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Causes of Colic – Three Causes Of Baby Gripe In Babies



There are no definitive answers for what causes colic and when it comes to gas, infant fussiness is sometimes mistakenly referred to as colic, due to the prolonged crying that this type of condition can cause. However, there are three main theories in play when it comes to colic:

  1. digestive immaturity
  2. temperament
  3. allergies/sensitivities – either to the surroundings, or in regards to feedings.

With the digestive immaturity theory,

gas infants may have is believed to be caused due to one of two issues – the inability to digest certain compounds in milk or formula, and the lack of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, which leads to gassiness caused by undigested milk or formula as it passes through the digestive system.

In the case of digestive system immaturity, there is little that can be done except wait for the body to mature naturally. However, many individuals will supplement this advice with the use of gripe water or infant gas drops to relieve colic symptoms, or will recommend a more processed formula, if the baby is bottle fed. If the cause is believed to be a lack of beneficial bacteria, probiotics may be used to supplement the naturally-occurring bacteria found in a healthy digestive system.

The use of probiotics may help to relieve colic that is caused by poor digestion.

When it comes to the temperament theory, the treatments are less clear-cut and are generally tailored to individual family situations. In the case where a baby may be more sensitive to lights, noise, or activity in general, schedules have to be adjusted and routines modified in order to accommodate the baby’s temperament while still allowing the family to continue its day-to-day activities.

For some infants, these modifications are mild – the use of swaddling or white noise in a soothing environment, for example. Other babies are fussier, and require a strict schedule of feeding, bathing, and nap times in order to see any noticeable improvement. Parents are often taught to read their baby’s cues, and to learn to anticipate the needs and expectations of their little one in order to reduce the instances of colic as they occur.

Allergies and food sensitivities, while treatable, are often hard to pin down and diagnose in infants, especially those who are breastfed. This is because the reaction may be due to one particular food in the mother’s diet, or it could be a combination of the foods the mother eats, and some other environmental factor. Without meticulous documentation in a food diary along with a colic diary, uncovering the true culprit may be impossible.

In the case of gas infants may have with regards to the food that the mother eats, baby gas drops or gripe water may be used to help reduce the symptoms while parents work to discover which food is causing those symptoms.

Overall, your baby’s colic may be caused by one or more of these factors – they are not mutually exclusive, and it is entirely possible for a baby to have mild food sensitivity, an immature digestive tract and a temperament that makes his needs difficult to meet without schedule modification. Because these factors may overlap, the best treatment for colic often encompasses a holistic approach that allows parents to work with each potential problem area and come to a successful realization.


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