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When to Start Solid Food to Babies

It is always confusing to know when to give baby solid food. When a mom notices her baby is hungrier than usual, the mom usually asks the pediatrician, “When can my baby begin eating solid foods?” Baby will know, just pay attention to the signs. Mom just has to watch and listen.When you begin feeding your baby solid foods you want to progress in a way that sets baby up for healthy eating habits. You are not only putting food into your baby’s tummy, you are introducing lifelong attitudes about nutrition. Consider for a moment that during the first year or two you will spend more time feeding your baby than in any other interaction. You both might as well enjoy it.

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WAIT 6 REASONS:-
Gone are the days when pressured mothers stuffed globs of cereal into the tight mouths of reluctant six-week-olds. Nowadays parents feed their baby on the timetable that is developmentally and nutritionally correct — as determined by their baby. Don’t be in a rush to start solids. Here are some good reasons for waiting.

1. Baby’s intestines need to mature. The intestines are the body’s filtering system, screening out potentially harmful substances and letting in healthy nutrients. In the early months, this filtering system is immature. Between four and seven months a baby’s intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt called closure, meaning the intestinal lining becomes more selective about what to let through. To prevent potentially-allergenic foods from entering the bloodstream, the maturing intestines secrete IgA , a protein immunoglobulin that acts like a protective paint, coating the intestines and preventing the passage of harmful allergens. In the early months, infant IgA production is low (although there is lots of IgA in human milk), and it is easier for potentially-allergenic food molecules to enter the baby’s system. Once food molecules are in the blood, the immune system may produce antibodies to that food, creating a food allergy . By six to seven months of age the intestines are more mature and able to filter out more of the offending allergens. This is why it’s particularly important to delay solids if there is a family history of food allergy, and especially to delay the introduction of foods to which other family members are allergic.

2. Young babies have a tongue-thrust reflex . In the first four months the tongue thrust reflex protects the infant against choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it automatically protrudes outward rather than back. Between four and six months this reflex gradually diminishes, giving the glob of cereal a fighting chance of making it from the tongue to the tummy. Not only is the mouth-end of baby’s digestive tract not ready for early solids, neither is the lower end.

3. Baby’s swallowing mechanism is immature.
Another reason not to rush solids is that the tongue and the swallowing mechanisms may not yet be ready to work together. Give a spoonful of food to an infant less than four months, and she will move it around randomly in her mouth, pushing some of it back into the pharynx where it is swallowed, some of it into the large spaces between the cheeks and gums, and some forward between the lips and out onto her chin. Between four and six months of age, most infants develop the ability to move the food from the front of the mouth to the back instead of letting it wallow around in the mouth and get spit out. Prior to four months of age, a baby’s swallowing mechanism is designed to work with sucking, but not with chewing.

4. Baby needs to be able to sit up. In the early months, babies associate feeding with cuddling. Feeding is an intimate interaction, and babies often associate the feeding ritual with falling asleep in arms or at the breast. The change from a soft, warm breast to a cold, hard spoon may not be welcomed with an open mouth. Feeding solid foods is a less intimate and more mechanical way of delivering food. It requires baby to sit up in a highchair – a skill which most babies develop between five and seven months. Holding a breastfed baby in the usual breastfeeding position may not be the best way to start introducing solids, as your baby expects to be breastfed and clicks into a “what’s wrong with this picture?” mode of food rejection.

5. Young infants are not equipped to chew. Teeth seldom appear until six or seven months, giving further evidence that the young infant is designed to suck rather than to chew. In the pre-teething stage, between four and six months, babies tend to drool, and the drool that you are always wiping off baby’s face is rich in enzymes, which will help digest the solid foods that are soon to come.

6. Older babies like to imitate caregivers
. Around six months of age, babies like to imitate what they see. They see you spear a veggie and enjoy chewing it. They want to grab a fork and do likewise.

Like all children there are growth spurts, babies too! There are times when they are hungrier but this isn’t the sign they need solid food. Just pay attention and is if this is a consistent behavior and more than a growth spurt. If you decide it is more than just a “hungry day” it may be baby is ready for solids. If this is the case, please remember they need breast milk and formula still!

Baby’s nutrients mostly come from breast milk or formula. It is their main source of nutrients and they still require it through out the first year of their life. Theoretically, babies can begin solid foods between four and six months of age. This is not a hard and fast rule however, so if baby hasn’t begun to exhibited signs of being ready, don’t push. Each baby is different. Here are just a few of the signs that might signal baby is ready to begin solid foods, again don’t pressure or push your child.

