One of the questions we get a lot is: “Will chiropractic help with my colic (fussy, gassy or crampy) baby?”
Let’s get down to it – colic isn’t always a clear cut diagnosis, in fact, it’s not a diagnosis at all. Think of colic as something babies do, a behaviour pattern, rather than something babies have. It’s better to think of it in this way than as a disease. Colic is the diagnosis you get when your baby has been fully examined by your paed and finds your baby to be thriving, healthy and well-fed however still keeping everyone awake and frustrated with bouts of inconsolable crying.
What causes colic?
Right now we are still trying to figure out why a perfectly healthy baby would cry inconsolably. Research shows us that only 5% of babies with excessive, uncontrollable crying may have an organic cause. I work together with paediatricians, lactation consultants and clinic sisters to ensure that if there is a cause we find out what it is.
Having said that, there are a few aspects of this phenomenon that we know for definite:
- Colic babies have different levels of gut chemicals to other babies. This can lead to cramps of the intestines and they will be harder to calm.
- Colic babies have altered gut bacteria which can mean they produce more intestinal gas than other babies.
Not only is your baby’s gut immature, but their nervous systems are too. I believe a big part of this colic behaviour is due to a baby’s primitive nervous system, the transition to the non-womb environment where their needs are not instantly met like they once were. This can be just too much for them to handle. Simply put there is a stark discrepancy between what your newborn expects and the reality of the outside world. This means that they get wound up very quickly because they can’t process or regulate internal and external stimulation.
Just imagine yourself when you’re stressed, on high alert or anxious – sometimes your stomach starts to hurt, you find yourself tense and far from ease. That’s exactly what can happen to these babies.
How does seeing a chiropractor help fussy babies?
Gentle chiropractic care removes areas of irritation to a baby’s system such as muscle tension and restricted movement. By doing this we often see these babies decrease the wind-up, calm their system and so they self-regulate with greater ease. Along with the manual therapies, we focus on helping parents understand and manage their expectations better, as well as give home exercises that help get those winds out and different ways to help babies settle.
If you find yourself with a fussy baby reach out, we would love to connect and help you.