Calming a baby with colic

A crying, upset, colicky baby is no fun for the baby and, also for the parent. It can be very stressful for all. When the crying is unbearable and you have crossed off whether the child is tired, in need of a nappy change, cuddles or is simply just hungry, but your baby is still crying excessively, this is when you are at your wits end. You feel helpless and useless and at a loss as to what to do for the best. You as the parent, just know that something is not right with your precious little bundle. The typical advice from some internet searching for help is that there are no known causes of colic and definitely no cure. Some mothers have been known to hear from their GPs that 'all babies cry'! All you are expected to do is 'shush' your baby to sleep, with tips such as taking them for a walk or a car drive, even though for you it may be 2am. Although this might help to temporarily settle the baby, it will not fix the cause and the situation for the family as a whole. Is it any wonder that postnatal depression and abandonment of breastfeeding is on the increase?

Christian Bates is an osteopath and naturopath who has been treating colicky babies for over 20 years, and has written a book called 'Calming Colic: How to help the 10 causes of colic'. He believes the causes of colic are multifactorial. As soon as you realise there is a problem with your baby, you can really only go back in the history of a few weeks or months, which leads to factors that have occurred during pregnancy, the delivery and after birth, during breast or bottle feeding. Christian explains "Firstly, we need to identify the type of colic the baby has. If the baby has a real lactose intolerance then their 'type' of colic may do really well by using lactose enzyme in the milk. This enzyme breaks the milk sugar down and stops the digestion discomfort. If another baby has colic that has nothing to do with a lactose issue then using this enzyme will not help at all".

Another cause of colic could be a lack of friendly bacteria in the babies gut. This could have been caused by a course of antibiotics (given to the baby or the mother close to birth), or a C-section. Therefore by avoiding known colic causing foods (see below), in this case, will not get the desired results. You will need to repopulate the microflora (friendly bacteria) via mum or baby by drops. This will help to provide a good immunity for the rest of the child's life into adulthood. During a natural birth, the baby receives all the friendly bacteria it needs through the birth canal (mothers vagina) on exit, therefore the only friendly bacteria the baby then receives, if she has a C-section, is through the colostrum from the mothers first milk.

Colic forming foods are; spicy foods, gassy foods such as the brassica family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage), onions, garlic, beans and green peppers, and some grains and nuts such as wheat, corn, peanuts and soy.

Christian explains that some babies are just not very happy and this could be due to some trauma from delivery which causes irritations, particularly to the babies head. For example, forceps, ventouse or a long traumatic labour. For this, he recommends cranial osteopathy with amazing results. There have been a number of studies in which manual therapies such as osteopathy and chiropractic help have actually reduced the crying time on average by one hour and 12 minutes per day! Imagine that relief?

Unfortunately, there is no one cure-all that will magically make colic disappear overnight, which is really what parents are looking for. Reading Christians book and putting all of his help into practice, could save your baby from pain and you a few sleepless nights. I know through experience that both cranial osteopathy and probiotics together helped immensely for my friends and family. Good luck.