces spasms and reduces wind.
One of the important things to remember is that a little colic is normal, however natural approaches do really work and keep trying different approaches until you find the solution that works for your baby.

Philip Weeks is an expert on natural medicine, herbs and  nutrition.  He has a clinic in Hereford and Harley Street,  London.

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