*Adequate Neck Control
The first thing a baby has to have is neck control. If they look like a bobble head doll, they are not ready for solid food.your baby will be able to sit upright and keep the head in position for a long time.   Your baby will sit safely when you have the proper support.

If a baby has a wobbly head they are not able to swallow anything thicker than milk and to eat solid food they must be able to swallow food thicker than milk. If a baby eats solids too soon without the proper control needed they could choke.

*Reflux and Chewing
All babies’ naturally push things out of their mouth; it is natural for babies when feeding with a bottle or nipple to push things out of their mouth. It’s just the way for baby’s to prevent themselves from choking. When the reflux kicks in they begin to stop pushing nipple or bottle from their mouths.

The “extrusion reflex” cease: Your baby will no longer use his tongue out of his mouth milk or formula.

Shall be seen chewing movements. The tongue and mouth of babies is developed while your digestive system, like their teeth.

Your baby has a good appetite.
Before a baby can actually eat they need to learn to chew and this takes place when they can push the back of their mouth where it heads south to the stomach courtesy of that swallowing reflux. It’s just a matter of time. The chewing motion is a good sign that baby is ready to eat solid food. You can’t make it happen; it comes when your baby is developmentally ready.

*Weight Gain:Weight gain your baby will be significantly noticeable.
When the weight of your baby has doubled, they could be ready for foods. A rule of thumb many doctors give mothers. This alone is not a sure sign, but when it is combined with other indicators, the solid food stage is close at hand. Pay close attention and ask your pediatrician.

* Curious about the food they eat as adults.

*Individuality
Each baby is different
. If your baby is close to six months of age and not eating solids, be patient. Breast milk and formula is adequate and there is not hurry or rush. Eating more breast milk or formula will not harm your baby. When it is time for solid foods your baby will let you know. Continue to watch for the signals and pay attention to your baby’s cues.

Starting your baby on solid foods is the beginning of lifelong eating habits that contribute to your baby’s overall health. Here are general guidelines that can help you start your baby out on the right track to a healthy life. Starting baby solid foods and feeding schedule too early can cause your baby to develop food allergies.
But this is also not very true in all cases but one must start very slowly after 3to 4 months minimum one’s baby otherwise fit for it.

Resources:
http://organicbabyproducts101.com/starting-baby-food/
http://hubpages.com/hub/When-to-start-Solid-foods-for-baby-and-Baby-Feeding-Schedule
http://www.nordoniapreschoolparents.com/guide-to-the-baby-feeding-starting-solid-foods.htm

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/T032000.asp

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Baby Development & Care from Birth to Three Months

It is very difficult to know  what a newborn baby is capable of. In the early days and weeks after birth, to the naked eye, not much. Eating, crying, sleeping, and pooping seem to take up the majority of her day, with a few moments of alertness thrown in for good measure. But recent research has shown that she’s doing a lot more than that. “Even in the first minutes of life, babies are a wonder,” says Naomi Steiner, MD, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Tufts-New England Medical Center, in Boston. “The newborn has a superactive brain and is primed to learn.”
CLICK & SEE….>..….(1)….……....(2)
Recent research, much of which relies on high-tech advances in intrauterine photography and brain imaging, now offers empirical proof of what parents have known all along: Babies are smart. What’s more, each baby is born with a unique personality that becomes readily apparent within the first few weeks of life. “Babies come into the world as themselves,” says Dr. Steiner. “It’s our job to get to know them.”

Baby’s Ability

Even though your baby can’t care for herself, what she is capable of at birth may surprise you. She’s born with 70 innate reflexes designed to help her thrive, some of which are truly remarkable. “Reflexes like the tonic neck reflex — in which your baby turns his head to one side, straightens one arm, and holds the other out — are critical to labor and delivery, helping your baby squirm around during the birth process, stimulating the uterus to keep contracting,” says Dr. Brazelton. In essence, he’s helping your labor progress.

