Colic is inconsolable crying in healthy newborn babies and almost every baby born experiences colic in the early months. During colic, a baby will just cry for prolonged periods. Some babies might show signs of discomfort instead of crying. Colic usually gets treated on its own and by the time your baby comes to six month of age this problem will subside. Three out of every ten babies are colic criers and it affects boys and girls equally.
It does not matter how the babies are fed (bottle-fed or breastfed). Colic usually onsets within the first few weeks of your baby’s birth. Though the cause of colic is not known yet but for the parents this can be very upsetting emotionally.
Colic always has a pattern of persistent and prolonged crying and will exhibit any or all of the following symptoms:
- Despite consoling the baby cries for prolonged period, especially in the evening.
- Symptoms begin without warning.
- While crying, the baby arches the back and pulls the knees to chest, clenches the fists and flails arms and legs.
- Baby experiences disrupted sleep.
- The crying begins at the same time every day.
- Signs of gas.
- Symptoms begin after meals.
- Symptoms cease after passing gas or bowel movement.
- Baby spits frequently.
Once it is confirmed that your baby is colic, the pediatrician will advise you to devise a strategy that will help in calming the baby. This means you will have to try out different options and see which helps relieve your baby. Here are some of the common remedies in the feeding pattern to battle this problem:
- Changing the brand or type of milk.
- Opting for soy milk.
- If using formulas, try using a predigested hypoallergenic formula.
- Adding Lactase to the baby’s formula.
- Avoiding certain foods like caffeine, certain vegetables and milk if breastfeeding.
- Changing the type of nipple on the bottle. Using plastic lined bottles and always helping the baby burp after feeding.
- If being bottle fed, limiting the intake of milk.
Apart from these some other basic comfort options can also be useful:
- A colic baby is very sensitive and is easily stimulated by the environment so try wrapping in a blanket so that they feel secure.
- The more the snuggling the better! Don’t listen to the ones who say holding the baby spoils them. When a crying baby is attended to, they feel secure and safe.
- Keep speaking soothing words to the baby or hum a song or if your baby likes to hear songs. Switch the music system on (keep the volume low and use soft music).
As established, colic is a problem that usually goes away on its own. But the help of a pediatrician might be needed to ensure that there are no other problems apart from colic. If colic cries last even after the baby is of 12 months of age, doctor’s help might be required.