What is baby colic?
During baby life, all they know is to cry. That’s how they communicate. However, if your baby cries suddenly without an apparent reason, this is called as baby colic. It is a pretty common behavior that occurs in 1 out of every 5 babies and unfortunately, all you can do is to wait for the time to pass.
For a proper definition here’s the rule of three that doctors normally use:
- A baby’s cry that lasts for a straight three hours or more.
- Happens for three days per week.
- It stays for a straight three weeks minimum.
For all worried parents, baby colic is not a symptom of a disease. It is just a behavior. It can happen at any time of the day and good luck calming your baby at that point. Hours and hours of these ear-shattering wails with clenched fists and red face can be really frustrating.
Start and end of the baby colic
It is hard to assume the age for colic. Mostly it begins around the age of 2 to 3 weeks with a maximum frequency at 6 weeks and then tappers off. By 3 months almost all the babies are recovered from the colic. Till then a basic knowledge and patience are all you have got!
Signs and symptoms of baby colic
Here are a few signs and symptoms of the baby colic which may help you:
- Baby cries almost at the same time of the day and it is mostly the latter half of the day.
- There is apparently no reason for it (e.g. no hunger, temperature, or wetness).
- Crying is usually accompanied by clenched fists and red face.
- You can also find the eyes closed or wide open a furrowing of eyebrows.
- The baby may pass gas or stools.
- Feeding can also get disturbed by crying and you may found him rejecting the nipple.
What actually causes the baby colic?
To date, baby colic is a mystery. Whether it is based on genetics or some phenomenon during pregnancy or childbirth no one has an answer. Here are a few explanations are given by experts for it:
During the first week, the baby tunes out most of the external stimuli and stays focus on feeding and sleeping. By the end of the month, the influx of new senses begins which may stress the baby and cause colic. Furthermore, as the baby learns to filter these senses in a couple of months the colic settles as well.
Immature digestion can cause the baby colic
Babies have a hyper-mobile digestive system which can lead to gas production resulting in pain and cry.
Acid reflux can cause the baby colic
An underdeveloped lower esophageal sphincter can result in acid reflux which has shown to trigger colic in babies. With the development of the sphincter, GERD improves and so does the colic.
All the baby is having is breast milk and if your baby is allergic to milk, it can cause havoc. Besides other serious conditions, some can only present with colic.
Smoking during pregnancy has also been shown to be a risk factor for colic in the newborns. Although the mechanism is not clear it is better to stay away from the smoker and the smokers.
What can you do for colic?
The baby’s helpless cry is the worst thing for the mother. More than the frustration you want to help your baby. Here are a few things that are proven to calm the baby while in colic:
Your baby may be trying to communicate with you. So pick him up and cuddle and try to figure out his needs.
Cut the crowd
If you are in a crowd you should try to cut the crowd. A peaceful environment with minimum stimuli can help the baby calm.
Tummy pressure and burping
If you think your baby is struggling due to some tummy issue a loving pressure on the belly or tender burping on the back can relieve the stress. Put the baby face down on your arm and give tender burping on the back.
If the gas in the tummy is causing tummy ache and making your baby restless a few drops of anti-gas can do a miracle. It is seen to calm the baby in no time if gas is the underlying cause.
Promoting a healthy intestinal flora in your baby is never a wrong thing. However, in the case of baby colic, it can do wonders.
The babies who are allergic to breast milk require special kind of formula milk. If your baby is struggling with such a disease you can consult your doctor and get a good recommendation.
Some tips to cope with the colic
We know that baby colic can be really annoying and there is nothing much you can do at that point either. However, here are a few tips which can make a big difference while coping it:
- Keep the baby clean, warm, and close to your body.
- Cuddling and swaying the baby help.
- A peaceful environment and sometimes peaceful music are better.
- Pacifiers are important.
- A walk outside the home can make a difference.
- If you are too restless try switching duties with someone else.
- You can always talk about it with others and get all the help you need.
When to call a doctor?
There is no specific pattern or cause to determine the time to call a doctor. However, if you feel it is getting out of your hand you can always get the help of your doctor. Similarly, if your baby is showing some associated symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, or growth is not regular a visit is never too much.
But always remember that with patience and affection this will pass!