Other reflexes are less subtle to a new parent. If left on his mother’s abdomen in a dim, quiet room after birth, a healthy newborn “will rest for about 30 minutes and will gaze at his mother’s face on and off,” reports Marshall Klaus, MD, who wrote the first textbook on neonatology and has coauthored a number of popular books for new parents, including Your Amazing Newborn (Perseus). Then he’ll begin smacking his lips and moving toward the breast completely unaided, using a powerful stepping reflex and bobbing his head up and down to gather momentum. Once at the breast, a newborn will open his mouth wide and place his lips on the areola, latching on all by himself for his first feeding. From that point on, these inborn responses will affect your newborn’s every move. The rooting reflex, for example, helps your baby seek nourishment. However, seemingly random, reflexive movements may be more intentional than we first thought. “When in a quiet, alert state, and in communication with a caregiver, some babies will reach out to try and touch something,” says Dr. Klaus.

Normal newborns at birth apparently have the underlying potential to reach for things, he explains, but their strong neck muscles are linked to their arms, so that a slight neck movement moves the arms as well. This connection protects the baby’s head from suddenly dropping forward or backward.

Baby’s Thinking

It depends upon how you define thought; of course, a newborn can’t share ideas. But some researchers believe that babies do put concepts together (albeit on a primitive level), evidenced by the fact that they remember and recognize their mother’s voice from birth, and express and respond to emotions before and immediately after birth. One could argue that memory and emotion are inextricably linked to thought. “A baby’s brain grows very differently depending on what sorts of experiences the baby has both in utero and after birth,” says Wendy Anne McCarty, PhD, the founding chair and faculty of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, in California. “During gestation, birth, and early infant stages, we learn intensely and are exquisitely sensitive to our environment and relationships. From the beginning of life, we’re building memories.” Other experts say that a baby’s brain is too undeveloped to do more than orchestrate vital body functions. One fact remains clear: Newborns learn every day and apply that knowledge to their growing repertoire of skills. So can a newborn really think? Watch your baby, and judge for yourself!

Yopu may find the following:-In the first three months, your baby will learn to raise his or her head, smile, kick, move both arms and legs, roll over and make babbling noises. You will also learn to distinguish your baby’s cries, which will help you determine what your baby wants from you. Baby may also learn to wake up less as his or her stomach grows bigger and takes more in at a feeding.

Dr. Klaus discovered that newborns instinctively reach out until about 3 weeks of age, when this ability apparently disappears until about 3 months of age. This coincides with the time it takes your baby to start learning how to integrate his senses and gain control over his muscles. This is a prime example of how your baby’s need to learn so much, so quickly, means he must set aside some tasks while focusing on other, more important ones, such as regulating his sleep-wake cycles and figuring out how to focus his brand-new eyes on all the new sights around him.

So why do all these useful survival instincts seem to disappear so early — some as early as the 2-month mark? A baby spends the first few months of his life reacting to the world around him. But once he starts to understand where he ends and the world begins, which is partly a matter of brainpower, and partly a matter of practice, some behaviors that were once reflexive become active, as gradually baby learns that he can make things happen on his own and affect his environment. And, says Dr. Brazelton, “Just watching a baby learn is enough to give you hope for the human race.”

Baby’s Senses and Sensibility:-
Touch:
Your newborn’s skin is his largest and most highly developed sensory organ. At birth, your baby can respond to variations in temperature, texture, pressure, and pain. Your newborn’s lips and hands have the largest number of touch receptors, which may account for why newborns enjoy sucking on their fingers.

Smell:
By the 28th week of pregnancy, your baby can use her nose. One piece of evidence: Newborns placed between a breast pad from their mother and one from another woman most often turn toward the one with the alluring Mom-smell.

Taste:
In your womb, your baby gets a sampling of flavors as he swallows amniotic fluid. Studies have shown that fetal swallowing increases with sweet tastes and decreases with bitter or sour tastes.

Hearing:
Although your baby’s middle ear is still somewhat immature at birth, as are the sound processing centers of his brain, your newborn can hear you and will prefer human speech over any other sounds, especially if the voice is yours.

Vision:
By the time you actually meet your baby, her eyes are capable of excellent vision; however, her brain is still too immature to distinguish between different shades of color. By the time your baby is 3 months old, she will want to look at the world around her. She’ll prefer bright colors or sharp contrasts, and her favorite thing to look at will be faces.

Resources:

http://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/your-baby-from-birth-to-3-months/?page=5
http://www.thebabydepartment.com/babycare/baby-development.aspx

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Diaper rash

Other Names:-Nappy rash,Diaper dermatitis
Definition:
Diaper rash  is a generic term applied to skin rashes in the diaper area that are caused by various skin disorders and/or irritants.

