( By Dr. H.K.Bakhru )

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1-Infantile Colic

Colic is a painful stomach condition. Babies between the age of three and six months usually suffer from this condition. It is characterised by pain in the abdomen as a result of complete or partial blockage of one of the hollow tubes - intestines, ureters and bile ducts. The muscles lining the tube contract in order to expel the contents but cannot, and the resulting tension produces the pain. Typically, colic occurs between the six O'clock and ten O'clock evening feeds.


The main symptoms of colic in infants is a sharp stabbing pain in the stomach which makes the child cry uncontrollably. The feet became cold and pain occurs in paroxysms marked by a loud, violent cry with drawing up of the legs. The paroxysms are relieved by the expulsion of gas.


The exact cause of infantile colic is not known. One of the most important causes of this disease is the faulty feeding habit of the infant, on the part of the mother. It may result from inferior quality of the milk, or overfeeding the infant or more often, both. As most babies of this age are on a milk diet, the most obvious reasons can be that they are being bottle-fed and the milk does not agree with them. The child may also be allergic to cow's milk.

Another important cause of colic is the swallowing of too much air by the baby. There may be a large hole in the bottle teat which may cause gulps of air to be swallowed with the milk. This may distend the stomach and interfere with the normal digestion. Colic may also be caused by too small a hole in the bottle teat. This makes the child suck hard, which may increase the amount of swallowed air. It also makes child suck hard, which may increase the amount of swallowed air. It also makes the child tired before his hunger gets satisfied.

Breast fed babies are less likely to be affected with colic.

They may, however, suffer from this ailment in the evening if they feel hungry. Milk secretion can be low towards the end of the day, and perhaps a supplementary feed may be needed temporarily to prevent colic. Treatment

The baby should be given a little tepid water to sip. A small warm-water enema should be given to cleanse the bowels, if possible. This will be most effective in overcoming the problem. Feeding should not be resumed until all signs of colic have disappeared.

The mother should, in addition, look very carefully at her own diet, and regulate it according to the dietary restrictions for adults. The emphasis should be on natural foods, specially whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and raw vegetables. She should also avoid overfeeding of the chld in future. Four-hourly feeds and, if possible no night feeding, should be the rule.

Sometimes, the milk of the mother is affected from a psychological cause, such as bad temper, worry and great excitement. The baby should never be fed when the mother is in such a state. The home atmosphere should be kept quiet and calm, for all babies react to nervous tension and stress.

In case of bottle-feed babies, it should be ensured that the nipple is clean and that the hold is neither too large, nor too small. If the colic is caused by swallowing of the air, it can not be expelled while the baby is lying flat. He should therefore be held in vertical position and the swallowed air is likely to come up fairly quickly and this may relieve the pain. When the problem becomes severe, two firm pillows should be placed be beneath the mattress at the head end so that the mattress will be steep enough to raise the baby's head well above the level of his feet, but so not so steep that he slids down. Application of head to the abdomen in the form of a small towel wrung out of hot water and squeezed will also help recovery.

A mild tea made from the herb chamomile (babunah) is regarded as a gentle and effectie home remedy for infantile colic.

This tea should be prepared by infusing one teaspoon of the herb in a cup of boiling water. It should then be strained through a filter and sweetened with a little honey. It should be gien to the infant in one teaspoon dose.

A liquid prepared from fennel seeds (saunf) is considered beneficial in the treatment of colic suffered by older babies. This liquid is prepared by boiling one-fourth tea spoon of fennel in a little milk for five minutes and then strained.

An infusion of a carway seeds (siya jeera) is another effective remedy for colic in older infants. A tablespoon of these seeds should be infused in a cup of boiling water. It should be allowed to stand for 20 minutes, and then strained through a filter. One teaspoon of this infusion should be given to the child from time to time till the pain subsides.

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