ClickCease Skip to content

Colic Treatment in Westminster Denver Colorado

Overview

       Colic is frequent, prolonged and intense crying or fussiness in a healthy infant. Colic can be particularly frustrating for parents because the baby’s distress occurs for no apparent reason and no amount of consoling seems to bring any relief. These episodes often occur in the evening, when parents themselves are often tired.

       Episodes of colic usually peak when an infant is about 6 weeks old and decline significantly after 3 to 4 months of age. While the excessive crying will resolve with time, managing colic adds significant stress to caring for your newborn child.

       You can take steps that may lessen the severity and duration of colic episodes, alleviate your own stress, and bolster confidence in your parent-child connection.

Symptoms

       Babies have been known to fuss and cry, especially during the first three months of life. The range for what’s considered typical crying is difficult to pin down. In general, colic is defined as crying for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, for three or more weeks.

Features of colic may include the following:

     Intense crying that may seem more like screaming or an expression of pain

     Crying for no apparent reason, unlike crying to express hunger or the need for a diaper change

     Extreme fussiness even after crying has diminished

     Predictable timing, with episodes often occurring in the evening

     Facial discoloring, such as skin flushing or blushing

     Body tension, such as pulled up or stiffened legs, stiffened arms, clenched fists, arched back, or tense abdomen

Sometimes there is relief in symptoms after the infant passes gas or has a bowel movement. Gas is likely the result of swallowed air during prolonged crying.

When to see a doctor

       Excessive, inconsolable crying may be colic or an indication of an illness or condition that causes pain or discomfort. Schedule an appointment with your child’s health care provider for a thorough exam if your infant experiences excessive crying or other signs or symptoms of colic.

Causes

The cause of colic is unknown. It may result from numerous contributing factors. While a number of causes have been explored, it’s difficult for researchers to account for all the important features, such as why it usually begins late in the first month of life, how it varies among infants, why it happens at certain times of day and why it resolves on its own in time.

Possible contributing factors that have been explored include:

     Digestive system that isn’t fully developed

     Imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract

     Food allergies or intolerances

     Overfeeding, underfeeding or infrequent burping

     Early form of childhood migraine

     Family stress or anxiety

Risk factors

Risk factors for colic are not well-understood. Research has not shown differences in risk when the following factors were considered:

     Sex of the child

     Preterm and full-term pregnancies

     Formula-fed and breast-fed babies

Infants born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy or after delivery have an increased risk of developing colic.

Complications

       Colic does not cause short-term or long-term medical problems for a child.

       Colic is stressful for parents. Research has shown an association between colic and the following problems with parent well-being:

          Increased risk of postpartum depression in mothers

          Early cessation of breast-feeding

          Feelings of guilt, exhaustion, helplessness or anger

Shaken baby syndrome

       The stress of calming a crying baby has sometimes prompted parents to shake or otherwise harm their child. Shaking a baby can cause serious damage to the brain and death. The risk of these uncontrolled reactions is greater if parents don’t have information about soothing a crying child, education about colic and the support needed for caring for an infant with colic.

Diagnosis

Your baby’s care provider will do a complete physical exam to identify any possible causes for your baby’s distress. The exam will include:

     Measuring your baby’s height, weight and head circumference

     Listening to the heart, lungs and abdominal sounds

     Examining the limbs, fingers, toes, eyes, ears and genitals

     Assessing reaction to touch or movement

     Looking for signs of rash, inflammation, or other signs of infection or allergies

Lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests aren’t usually needed, but in unclear cases they help to exclude other conditions as possible causes.

Treatment

The primary goals are to soothe the child as much as possible with a variety of interventions and ensure that parents have the support they need to cope.

Soothing strategies

You may find it helpful to have a plan, a list of soothing strategies you can try. You may need to experiment. Some may work better than others, and some may work one time but not another. Soothing strategies may include:

     Using a pacifier

     Taking your infant for a car ride or on a walk in a stroller

     Walking around with or rocking your baby

     Swaddling your baby in a blanket

     Giving your baby a warm bath

     Rubbing your infant’s tummy or placing your baby on the tummy for a back rub

     Playing an audio of heartbeats or quiet, soothing sounds

     Providing white noise by running a white noise machine, a vacuum cleaner or clothes drier in a nearby room

     Dimming the lights and limiting other visual stimulation

 

Feeding practices

Changes in feeding practices may also provide some relief. Bottle-feed your baby in an upright position and burp frequently during and after a feeding. Using a curved bottle will help with upright feeding, and a collapsible bag bottle can reduce the intake of air.

Trial changes in diet

If soothing or feeding practices aren’t reducing crying or irritability, your doctor may recommend a short-term trial of dietary changes. If your baby has a food allergy, however, there would likely be other signs and symptoms, such as a rash, wheezing, vomiting or diarrhea. Dietary changes may include:

     Formula changes. If you feed your infant formula, your doctor may suggest a one-week trial of an extensive hydrolysate formula (Similac Alimentum, Nutramigen, Pregestimil, others) that has proteins broken down into smaller sizes.

     Maternal diet. If you’re breast-feeding, you may try a diet without common food allergens, such as dairy, eggs, nuts and wheat. You may also try eliminating potentially irritating foods, such as cabbage, onions or caffeinated beverages.

Parent self-care

Caring for an infant who has colic can be exhausting and stressful, even for experienced parents. The following strategies can help you take care of yourself and get the support you need:

     Take a break. Take turns with your spouse or partner, or ask a friend to take over for a while. Give yourself an opportunity to get out of the house if possible.

     Use the crib for short breaks. It’s OK to put your baby in the crib for a while during a crying episode if you need to collect yourself or calm your own nerves.

     Express your feelings. It’s normal for parents in this situation to feel helpless, depressed, guilty or angry. Share your feelings with family members, friends and your child’s doctor.

     Don’t judge yourself. Don’t measure your success as a parent by how much your baby cries. Colic isn’t a result of poor parenting, and inconsolable crying isn’t a sign of your baby rejecting you.

     Take care of your health. Eat healthy foods. Make time for exercise, such as a brisk daily walk. If you can, sleep when the baby sleeps — even during the day. Avoid alcohol and other drugs.

     Remember that it’s temporary. Colic episodes often improve after age 3 to 4 months.

     Have a rescue plan. If possible make a plan with a friend or relative to step in when you’re overwhelmed. If necessary, contact your health care provider, a local crisis intervention service or a mental health help line for additional support.

Our expert providers are experienced and skilled at treating colic and are your source for expert treatment of colic in Westminster and Denver Colorado. Not only are we the premier treatment for spine injuries and chiropractic in Westminster and Denver Colorado, but we also specialize in many other advanced treatment techniques such as shockwave, cold laser, graston technique, KT Taping, activator, instrument aided spinal alignments, drop table, toggle, in house rehab services, and on site digital xrays. We are your Premier destination for colic treatment in Westminster Colorado and Denver Colorado Chiropractor.