Cramps occur in newborns at the age of 3 weeks and usually disappear when the baby reaches 3 months of age. The cramps occur as part of the natural development of the intestines, and since the intestines are still in the process of development, they cause gastrointestinal disturbances and gas.
The resulting baby colic is particularly unpleasant to parents because the crying pretty soon turns into screaming and sometimes does not stop for hours on end, regardless of whether the baby is fed, warm, clean or in a comfortable position.
Some research show that cramps and the resulting colic are very common in babies and that every other child experiences them.
Although hearing their baby incessantly crying and screaming can be extremely frustrating and uncomfortable for the parents because they hear it and can not relieve it, it should be kept in mind that this is all part of the normal development of the baby and that the cramps have no ramifications.
Of course, every parent will feel the instinct to help their baby in any way, so we offer a couple of tips that can help in this unpleasant situation.
- Keep calm – babies can sense your nervousness. If you are well-informed and know that there is no cause for concern or panic, try to calm your baby by placing it on your chest and gently rocking it with a steady pace. Babies can feel your heart rate, so your calmness can also be soothing for your baby.
- Try to abide by the regular sleep pattern and diet of your baby. This can help reduce or eliminate the cramps.
- You can gently massage your baby’s belly in clockwise movement. After breastfeeding, especially if it lasts longer, straighten your baby up and help it burp, even several times if needed.
- Some experts recommend that you swaddle your baby so the diaper is tied around the waist. What you are trying to achieve with this is to reduce the flatulence and make the baby feel as safe as if it were in the womb.
Experts do not recommend the administration of medications or other remedies in cases of cramps. No positive effects have been demonstrated in these cases, so do not fall for tall tales and do not try out different therapies on your baby.
It is rather difficult to distinguish between a “normal” cry and baby colic. Baby colic often ends in screaming. Physicians will also try to find out more about the way the child cries, using the rule-of-three approach in diagnosis:
- Episodes of crying last at least three hours
- Episodes of crying occur at least three times a week
- Episodes of crying are persistent through a period of three weeks
It is advisable to contact the physician immediately if your baby is experiencing one of the following symptoms:
- loss of appetite
- blood in the stool
- changes on the skin – paleness, cyanosis, spots
- difficulty breathing
- greenish vomit
Conclusively, baby colic caused by cramps should disappear spontaneously around the third month of the baby’s life. Therefore, if the crying and screaming persists, then it is necessary to take the baby to the doctor’s as the crying could be caused by something else.
Alternative Medicine Treatment
As we have previously mentioned, most experts do not recommend any medications or preparations in treatment of this condition. They find that baby colic is a normal part of the child’s development and no medical intervention is needed if crying is not a symptom of a more serious illness.
It is also important to note that the research of said preparations has not confirmed their effectiveness.
All tips for using these preparations stem from everyday life:
- Probiotics – in some cases, they may be able to reduce the cramps in the stomach. Probiotics stimulate bacteria that normally live in the digestive tract and thus help develop the digestive system
- Anti-gas pills – According to some theories, the cause of cramps is flatulence. Therefore it is presumed that in certain cases, anti-gas pills may prove to be useful.
- Gripe water – a natural herbal remedy whose effectiveness has not yet been proven, but it is said that it helps suppress cramps.
No matter what approach you decide to take in resolving this condition, it is advisable to contact your physician for advice.