Colic is a condition whereby a healthy baby cries for a prolonged period of time. This usually starts when a baby is two weeks old and is estimated to stop after three or four months. Episodes of colic mainly occur in the evening, and you will often notice that your baby cries for more than three hours a day.
Causes of Colic
It is still unknown to health professionals what exactly causes colic. However, there are some theories as to why it occurs. Your baby may experience colic due to:
- Overfeeding or underfeeding.
- An imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive system.
- Sensitivity to breast milk.
- Discomfort because of gas or indigestion.
- Hormones that cause crankiness or belly pain.
- Sensitivity to light or noise.
- Development of the nervous system.
- Emotional reaction to the excitement, fear or frustration.
Symptoms of Colic
It is natural for babies to cry, especially during their first three months, which may make it challenging to identify whether your baby has colic. Symptoms of colic include:
- Crying at a specific time, especially in the evening.
- Intense crying that sounds like screaming.
- Your baby’s cheeks turning red.
- Body tension like clenched fists, curled legs, stiff arms or an arched back.
- Crying even after breastfeeding or changing their diaper.
Colic does not cause any long-term or short-term issues for babies, and it goes away on its own after three or four months. However, dealing with a baby who is constantly crying is very stressful. Since there is no known cause of colic, there is no medical treatment for it but there are some remedies you could try at home. Here are a few things you can do to soothe your child and reduce colic symptoms.
1. Breastfeed your Baby
One of the theories as to why colic occurs is underfeeding. You can try breastfeeding your baby to see if it reduces the crying episodes. However, it is essential to remember not to overfeed your baby. You should also keep track of the food you eat and what beverages you consume.
Caffeinated drinks, nuts and chocolate can act as stimulants for your baby. If you are on any medication, consult a doctor to see whether it is affecting your baby. Parenting: Breastfeeding Hacks For New Mums
2. Hold your baby
Holding or rocking your baby can really go a long way in reducing their crying episodes. You can try:
- Rocking your baby in your arms or on an infant swing.
- Holding your baby across your lap and massaging their back.
- Holding your baby upright if you suspect that gas or indigestion could be the cause of colic.
3. Use a Pacifier
Although some babies may not like the idea of a pacifier, you could try using one as a way to distract your baby.
4. Swaddle your Baby
Swaddling involves wrapping your baby in a soft blanket or a swaddle blanket, so they feel warm and cosy. It is said that swaddling provides security and safety while also mimicking the environment of the womb. You can also try swaying your baby after swaddling to try and help them relax.
5. Give your Baby a Bath
Giving your baby a warm bath can help to soothe colic and also help your baby to sleep soundly. You can also opt to place a warm towel on their belly.
6. Go for a Walk or Ride
Staying in the house constantly can be exhausting for you and your baby. Take your baby out for a stroll in their stroller or go for a drive. This will also help you to take a breather.
7. Sing to your Infant
This may be the best time to learn some lullabies. Take time and sing to your baby to help soothe their crying. It can also be an excellent technique to learn for those days when you want your baby to sleep.
8. Skin to Skin contact
Skin-to-skin contact is vital for newborn babies. Not only does it help the parent and child to bond, but it also helps to reduce stress levels. Once you have bathed your baby and dried them, place your baby on your chest with both of you covered with a blanket. Let your baby lay on your chest for at least an hour.
When to seek medical attention
If you notice that your baby is experiencing a fever, bloody stool or vomiting, then you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. During the first weeks, if you are unsure whether you are dealing with colic, then there is no harm in consulting with a health specialist. Some conditions may resemble colic, so it is a wise choice.
Dealing with Colic as A Parent
Caring for a baby with colic can be pretty challenging, especially if it is your first time as a parent. You may end up feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. If you get to this point, find someone you trust to take over so you can take a break. It is important to remember that colic is normal and only occurs for a short period of time. Be patient with your baby, provide them with extra love and before you know it, three months will be done.
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