If you’re the parent of an infant, you may be all too aware that the “rule of threes” - crying for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, for longer than three weeks – spells colic. Infant colic is a common concern that causes suffering among infants and significant stress and sleep loss for their parents, with little help available from conventional medicine in terms of treatment. In my experience as a Naturopathic Doctor, infant colic is treatable and symptoms can be significantly improved when we address the root cause of this concern.
One of the first principles of naturopathic care, including the care of colicky infants, is to “heal the gut”. An infant’s gut is sterile at birth and becomes colonized with the bacteria he or she is exposed to - whether through the birth canal, contact with caregivers’ skin, or surfaces in the hospital room, the balance of bacteria that take up residence in your baby's intestines can have an incredible influence on his or her digestive and immune health, both in the short-term and long-term. A baby's digestive tract bacteria can be influenced by constituents in breast milk or formula, and whether he or she was born vaginally or by Cesarean section. A suboptimal balance of bacteria - too many "bad" bacteria and not enough "good" bacteria - in an infant’s gut can lead to excess gas, incomplete digestion and assimilation of nutrients, excess gas, smelly poops, constipation and of course, colic. Symptoms of painful gastric acid reflux can also be helped by probiotics. Further, when introduced early in an infant's life, probiotics can help to prevent immunological conditions such as allergies and eczema.
Other naturopathic approaches to healing colic may include dietary changes (whether to mom’s diet or with formula choice), gentle herbal infusions, infant abdominal massage and homeopathic medicine. I also frequently refer infants with colic, reflux or other tummy troubles for chiropractic care, osteopathy or craniosacral therapy.
A combination of safe, gentle approaches can help your baby heal from tummy troubles, naturally. Please contact us if you’d like more information about natural health for your child.
Dr. Elizabeth Cherevaty, ND
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