Generic rash or irritant diaper dermatitis (IDD) is characterized by joined patches of erythema and scaling mainly seen on the convex surfaces, with the skin folds spared.

{Diaper dermatitis with secondary bacterial or fungal involvement tends to spread to concave surfaces (i.e. skin folds), as well as convex surfaces, and often exhibits a central red, beefy erythema with satellite pustules around the border (Hockenberry, 2003).}

Diaper rash  is a red, patchy irritation found on baby’s skin in the genital area, the folds of the thighs and the buttocks.Almost every baby will get diaper rash at least once during the first 3 years of life, with the majority of these babies 9-12 months old. .

Diaper rash appears on the skin under a diaper. Diaper rash typically occurs in infants and children younger than 2 years, but the rash can also be seen in people who are incontinent or paralyzed. Read more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for diaper rash.

There are many misconceptions about a baby’s  Diaper Rash:

*Baby‘s bottom is always  be perfectly smooth and rash-free
*Diaper rash is abnormal
*Diaper rash is a sign of food or formula allergies
*Diaper rash means the baby has bad diarrhea or a yeast infection

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

Having a diaper rash is a normal part of being a baby. There are many ways you can limit the amount of rash, but from time to time it will flare up again.  But sometimes Diaper rash may alarm parents and annoy babies, but most diaper rash cases can be resolved with simple at-home treatments.

Symptoms:
Diaper rash is characterized by the following:

*Skin signs. Diaper rash is marked by red, puffy and tender-looking skin in the diaper region — buttocks, thighs and genitals.
*Changes in your baby’s disposition. You may notice your baby seems more uncomfortable than usual, especially during diaper changes. A baby with a diaper rash often fusses or cries when the diaper area is washed or touched.

Diaper rashes can occur intermittently, anytime your child wears diapers, but they’re more common in babies during their first 15 months, especially between 8 and 10 months of age.

When to visit  a doctor:-
Diaper rash is usually easily treated and improves within a few days after starting home treatment. If your baby’s skin doesn’t improve after a few days of home treatment with over-the-counter ointment and more frequent diaper changes, talk to your doctor. Sometimes, diaper rash leads to secondary infections that may require prescription medications.

Have your child examined if:

*The rash is severe
*The rash worsens despite home treatment
Also see your child’s doctor if the rash occurs along with any of the following:

*Fever
*Blisters or boils
*A rash that extends beyond the diaper area
*Pus or weeping discharge


Causes:

Babies are so susceptible to diaper rash that wet and soiled diapers can irritate baby’s delicate skin. Naturally, if  baby is in a wet diaper for too long, she or he will be more prone to getting a rash.

Some of the most common causes of diaper rash to be aware of are:

*Irritation due to bowel movements
*Irritation due to moisture from sweat and urine
(even the most absorbent diapers leave some wetness behind)
*Not drying the skin thoroughly after a diaper change
*Diaper chafing/friction
*Diarrhea, which may be caused by antibiotics
*Change in food or introducing new foods

Irritant diaper dermatitis develops when skin is exposed to prolonged wetness, decreased skin pH caused by urine and feces, and resulting breakdown of the stratum corneum, or outermost layer of the skin. In adults, the stratum corneum is composed of 25 to 30 layers of flattened dead keratinocytes, which are continuously shed and replaced from below. These dead cells are interlaid with lipids secreted by the stratum granulosum just underneath, which help to make this layer of the skin a waterproof barrier. The stratum corneum’s function is to reduce water loss, repel water, protect deeper layers of the skin from injury and to repel microbial invasion of the skin (Tortora and Grabowski, 2003). In infants, this layer of the skin is much thinner and more easily disrupted.

Effects of urine:-

Although wetness alone macerates the skin, softening the stratum corneum and greatly increasing susceptibility to friction injury, urine has an additional impact on skin integrity because of its effect on skin pH. While studies show that ammonia alone is only a mild skin irritant, when urea breaks down in the presence of fecal urease it increases skin acidity (lower pH), which in turn promotes the activity of fecal enzymes such as protease and lipase (Atherton, 2004; Wolf, Wolf, Tuzun and Tuzun, 2001). These fecal enzymes increase the skin’s permeability to bile salts and act as irritants in and of themselves.

