Over the Counter vs Natural Treatments for Colic

If you have had, or currently have babies, one of the hardest most heart-wrenchingly painful things you can hear is your baby crying uncontrollably.

Especially when they wake up, and you are stumbling, blearily around the house trying to get them fed, hoping it's simply because they're hungry and not that they are constipated and not because they have colic!

Colic is one of the biggest complaints I hear from new moms.  Some patients say their pediatrician has recommended over the counter antacid medication (Zantac) for their colic-stricken baby. 

Before we dive too far into why I think this is stupid, we will talk a bit about what colic is and how to fix it. Colic is estimated to affect about 25% of children in this country.  The problem is that colic is just a primary label for a highly upset baby.  If your baby cries for more than 3 hours, three days a week for more than three weeks then they “have” colic. 

Basically, if your baby cries for prolonged periods of time, even if they are well fed, and can’t be soothed, then they can be labeled with colic.  There are some signs that might clue you in that your child is suffering from colic.  They have a predictable crying pattern at a specific time of day. These patterns are usually intense bouts of crying, and the upset baby is inconsolable during the crying fit. 

Also they often will be in a specific posture, like their knees pulled into their chest or their fists clinched.  These symptoms can start a few weeks after birth and last a few weeks or months but usually subside by the 4th or 5th month. 

My heart goes out to anyone that has had to deal with colic for more than a few days much less a few months. In my opinion where the medical profession falls apart is when they see colic just as intestinal discomfort, or "gas," thus prescribing Zantac or other prescription medications that just mask the symptoms, not fix the true cause of discomfort! 

The result of shrugging off the child's discomfort and giving medication is possibly setting up the child for a lifetime of intestinal complaints.  I understand that all the doctor and the parent wants to find peace for the baby, but these medications have potentially horrible side effects, ranging from seizures, coma, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. 

Some of these side effects may be as bad as the original colic, and it may end up being that the treatment was worse than the disease. So there has to be another way to naturally help or treat colic in a baby and finding the cause would be a great place to start.  In my experience, there are two, possibly three, major causes of really horrible cases of colic: The first two depend on how you are feeding your baby.  If you are feeding your child formula and they have colic they are more than likely sensitive to one or more of the ingredients. 

If you are breastfeeding, then the mother may be eating food that the baby is sensitive to.  While this isn’t a true food allergen, to the baby it may be the sensitivity that is causing the excessive gas and intestinal cramping.  The most common culprits for these food sensitivities are wheat, corn, dairy, soy and sometimes nightshade vegetables.

The other cause that I have seen is a highly irritated nervous system from the actual birth process.  Birth is one of the most traumatic processes we will experience in life.  During the birth process the baby’s head, neck and spine are twisted, contorted and compressed possibly causing misalignments or subluxations of the spine.

These subluxations can irritate the nervous system and cause all of the colic symptoms. It might just be worth a little effort to change up formula or your diet, excluding the listed food allergies, and probably most helpful to make a trip or two to your local chiropractor that knows how to use AK and treat children.

I hope you found this week’s Q & A helpful.  Please pass it along and, if you have any questions, please send them to DrJJ@DrJJGregor.com

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