Any parent whose baby is suffering (or has suffered) from Transient Lactase Deficiency (infant colic) will know how stressful it is for the whole family, but the condition, which causes excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy, is surprisingly common with 1 in 5 babies affected. In fact, lots of famous newborns have been reported to have suffered with infant colic, including Prince George and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s twins.
Qualified midwife and independent health visitor Penny Lazell comments:
“Symptoms of transient lactase deficiency are often a very unsettled baby who is fussy and gassy and has obvious abdominal cramps. They will have an intense cry and are usually difficult to settle. They may be calmed by feeding but this then exacerbates the problem as more lactose is introduced to the gut. If a baby has transient lactase deficiency, it can be very distressing for both parents and baby and can increase anxiety.”
The good news is that infant colic doesn’t last, usually running its course by three or four months. In the meantime, Penny shares her top tips for soothing the symptoms of infant colic.
Top tips to soothe infant colic
1. Try not to worry as it’s a temporary condition. Transient lactase deficiency occurs in babies usually in the first few months of life when they may not have produced enough lactase enzyme to break down the lactose in the milk.
2. Giving smaller frequent feeds can reduce the amount of lactose a baby takes each time.
3. Babies with transient lactase deficiency can be hard work. Call on friends and relatives to help you care for your baby and give you a break.
4. Try feeding your baby in different positions. For instance, the rugby ball hold for breastfed babies or sitting more upright if formula fed. This often helps slow down the feed.
5. Once you’ve finished feeding, try holding your baby in an upright position as this can help reduce discomfort.
6. Where stomach cramps are causing distress, introduce gentle massage techniques to relieve pain and discomfort.
7. Try skin to skin contact as this can have a calming effect on you and baby.
8. Warm baths may also help relieve discomfort.
9. Carry your baby in a baby sling or sitting them in an upright position after feeds may also help digestion.
10. Use lactase drops to help with the breakdown of milk lactose. Guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) suggest a one week trial of lactase drops to make digesting lactose easier. If you’re concerned, then do seek the advice of a healthcare professional.
New Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops help make digesting lactose easier for babies. They can be used from birth, are sugar, preservative and flavour free and can be added to breast milk or infant formula prior to feeding. Unlike other preparations, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops do not interfere with the feeding process meaning that baby can be fed immediately rather than having to wait 30 minutes for the drops to take effect.
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops cost £9.99 for 60 feeds and are available from Asda stores or online at www.asda.co.uk