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Does your baby have colic?

Elizabeth Keefe


Q I am a new mother of a 4 week-old baby boy, and he is very fussy even after feedings. I am breastfeeding every hour and half and supplementing a bottle almost every time. My question is: Will my baby stop eating when he has gotten his fill? My mother says yes but my doctors nurse says no. She says his fussiness is due to a belly ache, but I feel he is not getting enough to eat. He gets very upset and wails, his legs and arms shake as he cries. He is otherwise a very good baby and when I can get him content, he can entertain himself in his bouncer or swing. Does my infant have colic or is he just not getting enough to eat?

A Based on my experiences with my daughters, Cassi and Hannah having Colic, and researching Colic and Digestive problems in young babies this is what I have found:

The doctor's nurse is right, he is suffering from a belly ache, more specifically it is sharp pains in the intestines. "The baby's abdomen becomes distended with gas, they pull up or stiffen their legs, scream piercingly, and may pass gas by rectum." (Doctor Spock's Baby and Child Care) Colic is a digestive problem that occurs between 3 and 4 weeks, and lasts as long as 3 months of age. It usually strikes after feedings, and can be extremely painful. Another form of colic- Irritable crying, usually occurs at one regular time of day but does not show any signs of pain or gas.

It sounds like your son is getting enough to eat. Sometimes the bottle is what is causing the colic. Some babies have a sensitivity to formula. You may want to try giving him soy formula, or even try breastfeeding exclusively. In my daughters case, the supplemental bottle was making the colic worse. When my daughter had colic, I discontinued bottle-feeding and that seemed to help her significantly. Breastfed babies nurse not only because they are hungry but to be comforted as well. Your son will continue to nurse, even if he has had enough to eat. You can also let him lay across your legs on his belly. A warm water bottle on his belly may also help. I would not recommend using a pacifier for comfort. Nursing is the best pacifier you can give your son. A recent study by the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists has linked pacifier use to decreased breastfeeding in babies.

Elizabeth Geiger
Editor - The Baby Corner

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