Having a baby is one of the best feelings in the world. Holding your bundle of joy in your arms is sure to fill your heart with immense happiness. But while your heart is full your life gets filled with responsibilities and duties that come along as you step in your abode with your tiny tot. While everything else can be handled what startles the parents, especially the new ones, is the incessant cries of the baby. Though mostly babies cry only when they are hungry or when irritated, there are some babies who cry relentlessly for hours. No matter how hard you try to console and calm the baby, every effort of yours seem to fail. You try to feed it, take it out for a walk, sing to it a lullaby and even change the diapers and clothes, but nothing seems to bring down the terrible wailing. However, this isn't the time to get irritated, annoyed or even worried as to what is wrong with the infant. Your baby might be having colic, a condition where the infant cries or screams frequently for extended periods, without any observable reason. So if you see an unhappy red face, clenched fists or ear-shattering wails then do not lose your calm. You might be having a colicky baby. Just keep scrolling to know all about the causes, symptoms, natural remedies and tips to relief colic in your baby.
What do you mean by colicky baby?
You fed your baby well, made her wear a clean diaper, made sure that she is cosy and comfortable, yet, she has been wailing. Perplexed! Don’t be. Though babies do cry for longer durations, however, colicky babies cry a lot more than usual. However, this phase is not permanent and there are many parents who are sailing on the same boat. Colic is not a disease and there is no solution to it. It gets better with the passage of time. One in five babies experience colic and the fussy periods can stretch for hours, worst of all, sometimes late into night.
How do I know if my baby has colic?
If your baby is healthy yet gets fussy or cries inconsolably for hours, for no obvious reason, your baby might have colic. The cries are usually high-pitched or louder than regular crying which seem like an expression of pain. The crying spells usually become worse in evenings and nights.
At what age does colic start?
Usually colic starts when you baby is about three weeks old. It intensifies when your baby turns four to six weeks old. It starts getting better after six weeks and by the time your baby turns twelve weeks old, it settles completely.
Do breastfed babies get colic?
Colic is a very common condition. One in every five babies is affected by colic irrespective of whether they are formula fed or breastfed.
Causes of Colic in Babies
There are several theories and hypothesis behind the cause of colic in babies, but none has been proven yet. The exact cause of colic is unknown. If you have a colicky baby, it surely is not your fault or it has nothing to do with your parenting skills. Following are some possible causes of colicky crying.
One probable theory about the cause of colic is the development of an allergy to something the baby ingested. Since the digestive system of the baby is not as developed as adults, the food does not easily pass through the digestive tract, thus causing problems. Certain foods consumed by lactating mothers contain chemicals and allergens. While feeding, these chemicals may pass on to the baby via breast milk, thus causing gas and bloating in the infant.
Immature Digestive System
Some theories suggest that colic is the outcome of the pain caused by the violent contraction of the digestive tract when the baby passes gas. Infants often while being fed swallow air along with the food and liquid. This increases gas and bloating further adding to the discomfort.
Exposure to Tobacco
Recent studies have linked the cause of colic to the smoking habit of the parents. Studies show that mothers who smoke during or after pregnancy might have colicky babies. Second-hand smoke is also considered as one of the reasons for babies to have colic.
Symptoms of Colicky Babies
- The most common sign of colic is when the baby cries continuously and loudly from 1-3 hours at a time, for about three or four days in a week.
- During the condition of colic, infant sucks with vigor, gulping down the formula and along with it air. Though transient relief is achieved from the food, it does not remain for long as the infant is attacked by another episode of evident gastrocolic cramping and pain, due to the air which was swallowed and thus, starts crying out again.
- Often colicky babies reflect symptoms of having flatus (gas or air in the intestines) and borborygmus (movement of air and fluid in the intestines), due to which they feel the discomfort and thus start crying.
- Some colicky babies may have spasmodic attacks that last only a few minutes, whereas others may appear to be in pain all day.
- Common physical symptoms of colicky babies include face getting red, knees pulled to the chest, clenched fists, cold feet, flailing arms and legs, and an arched back.
- Colicky babies may have some gastroesophageal reflux, but do not have vomiting, diarrhea, persistent abdominal distention or poor growth.
- Baby with colic may have difficulty in falling or staying asleep. Inappropriate sleep may further cause uneasiness and disturbance, thereby causing incessant crying.
- While the babies can cry anytime, most of the colicky babies cry more in the early evening or late afternoon. You might also notice a pattern, the wailing might usually occur around the same time each day or night, usually after meal times, and might end abruptly as it began.
Natural or Home Remedies and Tips to Calm Colicky Babies (Tips and Remedies That You Must Try For Colic)
Rocking or Cradling
You can use calming techniques like rhythmic motion which may involve rocking your child in a cradle or in your lap in a rocking chair. Holding the baby in your arms and walking up and down the room is also a good way to soothe the baby.
You can use the traditional Asian method of baby massaging. In this practice, the baby is stroked in a continuous, flowing movement from head to feet, using light stroking and deeper massage technique.
You can also put your baby in a baby sling that allows you to keep it close to your chest without you having to hold the baby quite literally. Proximity to your body might help you calm down your baby.
Laying your baby on the Tummy
Trying laying your baby on its tummy and give it a rub on the back. This change in position not only helps in passing gas, put tummy time also results in building stronger shoulder muscles and neck.
Note: However, may sure you do this when your baby is awake and under your supervision.
Dancing or Singing
Singing or dancing may help you calm your baby. Hold your baby close to you or prop it on your arm. Glide around the floor to the sound of your own vocal support or to recorded music.
Babies have a strong habit of sucking irrespective of their need for food. Pop in a pacifier into the mouth of your baby, it might just help him to calm down and distract him for a while.
Gripe water is regarded as an herbal remedy to calm colic and gas in babies.
Note: However, there are no reliable studies that vouch on its effectiveness and it is also not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), so before you give gripe water or any other baby colic drops to your baby, always consult your paediatrician first.
Holding Your Baby Upright After Feed
When you hold your baby upright after feed, it helps in reducing acid reflux symptoms. This may in turn help in relieving colic in your baby.
Milk Protein Intolerance or Allergy
The formula that you are using might be partly responsible for colic in your baby. Try switching you formula milk. It might help.
Note: You should consult your paediatrician for the same who will be able to guide you better in case your baby has any allergy or is experiencing discomfort due to the formula.
When to consult your paediatrician?
If at any point of time you feel that your baby is wailing or crying excessively, and the screaming sessions rule out the possibility of colic, you should immediately consult your paediatrician. The doctor will examine your tiny tot and may help you in ruling out any underlying medical condition.
I am sure as you scrolled through the article you might have had jitters. For those with baby fever, please do not panic, there is no need to re-think. As you are about to enter a beautiful phase of your life, some hard work is sure required. Just remember, you are not alone, there are many who are going through this phase, and there are many who have been there, done that. Obviously it won’t stay forever. This too shall pass and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. So as of now, just hang in there, I am sure you must be exhausted, but give yourself a pat on your back, you are crafting a wonderful masterpiece. Kudos to you, good job! Happy Parenting!
Source https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/best-colic-remedies#takeaway https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000753.htm#:~:text=One%20in%20five%20babies%20cry,they%20are%2012%20weeks%20old. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/colic#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20symptoms%20of,urgent%20sounding%20than%20regular%20crying