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Why is your Baby Crying?

Dr. Rajendra Kumar

Does your baby suffer from unexplained bouts of crying? It could be colic that is making the baby cry so often. Consult your homoeopath for the treatment of this problem in your baby. Homoeopathy works well on children as it does not interfere with their energy levels but works with them so that they can recover their healthy state as soon as possible. Following are a few of the remedies for treating infantile colic.

The term 'infantile colic' is often used to explain episodes of inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy baby. The crying often starts 2-3 weeks after birth and is most common in the late afternoon and evening, sometimes occurring almost everyday until 3-4 months. The infant sleeps peacefully after the crying stops. The paroxysms of sudden crying are followed by flushing of face, distention of abdomen and drawing up of lower limbs on the abdomen. They are relieved when faeces or flatus is passed. The episodes are of sudden onset and recur generally at the same time each day.

Aerophagy, hunger and overfeeding are often incriminated as causes. In some cases cow's milk allergy may be responsible.

The most common symptom of colic is "excessive crying" -- more hours of crying and more stretches of crying per day than non-symptomatic children. The crying may also have a higher frequency/pitch than normal babies. Other possible symptoms include motor unrest (flexing of the knees against the abdomen, clenching of the fists, and extension or straightening of the trunk, legs and arms).

During the episode the baby's face is flushed and frowning, the legs are drawn up and the abdomen usually feels tense. Because crying sometimes eases for a while after the baby burps or passes wind, the caused is assumed to be colic due to too much air in the intestines.

Mild cases - Unexplained intermittent fussiness in the evenings.

Moderate to severe cases - A healthy baby who in the early evening, for no apparent reason develops paroxysms beginning with flushing of the face, a frown, drawing up of the legs, followed by high pitched screaming, suddenly ending in a few minutes, and followed in another few minutes by another paroxysm. This goes on for 2 - 3 hours, the baby is inconsolable, there are loud borborygmi and the pain is relieved by the passage of flatus or stool.

Colic begins in the first week or two of life, in an otherwise thriving baby, reaches a peak at 6 weeks when 25% of babies cry for greater than 31/2 hours per day and ceases by the age of 2-3 and occasionally 4 months. It affects 20 - 30% of babies.

Theories of Causation
Food allergy / intolerance Many br**st-feeding mothers believe that some foods in their diet cause 'colic' in their infants. Antigens from cow's milk can be found in maternal milk. Therefore, infants who have been sensitised to cows' milk protein (via the placenta, br**st-milk or formula - that one bottle given in hospital) can develop adverse reactions to cows' milk protein given via br**st-milk. Double-blind studies have found that perhaps up to one-third of persisting colic could have this as its origin.

Another study assessed the maternal diet in relation to maternal recall of symptoms of 'colic' in their infants in the previous week. They showed a significant relationship to maternal intake of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli) cow's milk, chocolate and onion.

Maternal smoking and excessive caffeine consumption has also been associated with irritability in br**st-fed babies.

Abnormal peristalsis or excessive gas: Colicky infants produced higher levels of breath hydrogen in the fasting state and in response to feeding containing lactose than non-colicky infants. However, changing to a lactose free formula did not have any positive effect on infant behaviour and the breath hydrogen tests remained positive (6)

Carbohydrate malabsorption and colicky symptoms were still occurring despite attenuation of lactose intake. Br**st milk and cows' milk contains oligosaccharides. These sugars have an immunological function and pass through the gut unchanged. They may be the source of the excess hydrogen in the breath test.

Increased sensitivity.
Infants neurological systems are immature, their sensory nerves are more responsive when their gut is distended and their pain receptors respond earlier. Normal distension can be perceived as pain by some infants. Their frontal lobe is immature so even though the noxious stimulus has gone the perception remains.

Infants have limited ways of responding to discomfort. Some babies just seem to have been born without an 'off' switch.

Parental tension and response
'Colic' is more likely to be reported by mothers who experience psychological stress symptoms during pregnancy, whose partners are dissatisfied with the s*x**l relationship and where the parents report negative feelings during the birth.

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