There is no detectable difference in rates of diaper rash in conventional disposable diaper wearers and reusable cloth diaper wearers. “Babies wearing superabsorbent disposable diapers with a central gelling material have fewer episodes of diaper dermatitis compared with their counterparts wearing cloth diapers. However, keep in mind that superabsorbent diapers contain dyes that were suspected to cause allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).” [1] (Kazzi, 2006) Whether wearing cloth or disposable diapers they should be changed frequently to prevent diaper rash, even if they don’t feel wet.

Effects of diet:-

The interaction between fecal enzyme activity and IDD explains the observation that infant diet and diaper rash are linked, since fecal enzymes are in turn affected by diet. Breast-fed babies, for example, have a lower incidence of diaper rash, possibly because their stools have lower pH and lower enzymatic activity (Hockenberry, 2003). Diaper rash is also most likely to be diagnosed in infants 8–12 months old, perhaps in response to an increase in eating solid foods and dietary changes around that age that affect fecal composition. Any time an infant’s diet undergoes a significant change (i.e. from breast milk to formula or from milk to solids) there appears to be an increased likelihood of diaper rash (Atherton and Mills, 2004).

The link between feces and IDD is also apparent in the observation that infants are more susceptible to developing diaper rash after treatment with antibiotics, which affect the intestinal microflora (Borkowski, 2004; Gupta & Skinner, 2004). Also, there is an increased incidence of diaper rash in infants who have suffered from diarrhea in the previous 48 hours, which may be because fecal enzymes such as lipase and protease are more active in feces which have passed rapidly through the gastrointestinal tract (Atherton, 2004).

The incidence of diaper rash is lower among breastfed infants—perhaps due to the less acidic nature of their urine and stool. (Kazzi, 2006)

Treatments:-

The most effective treatment, although not the most practical one, is to discontinue use of diapers, allowing the affected skin to air out. Thorough drying of the skin before diapering is a good preventive measure, since it’s the excess moisture, either from urine and feces or from sweating, that sets the conditions for a diaper rash to occur. Various moisture-absorbing powders, such as talcum or starch, also help prevention.

Another approach is to block moisture from reaching the skin, and commonly recommended remedies using this approach include oil-based protectants or barrier cream, various over-the-counter “diaper creams”, petroleum jelly and other oils. Such sealants sometimes accomplish the opposite if the skin is not thoroughly dry, in which case they serve to seal the moisture inside the skin rather than outside.

Over-the-counter products:-

Various diaper rash medications are available without a prescription. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for specific recommendations. Some popular over-the-counter ointments are:

*A + D
*Balmex
*Desitin
*Hydrocortisone
*Zinc oxide paste

Zinc oxide is the active ingredient in many diaper rash creams. These products are usually applied in a thin layer to the irritated region throughout the day to soothe and protect your baby’s skin. Zinc oxide can also be used to prevent diaper rash on normal, healthy skin.

Zinc oxide-based ointments are quite effective, especially in prevention, because they have both a drying and an astringent effect on the skin, being mildly antiseptic without causing irritation.

In persistent or especially bad rashes, an antifungal cream often has to be used. In cases that the rash is more of an irritation, a mild topical corticosteroid preparation, e.g. hydrocortisone cream, is used. As it is often difficult to tell a fungal infection apart from a mere skin irritation, many physicians prefer an antifungal-and-corticosteroid combination cream.

Some sources claim that diaper rash is more common with cloth diapers, yet others claim that the type of diaper makes no difference, but that cloth diapers can speed the healing process. In truth the material of the diaper is relevant inasmuch as it can wick and keep moisture away from the baby’s skin.

Prevention:

A few simple strategies can help decrease the likelihood of diaper rash developing on your baby’s skin:

