Colic is a painful stomach condition. Babies between the age of three and six months usually suffer from this condition. It is characterised by pain in the abdomen as a result of complete or partial blockage of one of the hollow tubes – intestines, ureters and bile ducts. The muscles lining the tube contract in order to expel the contents but cannot, and the resulting tension produces the pain. Typically, colic occurs between the six Oclock and ten Oclock evening feeds.
The baby should be given a little tepid water to sip. A small warm-water enema should be given to cleanse the bowels, if possible. This will be most effective in overcoming the problem. Feeding should not be resumed until all signs of colic have disappeared.
The mother should, in addition, look very carefully at her own diet, and regulate it according to the dietary restrictions for adults. The emphasis should be on natural foods, specially whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and raw vegetables. She should also avoid overfeeding of the chld in future. Four-hourly feeds and, if possible no night feeding, should be the rule.
Sometimes, the milk of the mother is affected from a psychological cause, such as bad temper, worry and great excitement. The baby should never be fed when the mother is in such a state. The home atmosphere should be kept quiet and calm, for all babies react to nervous tension and stress.
In case of bottle-feed babies, it should be ensured that the nipple is clean and that the hold is neither too large, nor too small. If the colic is caused by swallowing of the air, it can not be expelled while the baby is lying flat. He should therefore be held in vertical position and the swallowed air is likely to come up fairly quickly and this may relieve the pain. When the problem becomes severe, two firm pillows should be placed be beneath the mattress at the head end so that the mattress will be steep enough to raise the babys head well above the level of his feet, but so not so steep that he slids down. Application of head to the abdomen in the form of a small towel wrung out of hot water and squeezed will also help recovery.
A mild tea made from the herb chamomile is regarded as a gentle and effectie home remedy for infantile colic.
This tea should be prepared by infusing one teaspoon of the herb in a cup of boiling water. It should then be strained through a filter and sweetened with a little honey. It should be gien to the infant in one teaspoon dose.
A liquid prepared from fennel seeds is considered beneficial in the treatment of colic suffered by older babies. This liquid is prepared by boiling one-fourth tea spoon of fennel in a little milk for five minutes and then strained.
An infusion of a carway seeds is another effective remedy for colic in older infants. A tablespoon of these seeds should be infused in a cup of boiling water. It should be allowed to stand for 20 minutes, and then strained through a filter. One teaspoon of this infusion should be given to the child from time to time till the pain subsides.