Hot topic: The rule of threes

You take your beautiful newborn home from the hospital, looking all pink, cute and sleepy. But then, within a week, your little bundle is crying inconsolably before, after and in-between each feed. You can sense their discomfort and see their pain. This is colic, which, according to many experts, presents itself as continuous crying in an infant that lasts more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for over three weeks. The bad news is that it can last until they’re three months old. The good news, however, is that colicky babies are not unhealthy babies and once diagnosed a lot can be done to ease the symptoms.

Marta Gonzalez de Antonio, a physiotherapist with Kuur Rehabilitation, has been working with colicky babies for the past four years and has brought much needed relief to both the little ones and their harassed parents through carefully planned physiotherapy techniques. “Colic is a painful condition for a baby and is accompanied by pain, abdominal tension, wind and constipation,” she tells us. “The most important thing in treating baby colic is the ‘why’.” It’s this exact question that brings many concerned parents to their pediatrician’s office.

So, we ask, what causes the condition, and what can be done to alleviate it? “There are many causes that can contribute to baby colic and sometimes it is more than one,” explains de Antonino. This includes feeding habits and patterns that can lead to anxiety and stress in the baby, altered gut bacteria, an allergy to proteins in cow milk, gastric reflux – the list goes on. “But once a doctor has found the correct diagnosis, a specially trained physiotherapist is the next step.” The physiotherapist will take an in-depth history to understand the origin of the problem and then develop a treatment plan that involves the parents. The baby receives visceral and connective tissue massages to reduce the symptoms and it is this special technique that relaxes the tension in the stomach and gut, addressing causes without resulting in pressure, irritation or pain. Giving us all hope, de Antonio assures us that baby colic is self-limiting, but it can be very stressful for both the baby and parents to deal with unless treatment is sought. And soon.

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