*Change diapers often. Remove dirty diapers promptly. If your child is in child care, ask staff members to do the same.
*Rinse your baby’s bottom with water as part of each diaper change. You can use a sink, tub or water bottle for this purpose. Moist washcloths and cotton balls also can aid in cleaning the skin. Don’t use wipes that contain alcohol or fragrance.
*Pat your baby dry with a clean towel. Don’t scrub your baby’s bottom. Scrubbing can further irritate the skin.
*Don’t overtighten diapers. Diapers that are too tight prevent airflow into the diaper region, setting up a moist environment favorable to diaper rashes. Tightfitting diapers can also cause chafing at the waist or thighs.
*Give your baby’s bottom more time without a diaper. When possible, let your baby go without a diaper. Exposing skin to air is a natural and gentle way to let it dry. To avoid messy accidents, try laying your baby on a large towel and engage in some playtime while he or she is bare-bottomed.
*Wash cloth diapers carefully. Pre-soak heavily soiled cloth diapers and use hot water to wash them. Use a mild detergent and skip the fabric softeners and dryer sheets because they can contain fragrances that may irritate your baby’s skin. Double rinse your baby’s diapers if your child already has a diaper rash or is prone to developing diaper rash. If you use a diaper service to clean your baby’s diapers, make sure the diaper service takes these steps as well.
*Consider using ointment regularly. If your baby gets rashes often, apply a barrier ointment during each diaper change to prevent skin irritation. Petroleum jelly and zinc oxide are the time-proven ingredients included in many prepared diaper ointments. Using these products on clear skin helps keep it in good condition.
*After changing diapers, wash your hands well. Hand washing can prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast to other parts of your baby’s body, to you or to other children.

Cloth or disposable diapers:-
Many parents wonder about what kind of diapers to use. When it comes to preventing diaper rash, there’s no compelling evidence that cloth diapers are better than disposable diapers or vice versa, though disposables may keep baby’s skin slightly drier. Because there’s no one best diaper — use whatever works best for you and your baby. If one brand of disposable diaper irritates your baby’s skin, try another.

Whether you use cloth diapers, disposables or both kinds, always change your baby as soon as possible after he or she soils the diaper to keep the bottom as clean and dry as possible.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaper_rash
http://www.dailyglow.com/skin-problems/baby-skin-rash.html?xid=g_&gclid=CJbdvPji26ACFcvV5wodbzUVCA
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diaper-rash/DS00069
http://www.askdrsears.com/html/11/T081400.asp
http://www.myadbaby.com/diaper_rash.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=diaper%2Brash%2Bpictures&utm_campaign=diaper%2Brash&buf=999999

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Colic

Definition:
Colic is when an otherwise healthy baby cries more that three hours a day, for more than three days a week, between ages three weeks and three months. The crying usually starts suddenly at about the same time each day. This is actually just an arbitrary definition made years ago . By this definition, a surprising number of babies actually would have colic: some experts have even estimated as many as half of all babies!

CLICK & SEE

If your baby is crying a lot, you should call your doctor. Your pediatrician will want to check your baby to make sure there is no medical reason for the crying. If your baby’s doctor finds no underlying cause, then they will probably say your baby has colic. Colic is perfectly normal, and does not mean there is anything wrong with either baby or parents. Colic can be distressing for both you and your baby. But take comfort in the fact that it’s not permanent. In fact, in a matter of weeks or months — when your baby is happier and sleeping better — you’ll have weathered one of the first major challenges of parenthood.It does not have any lasting effects on the child or the mother in later life.

Signs and symptoms:

The baby’s cry is loud and they may have a red face and a tense, hard belly, because the abdominal muscles tighten with crying. Baby’s legs may be drawn up and fists clenched. This is often just the typical baby crying posture. However, the first time your baby has a long jag of inconsolable crying like this—with a tense, hard belly—you should call your doctor. This can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition that requires medical attention.
A fussy baby doesn’t necessarily have colic. In an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby, signs of colic include:

*Predictable crying episodes. A baby who has colic often cries about the same time every day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Colic episodes may last anywhere from a few minutes to three hours or more on any given day. The crying usually begins suddenly and for no clear reason. Your baby may have a bowel movement or pass gas near the end of the colic episode.
*Intense or inconsolable crying. Colic crying is intense. Your baby’s face will likely be flushed, and he or she will be extremely difficult — if not impossible — to comfort.

*Posture changes. Curled up legs, clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles are common during colic episodes.
*Colic may affect up to about 25 percent of babies. Colic usually starts a few weeks after birth and often improves by age 3 months. Although a few babies struggle with colic for months longer, colic ends by age 9 months for 90 percent of babies.

Causes:
No one really knows what causes colic. Researchers have explored a number of possibilities, including allergies, lactose intolerance, an immature digestive system, maternal anxiety, and differences in the way a baby is fed or comforted. This last idea speculates that Baby’s immature nervous system can’t handle the stimuli of everyday life, and that crying is their only way of communicating this “overload.” An opposite hypothesis is that Baby needs more stimulation, and gets it through crying. Colic is mysterious, but not harmful to your baby. et it’s still unclear why some babies have colic and others don’t.

