Indigestion is never a good experience for anyone. But did you ever stop to think how excruciating it must be for an infant?
Infant indigestion, in its many forms, is painful for everyone concerned. Its painful on the child, but its probably more painful for the people around that child. Millions of mothers will attest to the fact that they would gladly take on their babys sickness, if it meant relief for their beloved offspring.
What is Colic?
Infant indigestion, also known as infant colic, is one of the most misunderstood of conditions. Colic, at one point or another, has been termed simply as crying, fussiness, and yes, indigestion.
There is no single definition for colic; we just know that the infant is in extreme discomfort, and that the discomfort is very much linked to his/her digestive process. Perhaps the causes of the pain are different with each child.
For the most part, colic begins when a baby is six weeks old and lasts until he/she is about three or four months. Only a minority of colic cases go beyond six months.
What are the symptoms?
Colic is characterized by crying. Lots of it! In fact, the crying is inconsolable. A mother may exhaust all means to get the child to calm down, but for one reason or another, the baby does not stop. It seems to be in pain.
When a colicky baby cries, sudden spasmodic abdominal cramping will occur, and he/she will automatically draw up his/her knees, clench his/her fists, and turn red in the face. The babys entire body tenses up, and it is easy to see that the child is in agony.
The crying itself comes in the form of a high-pitch scream a definite sign that something is wrong. As the baby cries, he/she begins to suck in more air, which builds up gas in the stomach and makes things worse.
Infant indigestion most often strikes during the late afternoon, and into the evening. A bout can last for hours, which can be a real strain on the mental capacity of the childs caretaker.
Most cases report that the malady strikes at regular time periods for example, a child may become colicky at 5 pm each day, without fail. This little piece of information should help you prepare for what may be an emotional ordeal.
What are the causes?
Some medical practitioners believe that colic is a type of allergic reaction. Most agree that it is at least partly the result of the childs dietary habits. Being overfed or underfed is enough reason for infant indigestion to strike.
The likewise is true when the baby has been fed too much fat, sugar, or protein. Bottle-fed babies also seem to be at a higher risk than breastfed babies. As with indigestion in adults, stress may play an important role in infant indigestion.
Parents and caretakers must take infinite pains to provide an environment that is free from unnecessary jitters, or nervousness. In one way or another, the baby seems to pick up on an atmosphere like this, and it upsets his/her stomach.