It’s natural for babies to cry, but baby colic can be super stressful for both mommy and baby. Read on to learn more about baby colic and how to weather the storm.
In this article:
- What Is Colic in Babies?
- Colic Symptoms in Babies
- What Causes Colic
- How Long Does Colic Last
- How to Treat Colic
What You Need to Know About Baby Colic
What Is Colic in Babies?
A baby’s cry is biologically designed to alert parents that the baby needs something, whether it’s food, warmth, or a diaper change. But, non-stop crying for hours on end may indicate a baby has colic.
So, what is colic? Before we dive into the colicky details, know that it is not considered a disease and won’t have long-term impacts on the health of your baby. However, it can make life difficult for the baby and parents. A healthy, well-nourished baby who cries for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks most likely has colic.
Kids will not remember their colicky days and those who had colic as a baby will not behave any differently than their colic-free peers.
Colic Symptoms in Babies
Colic generally sets in when a baby is around two weeks old (slightly later for preemies). Colic-induced crying usually occurs around the same time of day, often during the early evening. These episodes tend to be louder, sharper, and more prolonged than normal crying and may start and stop without warning. Your baby may exhibit facial reddening or paleness. Some colicky babies continue to be fussy even after their crying has stopped.
Crying, especially the colicky variety, requires a lot of oxygen which babies tend to swallow. As such, colic often leads to gas, and a colic baby may curl or extend his body before tooting his horn. Releasing gas or a number two may temporarily relieve colic.
Colic does not cause fever, vomiting, or bloody stools. If your baby exhibits these or other symptoms, call a doctor.
What Causes Colic?
Colic is a tricky condition in that doctors have not identified definite causes. Studies claim colic affects up to 30% percent of babies, which is an enormous range. Factors like the baby’s gender, breastfeeding, and formula-feeding do not appear to affect the probability of colic. While there’s much we don’t know about colic, here are a few things we do:
- Some babies cry when the evening rolls around simply because they’ve reached their daily quota of stimuli and need to unwind.
- Babies are more prone to colic if their mothers smoked during pregnancy.
- Colicky babies have different bacteria in their intestines and may respond well to certain probiotics. Always consult a doctor before giving your baby probiotics.
- Symptoms of food allergies may mimic those of colic. Common allergies include dairy, wheat, nuts, fruit, and chocolate. A doctor can test your baby for allergic reactions and recommend alternative formulas based on the findings.
- Colic may be linked to spasms from the baby’s developing digestive system and infant hormones that cause fussiness or discomfort.
- Infant migraines may be linked to colic.
- A stressful environment may play a role in the development of colic.
How Long Does Colic Last?
Fortunately, baby colic usually fades away at the three-to-four-month mark. Symptoms usually resolve without treatment, with 80-90% of babies growing out of colic after four months. Preemies and babies with other underlying conditions may take a bit longer.
How to Treat Colic
Because colic isn’t a disease, it has no approved treatment or cure other than time. It’s always a smart idea to discuss your baby’s colic with a doctor. He or she will evaluate your baby’s overall health and determine whether the crying is due purely to colic or more serious conditions like allergies, intestinal issues, or urinary infections. You’ll also learn some ways to ease your baby’s discomfort, which may include the following:
- Give your baby a special bottle designed to reduce the amount of air swallowed.
- Sit your baby up during feeding time and burp him/her before and after feeding.
- Soothe your baby with ambient noise such as a fan, quiet vacuum, or white-noise.
- Take your baby out for a stroll or car ride. Make sure your baby is strapped in securely.
- Lay your baby on his back in a dark, quiet room.
- Wrap your baby gently in a blanket and make sure the thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature.
- Soak your baby in a warm bath, but not for too long.
- Gently rock or massage your baby. Never shake or handle your baby violently.
There is no universal cure for colic. Be wary of products or services claiming to treat colic. Every baby is unique and responds differently to various stimuli. You might even discover the magic button that puts your baby at ease.
Help your baby relax and apply this baby massage for colic, reflux, and wind from Mumma Love Organics:
Colic is rough for babies and their parents. Remember to take breaks as needed, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get some fresh air, exercise, and unwind. Stay hydrated and the worst will be over before you know it.
Are you dealing with baby colic right now? What techniques help calm your baby down? Share your experience in the comments section below.