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Infantile colic is one of the major challenges of parenthood. It is one of the common reasons parents seek medical advice during their child’s first 3 months of life. Colic is defined as paroxysms of crying starting suddenly and for no apparent reason, fussing or irritability and affects infants less than 5 months old. The baby cries intensely and furiously, and there is not much that parents can do to comfort him/her. The baby’s face will become red and flushed. Crying episodes tend to occur at the same time every day – generally during late afternoon or evening. Episodes may last from a few minutes to much longer periods.
Besides crying, the baby’s posture can be also identical to infantile colic: clenched fists, tensed abdominal muscles, knees drawn up and back arched.
Nevertheless, colic is a poorly understood phenomenon affecting up to 30% of babies and although it is amongst the most frequent infantile gastrointestinal disorders, the etiology is rather complex.
One of the possible causes of colic in infants is an upsetting family environment and of course the development of exaggerated stress in parents as their baby gets uncomfortable and they lack adequate experience and familiarization with newborns and infants. Also, inappropriate feeding methods (aerophagia) can cause colic and at this point the pediatrician is the one that should educate parents accordingly to cope with this frustrating gastrointestinal disorder.
But there are other possible causes of colic that relate to baby’s diet and can be treated with dietary interventions. These include lactose malabsorption, gastrointestinal tract immaturity, allergic disorders and natural intestinal flora imbalanced establishment and growth. For these many reasons that can be attributed to diet habits, parents must contact their pediatrician to successfully asses the nature of the problem and take appropriate measures to treat baby colic.
Anti-Colic infant formulae can become a real solution to this problem when breast milk is not the food source for colicky babies.