One of the most common problems of anybody who has a baby: Colic! Keep reading to learn how to correctly interpret the symptoms and know if your baby is suffering from colic.
A crying baby is not breaking news: it will not surprise you at this point. He's been doing it since the moment you brought him into life, and you are more than used to it. However, an intense cry sustained over time may indicate that your little one is suffering from some problem, frequently related to a colic baby. This term is used to describe an affliction that concerns both breastfed and formula-fed newborns.
If your baby's behaviour seems normal and healthy in most ways (when it comes to eating, sleeping and developing communication and motor skills), but at the same time he cries for more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week and for a period of at least 3 weeks, it could be that your baby got colic.
Colic baby: What causes it?
There is no certainty about what causes infantile colic. Yet, experts aim at different aspects involving the digestive process, gas problems or lactose intolerance. Mainly, the theories deal with these possible triggers:
- Digestive problems caused by intolerance to some proteins found in milk. On one hand, formula milk is adapted from cow milk, which keeps all of these proteins; on the other hand, if you breastfeed your baby and you eat a lot of dairy products, the result is going to be the same.
- Excessive gas production in the intestines, associated with an improper eating technique (usually from too much air entering the baby's lungs while he's being fed) and the fact that the newborn is constantly lying.
- Intensive gut movement produced by an excess of some hormones, such as gastrin and motilin.
Colic baby: Does my little one have it?
In order to recognise if your sweetheart is going through a colic baby's 'nightmare', take a look at some of the most common symptoms that can help you make an initial diagnosis.
- Intense and sudden crying that can last for minutes and even hours at a time
- Red face
- Bent thighs upon a stretched abdomen and clenching fists
- General fussiness
- Cries get worse as the day goes by; they tend to start around the evening
Sometimes it may be hard to detect weather your baby got colic or not. A good piece advice that you can follow to help you figure it out is the lack of fever or other symptoms related to the normal baby routine.
Colic baby: Tough time
As much as it's rough for your child, colic in babies is pretty common. As soon as you suspect that he may be in pain, you should bring him to the doctor to try to find some relieve. But don't panic! Baby colic is just another part of growing up and adapting to life. Keep this in mind and remember that your baby is most likely completely healthy and safe, especially in the hands of a trusted doctor.
Colic won't harm your baby and it will normally go away by the 3rd or 4th month. If beyond then he persists being in pain, or crying excessively, there may be some other health issues involved that you should investigate.
Colic baby: Relieving the pain
Here are some remedies you can try for your colicky baby:
- Schedule an appointment with your paediatrician to confirm that there's no other health problem
- Be sure the baby isn't hungry and he's being fed properly. Don't time his feeds and, what's more, check on how he suckles your nipples, or the teat in case you provide him with formula. Sometimes his mouth doesn't find the right way to do it; in others, the nipples may be too small or the size of the teat doesn't allow him to get as much milk as you think.
- Avoid bad positions while feeding him and make sure that his nose isn't stuffed
- Keep calm and hold him, making your child feel protected
- If he has slept more than 3 hours during the daytime, wake him up gently and stimulate him. You don't want him to hold onto all that energy for the night!
- Look after his comfort. For instance, pay attention to the clothes he's wearing (a tight outfit can bother him and make the symptoms even worse)
Colic baby: Think about you, too
These are just some of the actions you can take to minimize discomfort and calm a colic baby. But don't forget about your own well being - or dad's either! Facing infantile colic is not going to be easy for either of you. The baby could spend hours crying in the middle of the night and you'll have to be able to work around that obstacle. Try to redistribute some chores around the house, along with baby care, so you can take naps and find moments of rest at different times of the day.