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07 Apr 2003

Colic Remedies
Dear Dr. Marais,

I would just like to know how safe Donnatal is for infants. My little girl is 6 weeks old with colic and our paediatrician prescribed Donnatal after we tried Buscopan but to no avail.

Please if you could also include a few pointers on relieving it

Deeply appreciated

Answer 689 views
Expert
childhood diseases
paediatrician

01 Jan 0001

Colic is very real entity, but the medical profession is still unsure exactly what the cause is. What is clear is that it is not a dangerous condition and that the crying is not always associated with pain. It seems as if it is partly a normal developmental phenomenon in infants and that the crying is worse before they go to sleep. Sometimes the crying itself can keep them awake and this may establish a viscious circle when good meaning parents try to console their child and in the process delay the onset of sleep even further.

Management wise the parent's perception is important, because often we become very distressed thinking our child is in pain. The best approach is to eliminate all the dangerous conditions that may cause excessive crying (this your paediatrician would have done) and then to remain as calm and collected as possible Your child is very aware of your own emotional state and this may have a calming influence or the opposite. Most of the medications are sedatives, anti-acids or anti-spasmodics and none have proven benefit. The best is to stick to the basics by making sure your child is well winded after a feed and thinking of some relaxing activity that may encourage sleep initiation, like going for a walk in your cangaroo bag or pram, going for a drive in the car or doing something that simulates that movement etc. Try to stay calm and create a calm environment for your baby. I will advise the use of medication only in extreme cases and will restrict the use of sedatives like Donnatal to times when you desperately need sleep yourself.

You will get many different opinions, but I restricted myself to our current medical approach and knowledge of the problem. Good luck!! and remember to share some of the night time duties so that you can get some important rest as well.
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