17 June 2019
All babies cry. For what they cannot communicate with language, babies cry for various reasons including tiredness, hunger, cold, heat, or because their diaper needs changing. However, if a baby cries persistently even after being cleaned, fed, and well cared for; it’s often referred to as colic.
Colic can be defined as a state of intense and inconsolable crying in a healthy baby for no apparent reason, for at least three hours a day, four or more days a week. This condition is frustrating for parents, but the good thing is that most babies usually outgrow it by the time they are 4-5 months old. In rare cases, colic can persist for up to 6 months.
Colic is a common condition that affects up to 30% of infants during the first few months after birth. Even though your baby may cry so much, colic is neither dangerous nor harmful.
Unfortunately, colic is a poorly understood condition with no clear cause. In most cases, colic is an indication that the child is sensitive to stimulation or cannot regulate his/her nervous system. As the child grows, the inability to control the nervous system – marked by constant and inconsolable crying – will automatically improve.
Some of the suspected contributing factors of colic include:
How do you know for sure that your baby is colicky? The following symptoms will appear in an otherwise well-fed and healthy baby:
The first thing you need to do when you suspect that your baby is colic is to have him/her checked by an experienced paediatrician to make sure that he/she is not suffering from any physiological problem.
This will reassure you as a parent and make it easier for you to try various recommended soothing strategies.
Remember this, your baby will suffer if you are feeling tired and stressed from trying to do too much. If you get enough time to rest and take care of yourself, you will be in excellent shape to take care of your baby.
One thing that you need to keep in mind while trying to soothe a baby with colic is that every baby is unique. Therefore, what might help soothe one infant may not work for another. The most critical thing to do is to find out what works best for you and your baby.
Here are some tips on trying to soothe a crying baby:
Dealing with colicky babies can be quite challenging, and you can easily believe everything that you read about the condition. However, some information found online and in books about colic is untrue and will not help you so much. Here are some of the common myths about colic that you need to stop worrying about.
Although babies with colic may cry furiously, the truth is that the condition does not cause pain. When they are crying, colicky infants experience no greater increase in the levels of cortisol (a physical indicator of pain) than those without colic.
Many parents tend to feel guilty and inadequate when they cannot seem to soothe their crying baby after long hours. You may ask yourself a lot of questions, but the truth is that there is little you can do about colic. Letting go of any guilt and frustration is critical since it will help you focus on finding the best way of soothing your colic baby.
Unfortunately, the causes of colic are unknown. There are different theories that try to explain the cause of colic, but it is not clear what causes the condition. Its cause is still a mystery which contributes to why there is no specific remedy.
The following techniques may fail to relieve colic in babies:
If you are bottle-feeding your baby, changing the type of formula milk that you use may not help. There is also no evidence that colic crying is caused by an allergy to a particular type of infant formula milk. You should also note that milk allergy is uncommon.
Probiotic supplements and chiropractic treatment are unlikely to help your colic baby.
There is no evidence that crying and fussing in babies is caused by an allergy to various substances that a mother eats and passes to the baby in the breast milk. Changing your diet while breastfeeding is not quite helpful unless your baby shows other symptoms other than fussing and crying, e.g. diarrhoea.
Infant colic refers to excessive crying and fussing in an otherwise healthy baby. If your infant cries regularly for at least three hours in a day, he/she may have colic. Fortunately, most babies tend to outgrow colic.
Please visit an experienced paediatrician if you suspect that your baby has colic. It is important for a doctor to exclude more serious medical causes as reasons for your baby’s excessive crying, though they are rare and usually associated with poor feeding, vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation.