Colic and Your Baby
If your newborn baby is constantly fussy, irritable, spitting up and seems uncomfortable, you are not alone. Colic is a topic that is all too common for many new parents and affects up to one third of newborn babies. It can be beyond stressful and heartbreaking when your newborn seems distressed.
Infantile colic is described as unexplained fussiness, or a sudden onset of crying with no known cause. The baby often experiences stomach bloating, is arching backwards, and drawing their knees up to their chest. Babies typically seem distressed, uncomfortable and often are not able to be calmed by their parents. The definition of colic states that the baby cries for at least three hours a day, three days a week for at least three weeks in an otherwise healthy baby. (1) Symptoms of colic typically begin within the first few weeks following birth and can continue for up to or past three months of age.
There is no known cause for colic. However there are many theories out there. It has been thought to be associated with an immature nervous system, related to reflux, a developing digestive system, food that mom is eating (possible allergies or intolerances for baby), stress, and nerve or joint dysfunction of the spine (2). This dysfunction may be observed if your baby seems uncomfortable in certain positions such as on their back or showing a preference for just one side of breastfeeding.
The good news is that chiropractic care can offer a safe and gentle treatment option that may help reduce symptoms of colic.
Clinically, this is one of the most common reasons that parents will bring their new born baby in for an infant check-up and the changes reported after having their little ones adjusted are remarkable.
Often parents report:
decreased spit up/reflux
overall calmness that was not present before
It is so wonderful when parents come in reporting these changes, as a happy, calm, sleeping baby makes for a much happier family! These changes are usually seen after 2-3 treatments over a few weeks. In fact, according to a study published by The Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, 94 % of the infants adjusted, who were experiencing symptoms of colic, showed a significant improvement of their symptoms in an average of three visits (3).
Parents are often a little hesitant to bring their new born in for an adjustment. Many have never been to the chiropractor themselves. However, the treatments are safe, specific to the needs of a new born baby and very gentle. The actual adjustments for an infant requires only very light, finger-tip pressure over the joint (no more pressure than you would use to test a ripe tomato), and can be done while Mom or Dad holds their little one. The adjustments typically have a very calming effect on the nervous system, some babies even fall asleep during treatment. If you are wondering what a chiropractic treatment is like for an infant check out the video above, and please do not hesitate to contact the clinic if you have any questions, we are here to help!