Diagnosis:
Your baby’s doctor will do a physical exam to identify any possible causes for your baby’s distress, such as an intestinal obstruction. If your baby is otherwise healthy, he or she may be diagnosed with colic. Lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests aren’t usually needed.

Treatment:
Colic improves on its own, often by age 3 months. In the meantime, there are few treatment options. Prescription medications such as simethicone (Mylicon) haven’t proved very helpful for colic, and others can have serious side effects.

A study published in January 2007 suggests that treatment with probiotics — substances that help maintain the natural balance of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract — can soothe colic. More research is needed, however, to determine the effects of probiotics on colic.

Consult your baby’s doctor before giving your baby any medication to treat colic.

Risk factors:
Infants of mothers who smoke during pregnancy or after delivery have twice the risk of developing colic.

Many other theories about what makes a child more susceptible to colic have been proposed, but none seem to hold true. Colic doesn’t occur more often among firstborns or formula-fed babies. A breast-feeding mother’s diet isn’t likely to trigger colic. And girls and boys — no matter what their birth order or how they’re fed — experience colic in similar numbers.

Popular Myths related to colic?
Let’s debunk some of the popular myths about colic. Here are the facts:

*Babies do not cry to manipulate their parents.
*Holding babies and picking them up when they cry cannot “spoil” them.
*We do not know whether colicky babies are in pain or not, but they sure seem to be, and that can really stress out parents. Keep in mind that your baby may not actually be in pain or distress, but just doing what they need to do for their immature nervous systems.
*Giving rice cereal does not help solve colic.
*Studies have shown that Simethicone (Mylicon) and lactase (the enzyme that helps digest lactose—the sugar in cow’s milk—which is in breast milk if the mother consumes dairy products) do not help colic. ,
*Sedatives, antihistamines, and motion-sickness medications, like dicyclomine (Bentyl) are NOT safe or effective in treating colic in babies. Often grandparents will suggest these medications. They were commonly used years ago, but now we know better.

Self Care:

Your baby’s doctor may not be able to fix colic or make it go away sooner, but there are many ways you can try to soothe your baby. Consider these suggestions:

  • Feed your baby. If you think your baby may be hungry, try a feeding. Hold your baby as upright as possible, and burp your baby often. Sometimes more frequent — but smaller — feedings are helpful. If you’re breast-feeding, it may help to empty one breast completely before switching sides. This will give your baby more hindmilk, which is richer and potentially more satisfying than the foremilk present at the beginning of a feeding.
  • Offer a pacifier. For many babies, sucking is a soothing activity. Even if you’re breast-feeding, it’s OK to offer a pacifier to help your baby calm down.
  • Hold your baby. Cuddling helps some babies. Others quiet when they’re held closely and swaddled in a lightweight blanket. To give your arms a break, try a baby sling, backpack or other type of baby carrier. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby by holding him or her too much.
  • Keep your baby in motion. Gently rock your baby in your arms or in an infant swing. Lay your baby tummy down on your knees and then sway your knees slowly. Take a walk with your baby, or buckle your baby in the car seat for a drive. Use a vibrating infant seat or vibrating crib.
  • Sing to your baby. A soft tune might soothe your baby. And even if lullabies don’t stop your baby from crying, they can keep you calm and help pass the time while you’re waiting for your baby to settle down. Recorded music may help, too.
  • Turn up the background noise. Some babies cry less when they hear steady background noise. When holding or rocking your baby, try making a continuous “shssss” sound. Turn on a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan, or play a tape or CD of environmental sounds such as ocean waves, a waterfall or gentle rain. Sometimes the tick of a clock or metronome does the trick.
  • Use gentle heat or touch. Give your baby a warm bath. Softly massage your baby, especially around the tummy.
  • Give your baby some private time. If nothing else seems to work, a brief timeout might help. Put your baby in his or her crib for five to 10 minutes.
  • Mix it up. Experiment to discover what works best for your baby, even if it changes from day to day.
  • Consider dietary changes. If you breast-feed, see if eliminating certain foods from your own diet — such as dairy products, citrus fruits, spicy foods or drinks containing caffeine — has any effect on your baby’s crying. If you use a bottle, a new type of bottle or nipple might help.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s crying or your baby isn’t eating, sleeping or behaving like usual, contact your baby’s doctor. He or she can help you tell the difference between a colic episode and something more serious.

How you can help your baby relieve their colic distress?

