Everything you need to know about colic in babies
As a new mother, it might often be challenging to understand your baby’s exact needs and concerns. For instance, it can be frustrating when your baby is crying constantly and you don’t know why. You might think that he or she is crying because of hunger or a wet diaper. But those may not be the reasons. And if you don’t know the correct reason, it can be difficult to soothe your little one. Crying in babies is often due to colic. However, it can be confusing to figure out whether your baby is crying due to colic or crying for other usual reasons. So, here’s everything you need to know about colic, which can make life easy for both of you.
What is colic?
Colic is a condition that can be defined as episodes of crying. Colic can affect healthy, well-fed infants, and in this condition, crying continues for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, and for at least 3 weeks, without any obvious reason. Usually, the onset of this condition happens when your baby is 6 weeks of age and it gradually goes away by 10 or 12 weeks.
It is normal for newborns to get fussy and cry quite often, but that does not mean they have colic. One must understand the change in behaviour of a baby to make sure if he or she has colic. So, watch out for continuous fussiness, high-pitched crying and a sense of discomfort.
A baby with colic does not have any long-term health issues and will continue to feed and grow normally. The cause of colic is still not clear and hence, it can be frustrating to see your child cry without any reason. You should consult a paediatrician if your child fits this description, and get a diagnosis.
Signs and symptoms of colic in a baby
Most colicky babies have a healthy sucking reflex along with a good appetite, and show normal growth. It is highly advisable to seek a doctor’s advice as soon as you see that the baby is not feeding properly, not gaining weight, or lacking the natural sucking reflex.
Apart from these, there are a few distinct colic symptoms that mothers must be aware of-
- Colicky babies might tend to spit up from time to time, just like non-colicky babies. But, if you see that the spitting has increased, leading to vomiting, you should see a doctor.
- Many colicky babies have normal poop. But some may experience diarrhoea or blood in the stool.
Possible causes of colic
Since doctors are not always sure about what causes colic, there are certain conditions which are believed to be the risk factors. Sometimes, babies cannot digest food due to an underdeveloped or a growing digestive system. In some cases, it could be because of an infection, a still-developing nervous system, oversensitivity to light or sound, or hormonal changes.
Breastfed babies also commonly suffer from colic. In such cases, a change in the mother's diet may help. The food that the mother eats also goes into the baby's system and can react and cause colic-like symptoms. One of the colic remedies for breastfed babies is a change in the mother’s diet. For instance, cow's milk and dairy products can upset the digestive system of a baby, and lead to colic. So, breastfeeding mothers can see improvement in their baby’s colic symptoms if they remove caffeine, dairy, soy, or eggs from their diet.
Note: Remember if your baby has colic, it does not mean you should stop breastfeeding. It is not a cause of colic. When you are breastfeeding and you believe that your baby has colic symptoms, it is necessary to see a doctor and/or change your food habits.
Best treatments for colic in babies
- Never feed your baby forcefully. Instead, make him feel comfortable and feed him only when he is hungry.
- Try using various positions while feeding your baby such as sitting in a rocking chair or walking with your baby. This helps the milk to pass into the baby's system without any difficulty. Even doctors recommend using different positions while feeding as it is one of the best colic treatments.
- Make your baby burp often, during feeding.
- Mothers should rub the baby's back after feeding.
- Playing soft music can be helpful in comforting babies as they respond to the sound. This way, the feeding becomes easy and manageable.
While colic is common in babies, it can be a struggle for new mothers. It should ideally go away with time and simple baby colic remedies can give relief to both you and your little one.