Most parents experience sleepless nights in the first three months of their baby's lives. This is because of frequent feedings, cuddling, diaper-changes and just general fussiness. But many of these parents also go through total sleep deprivation, especially when their babies cry for long periods at night and nothing can seem to soothe them.
There are several reasons why babies cry, and colic is one of them. It's best to be knowledgeable about it, so you'll know how to respond if your baby cries continuously. First, let's learn what colic is and to determine if our baby has it?
What Is Colic?
Babies often cry to communicate or if they need something. Although crying is normal to them, it is different when it comes to colic. It is a prolonged, persistent, intense crying or fussiness of a healthy baby. Colic can be frustrating especially, for new parents because, their little one's discomfort occurs for no apparent basis. And what's worst is that no amount of comfort seems to console them. These occurrences often happen at night, when parents are already tired.
Colic usually takes place in babies age 2-5 weeks until about 3-4 months. For a baby with colic, crying takes about more than three hours per day, occurs three or more days per week, and does not respond to comforting measures. In other words, your baby is difficult to console.
How To Know If My Baby Has Colic?
Knowing its symptoms, causes, and treatment can help comfort and reduce the duration of your baby's colic and also lessen your stress. We want you to have a good quality time and a loving connection with your baby instead of spending your time consoling him because of colic. Watch out for these signs:
high-pitched cry sounds like screaming
prolonged crying for more than 3 hours even after feeding or diaper change; crying for no reason
crying for the same time every day
difficult to soothe
having a red face after long periods of crying
distended or enlarged stomach
arching of the back
clenching of the fists
stiffened arms or legs
What Are The Causes of Colic?
The origin or basis of colic is still undetermined. It may result from different influencing factors. While many causes were studied, it's hard for experts to consider all the important features, such as why it commonly starts in the 3- 4 weeks of life, how it differs among babies, why it occurs at specific times of day and why it rectifies on its own. The following are considered to be contributing factors:
not fully developed digestive system
digestive tract bacteria-imbalanced
food intolerance or allergies
infrequent burping, over or underfeeding
gassiness due to prolonged crying
family stress or anxiety or stress related to surroundings
sensitive to stimulation
has Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or acid reflux
What To Do To Reduce or Relieve Colic?
No to overfeeding. It is best to consult your doctor if you are unsure of the right amount appropriate for your baby. It is recommended to wait 2-2.5 hours for the next feeding.
Change the formula. Your baby may seem to be allergic to a particular ingredient in his formula milk. With your pediatrician's recommendation, you can switch to a hypoallergenic formula.
Burp your baby mid or after feeding. It helps to remove some of the air that babies tend to ingest when they feed. Not being burped frequently and ingesting too much air can make them gassy or spit-up.
Watch what you eat. For breastfeeding moms, avoid possible irritating foods like caffeine as it may cause your baby not to sleep and may cause irritability and fussiness.
Soothing motions. Rocking or cuddling your baby are close-contact movements that can help console your baby.
Pacifier. Sucking triggers your baby's calming reflex, therefore can help calm your little one.
Warm bath or gentle massage. Warm baths and gentle massages can help soothe your baby. You can place your baby on your lap, on her tummy, then rub your baby's back.
Play calm music or white noise. You can play or sing lullaby songs to your baby or use white noises like a dryer, fan, or vacuum cleaner. Some babies find comfort with these sounds.
Swaddling. Swaddling helps soothe a colicky baby. This is because swaddling protects your baby from startle reflex. Babies feel secure and reduce their anxiety as they feel like it's you cuddling them. Check out our Swaddle and Belly Bands for gas and colic as another option.
There is no direct remedy for colic as it goes away on its own. We advise you to try these soothing tips and see which will be effective for your baby. It may require an effort, but it will be worth it as long as it helps your baby.
When To See A Pediatrician?
If you have tried these soothing tips and still don't help your baby, consult a pediatrician as there may be an underlying cause for the crying. You can bring your baby to the doctor if:
your baby has a fever
doesn't want to feed
vomits or has a loose bowel movement
always sleepy than normal
crying for several hours (2 to 3 hours or more)
Remember that this is only a temporary phase in your baby's life. Your little one will soon outgrow it, so in the meantime, have more patience. If you are tired and exhausted, you can ask your partner or friend for help. If you are alone with your baby, you can put her down in her crib. Get out of the room, take a break, and composed yourself. Being impatient or angry will not help the situation, and your baby may end up getting hurt (shaken baby syndrome). No matter what colicky situation you are in, keep in mind that you are great in what you do!