Infant colic has a way of bringing new parents to the brink of insanity.
Parents expect babies to cry. But when their baby cries relentlessly in discomfort, parents are left tapped out and extremely stressed.
We’re wired to answer our babies’ cries and to try to ease their discomfort.
When the crying persists, it can be heartbreaking.
Has An Australian Pharmacist Found The Colic Cure?
Peter Litas of Padbury Pharmacy, offers a popular colic remedy. The Australian pharmacist has even received orders from as far away as London.
Why is his colic ‘cure’ so popular? Parents say it’s the only thing that works to calm their babies.
Could this pharmacist hold the solution for weary parents?
What Is Colic?
If you have a baby under the age of three months who cries quite a bit, chances are you’ve heard of colic.
The word can feel like a catch-all term for fussy babies. However, colic typically has some specific criteria.
BellyBelly’s lactation consultant, Renee Kam, IBCLC, says: “If you have a baby who is under the age of about three months and has episodes where he:
- Cries a lot, sometimes inconsolably
- Doesn’t settle easily to sleep (if at all)
- Cluster feeds (i.e. has many feeds close together – perhaps 3 or 4 within a couple of hours)
- Appears very ‘windy’ or ‘gassy’
- Goes red in the face
- Makes facial grimaces
- Brings his knees up to his chest
- Arches his back
then it’s likely your baby has colic. Colic tends to begin around the late afternoon or early evening and can last for a few hours or more”.
When your baby has crying spells, you feel there must be something wrong. You go through your checklist: feeding, checking the nappy, and making sure he’s not too hot or cold. You’ve probably even taken him for an extra doctor’s visit to ensure he’s healthy.
When it’s colic, your otherwise healthy baby is simply unsettled and crying.
Is Colic Normal Or Is It A Health Issue?
Nothing about a baby crying for hours feels normal. In cases of colic, however, it appears to be a normal part of the transition from womb to world for otherwise healthy babies.
No one is certain what causes colic, but there are several theories, including:
- An immature digestive system
- Overstimulation of the brain
- A need to cluster feed, to tank up in preparation for sleeping at night.
If your baby has been thoroughly examined by his doctor, and is growing and developing as expected, colic might be diagnosed and seen simply as part of your baby’s transition.
Be sure to read Colic – What Is Colic? 5 Common Questions Answered to learn more about the causes of colic, and ways to cope with it.
What Is The Chemist’s Colic Cure?
Based on a recipe inherited from his pharmacist dad, Litas’ formula includes an antacid and a muscle relaxer. It is designed to relieve gastric discomfort, which is thought to be a common cause of colic.
This over-the-counter preparation (meaning a physician’s prescription isn’t necessary) runs at about $40 per 100ml bottle.
Local parents, who visit weekly for their made-to-order remedy, say it works wonders and they see the results quickly.
Mr Litas insists “there’s nothing magic” about his remedy, but he is nevertheless happy to be able to offer some relief to desperate parents.
Is The Colic Remedy Safe?
Lots of over-the-counter remedies are available all over the world. There are also many home remedies doing the rounds in parenting groups.
Doctors have prescribed antacids for infants who suffer from gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD, or GERD in the US)
When giving medications to infants, however, it’s important to weigh up the benefits and risks. Even though they are commonly prescribed, reflux medications have side effects. Although most reflux medications prescribed to infants are acid suppressors, antacids used to be more commonly prescribed.
For some medical professionals, antacids for infants have now fallen out of favour, due to their high sodium and aluminium content.
A muscle relaxer, like all medications, has the potential to cause side effects. Some side effects of muscle relaxers in general are: dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, respiratory concerns, and gastric upset.
Although it seems weary parents are finding relief with Litas’ colic remedy, some healthcare professionals caution against using over-the-counter products for infants.
What Do Health Professionals Say About This Colic Remedy?
Australian Medical Association (Western Australia) Vice President, Dr Mark Duncan-Smith, cautioned parents against using over-the-counter items for infants without consulting their doctor.
He said, “Other things can mimic colic and essentially it’s anything that’s going to cause a baby to cry. If there’s no diagnosis of anything more serious, then other symptomatic remedies – lotions and potions – can be looked at”.
If you simply assume your baby has colic and go straight to a medication not prescribed by a physician, you run the risk of missing an underlying medical concern.
Renee Kam, IBCLC, says, “ ‘Colic’ is a very ill-defined term. No-one really knows what it is or what causes it. If parents are worried about their baby, it’s important for them to seek medical advice. It might be their baby is doing normal newborn baby things, or maybe something is going on that needs to be addressed (e.g. a feeding issue, a food sensitivity)”.
You might have theories, but without knowing the cause, and knowing the crying could be the result of something else, it’s important you talk to your baby’s doctor before trying any remedies.
It’s also important to discuss the possible side effects of antacids and muscle relaxers, in relation to your baby’s age, weight, and personal medical history.
What Can I Do If I Think My Child Has Colic?
As the mama of a baby who cried for months (actually, years) I can fully understand the challenges of coping with an infant who has colic, or a colic-like cry.
In our case, his crying wasn’t related to colic, which became evident when it lasted well beyond three months. This meant is was vital we worked with a physician. While it presented much like colic, his condition was the result of other health concerns. We weren’t able to solve the probelm, but we learned many coping strategies, like babywearing.
If you believe your child has colic, the first step is to talk to your baby’s physician. You’ll also need to make sure you have adequate support, as dealing with colic can be taxing.