Colic usually starts to improve at about six weeks of age, and is generally gone by the time your baby is 12 weeks old. While you are waiting for that magic resolution, try these techniques to help soothe your infant:

  • Respond consistently to your baby’s cries.
  • Don’t panic and don’t worry. If you are worried, bring your baby to their pediatrician.
  • When your baby cries, check to see if they are hungry, tired, in pain, too hot or cold, bored, over-stimulated, or need a diaper change.
  • Some parents find that carrying their baby more reduces colic. You can try different baby carriers to make it easier and free your hands. Many parents (and babies!) love slings once they get the hang of them—but sometimes it takes a little experimentation. One study found carrying babies four to five hours a day resulted in less crying at six weeks of age, as compared to carrying them only two to three hours a day. On the other hand, a later study by the same researcher did not find significantly less crying in babies carried more. So your best bet is just to see if it makes any difference with your baby.
  • Vacuum while wearing your baby in a baby carrier.
  • Rock your baby.
  • Change formula. Talk with your baby’s doctor first.
  • Breastfeeding moms can try changing their diets. In a recent study , researchers found that taking out allergenic foods (cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy and fish) from the breastfeeding mom’s diet reduced crying and fussing in babies under 6 weeks.
  • Play music and dance with your baby.
  • Talk a walk with your baby in the stroller. This can really help with your stress level, in addition to soothing your baby.
  • Get support from family, friends, your religious community, neighbors, etc. Let them help in any way possible.
  • Take care of yourself and manage your stress. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting sleep and exercise, and having people to talk to can do wonders. If the stress or blues become too much, it’s good idea to get professional help. Your or your baby’s doctor might be able to help you figure out where to start.
  • Nurse your baby every 2-3 hours if you are breastfeeding.
  • Don’t smoke, and don’t allow anyone to smoke around your baby. Babies of smokers cry more, and get sick more often, too. Smoker’s babies also have an increased risk of SIDS.
  • Quitting smoking during pregnancy may reduce the likelihood that your baby will develop colic . in addition to all the other benefits to you and your baby.
  • You could try a device that attaches to the crib. It’s designed to simulate a car ride, but it is not clear that the device actually works. The Sleep Tight Infant Soother consists of a vibration unit that mounts under the crib and a sound unit that attaches to the crib rail. Your pediatrician can tell you whether it would be a good idea to try in your baby’s case. The device is not promoted directly to consumers. Some insurance companies may reimburse the cost if you have a physician prescription. You can reach the manufacturer at 1-800-NO-COLIC or 1-800-662-6542. There is no research to prove that the Sleep Tight works, and some parents have been dissatisfied with it.
  • Provide white noise, such as running the vacuum cleaner, clothes dryer, or hair dryer near your baby while in their car seat. (Do not put your baby on top of the dryer—they could fall off!) White noise machines are also available. White noise simulates the whooshing sound your baby heard constantly while in utero. You can also do your own “whooshing” or “shushing” with your voice as you rock or carry your baby.
  • Go for a car ride.
  • Massage your baby. Find out how to do infant massage for colic. Massage has many benefits for both the baby and the giver of the massage.
  • Some parents have found that herbal tea is helpful. The combination of chamomile, fennel, vervain, licorice, and balm-mint was found to be effective in one study. Other traditional herbs for colic tea include anise, catnip, caraway, mint, fennel, dill, cumin, and ginger root. Gripe water, available in Britain and Canada, is made from dill. These remedies are not produced or regulated in the same standardized ways that medications are—so you don’t know exactly what you are getting. These herbs have not all been studied, and therefore it is not certain that they are all safe. More research is needed to be sure these preparations are safe and effective. If you choose to give herbal tea, start by giving only an ounce, and never give more than four to six ounces per day. Babies who fill up on tea don’t drink enough breast milk or formula and then have trouble growing. Please remember that just because something is “natural”, it is not necessarily safe.

Places where you to get more information about colic:
On the Web:

Recommended reading:

  • The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, by Harvey Karp
    This book teaches you simple techniques based on other cultures where babies do not get colic, and on the idea a baby’s first three months are like a fourth trimester.
  • Check out the chapter on colic in the book, The Holistic Pediatrician (second edition), by Kathi Kemper.
  • Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents, by Vimala Schneider McClure
  • Crying Baby: Resource List—recommended books about soothing crying babies.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/yourchild/colic.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/colic/

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