Looking for a survival guide to handle baby colic? Colic is common in babies – but that doesn’t make it easier for parents to handle. Here’s your survival guide to handle baby colic.
So, if colic is making your little one fussy and uncomfortable or if you notice an excessive crying pattern. Don’t just ignore it. Your newborn might be suffering from colic hence the excessive crying. Every infant cries. It’s a part of being a newborn, yet infant crying still puts many of us on edge. As parents, we want to calm our babies and prevent crying; it’s simply instinctive to want to make it go away. Colic is exhausting for baby and you too. If you are a first time parent with a crying fussy baby, you might feel helpless as well as frustrated as to no matter what you do, you cannot simply comfort the newborn. It can also feel really scary if you have no idea what’s going on. If you or anyone you know is having a bad time with baby colic you may refer the parents survival guide to handle baby colic. Read through to get help to soothe your colicky baby and give you some relief.
What is Colic?
Colic is a problem that affects some babies during the first three to four months of life. It can be very stressful and frustrating to parents seeing their newborn cry for almost 2 – 3 hours a day. Physicians have defined colic as prolonged or excessive crying in an infant who is otherwise healthy. The crying can be very loud and can last for several hours a day.
Colic is a common thing in newborns and can not necessarily be called a disease. It is a condition that develops when your baby tries to get accustomed with the feed. Physicians describe colic a normal condition that occurs in about 1 in every 5 babies. Colic often starts by 3 weeks of age, is at its worst around 6 weeks, and gradually gets better by about 3 months of age. And in worst cases it may last till your baby is 6 to 7 months old.
Some doctors and experts define colic as an intestinal pain that occurs because of the gases that form because of the feed. Knowing what’s normal about your baby’s tears can help you better meet her needs. Infants cry most in the evening, and this pattern of crying occurs in all cultures.
What Causes Colic in Babies?
It is not clear what causes colic. Some of the reasons babies may have colic include the following:
- An immature digestive system.
- Infant acid reflux.
- Food allergies or sensitivity.
- Tobacco exposure.
- A growing digestive system with muscles that often spasm
- Hormones that cause stomach pain or a fussy mood
- Oversensitivity or overstimulation by light, noise, etc.
- A moody baby
- A still-developing nervous system
- Intestinal cramping
What Can You Do To Treat Colic?
- Make changes in your diet. Studies show that one in three babies with colic actually suffers with milk protein allergies. If you’re nursing, cut out dairy from your diet for a few weeks to see if that helps and if your newborn is bottle fed or is on formula milk, talk to your doc about switching formulas.
- Burping your child after every feed is mandatory. Ease his discomforts of colic and gas by burping him frequently and keeping him upright 20 minutes after feedings.
- Some doctors think imbalances in intestinal bacteria may make baby irritable. Giving a probiotic through drops or formula may ease tears. Consult your doctor and check what are the possibilities.
- Offer a pacifier if she needs soothing when it’s not mealtime. During the day, feed her every two to three hours.
- Ask for help as and when needed. Sometimes it’s hard for us to wait when we’re exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s okay to ask for help, even if it means seeing the pediatrician every week or more if needed.
How to Aid Baby Colic?
- Apply pressure to baby’s tummy. Some colicky babies find relief when pressure is placed on the abdomen — and the power of touch alone can be very soothing for both mother and child. So place your infant face-down on your lap or upright with his tummy against your shoulder, or try the “colic carry,” where your little one lies face-down with his belly resting on your arm. Then gently rub or pat his back as you hold him.
- Ask about anti-gas drops. Studies show that reducing gas may reduce the discomfort (and crying). So ask your pediatrician about trying gas drops, which can relieve your baby’s symptoms. Though research hasn’t yet shown that this treatment definitively helps with colic, your doctor may think it’s worth a try.
- Massage your newborn’s tummy. If gas is troubling your baby, lightly massage on your baby’s stomach. Try and massage as if you are drawing a question mark on his/her stomach. Apply light pressure with the four fingers. It would certainly help.
- Get close. Not only does cuddling, wearing or carrying your baby give her the pleasure of security and physical closeness to you, but it may help you tune in better to her needs.
- Play soothing music. Experiment to find something your baby seems to like. Your baby might respond to the quiet singing of a lullaby or a softly playing classical music.
Should you take your Baby to the Doctor?
Yes, you may. There’s no harm in talking to your pediatrician and discuss your baby’s daily schedule including the crying pattern. Describing your baby’s daily screaming sessions to the doctor and discussing it with him may get some reassurance and maybe a few extra soothing strategies. When you discuss, explain in detail the crying duration, intensity, pattern, any variation from the norm and any accompanying symptoms. It will also help the doctor rule out any underlying medical condition (like reflux, an infection or a milk allergy) that could be triggering the crying.
How to Cope up with Baby Colic, as Parents?
This is just a phase and it will pass. I know it is easy said than done. But the frustration and the feeling of helplessness would not improve the situation. You might hear people saying that daily crying is absolutely normal and it doesn’t seem to hurt a baby, but the truth is – it certainly does leave its mark on parents. Sometimes it gets really difficult for mothers to see their baby cry in pain and it’s heartbreaking, upsetting and anxiety-provoking. It does take a physical and emotional toll. Here’s what you can do to cope-up with baby colic as parents:
- Divide and conquer. If there are two parents at home during baby’s witching hours, make sure colic duty is divided up equally between the two of you. Of if there’s another family member in the house, divide it amongst you accordingly. A fresh set of arms sometimes induces calm in a crying baby.
- Talk about it. Do a little crying yourself — on a willing shoulder: your spouse’s, the pediatrician’s, a family member’s, a friend’s. Just knowing you’re not alone in the world of inconsolable babies can make a world of difference.
- Get help. If you’re at the end of your rope, don’t hesitate ask for help — whether from your partner, mother, friend or babysitter.