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How Do You Know If Your Baby Is Colic?

By Lisa Hayden / August 17, 2020
colic baby

What is Colic?

Colic is the fluctuating pain in the abdomen experienced by the babies from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. It is said that one in five children experience colic and in some severe cases it can start from as early as 3 weeks.

Colic is not a disease that needs to be treated. It causes temporary discomfort in infants and miraculously disappear by the time they are 3 months old. In some children it stops suddenly and many others it tapers down gradually. But the good news is colic doesn't last long.

What Are The Causes For Colic?

The main cause of colic is still a mystery. Many paediatricians believe that this may be caused because of the adjustments that the baby is undergoing from the womb to the outside environment. Some experts also say that this may be caused by imbalances of good and bad bacteria in the stomach. A few others also say that colic is caused by some brain chemicals that have imbalance ratio such as serotonin and melatonin. Babies with colic may have an increased number of serotonin which can be the cause of contraction of the muscles in the intestines. Babies may cry more at night because the level of serotonin will increase during evening time.

Another important reason for colic in babies is Tobacco exposure. If the mother has been smoking during pregnancy or soon after delivery, the studies have shown that the babies are highly likely to be colicky. So please take care not to smoke or allow others to smoke around your little one.

What Are The Symptoms Of Colic?

If your baby is crying constantly for no apparent reason then the chances are that she is colicky. Please be sure to narrow down on all the obvious reasons before arriving at this conclusion. The obvious reasons could be hunger, sleep, wetness, rashes, hot, too cold etc.

Experts have a thumb rule of three to arrive at a diagnosis of colic condition.

  • The baby is crying for atleast 3 hours at a stretch.
  • This happens atleast 3 days in a week.
  • Persists for atleast 3 weeks in a row.

Further symptoms are that it happens at almost the same time of the day for no apparant reason. Baby tries to pull up his leg and clench its fist. He closes his eyes while crying and after a while, crying turns into screaming. The ordeal lasts for atleast a couple of hours before it settles down.  Bowel movements may be more and also they might throw up more frequently.

How To Calm A Colic Baby?

There are several ways to calm and soothe a colic baby. Please bear in mind that all babies have different comforting  ideas. So if you are thinking about what to give a colic baby and want to experiment which one suits your baby and stick to it, here are few ideas :

  • Swing your baby gently in forward and backward direction.
  • swaddle your baby comfortably.
  • Try breastfeeding your baby or can also give him pacifier for a while.
  • Try laying her on her tummy or across your forearm while the baby's head is laid across your hand.
  • Put them in crib and play some soothing music.
  • Try gripe water, a natural colic remedy made of herbs and sodium bicarbonate in drops.
  • If the baby is on formula milk ask you doctor to change the formula. 
  • Get out of the house. Take her in fresh air. It not only diverts her from the pain, it magically initiates the soothing reaction in her body and puts her to sleep.

Another very important method to calm your baby is the Bowen technique. This is gaining more popularity in recent times. For more information check our article here.

Just be careful not to shake your baby too much as this can cause internal injury to your baby especially on his or her spine or head. Remember that your baby is small and still developing. So you have to be very careful when handling them.

If you feel like you can no longer handle your baby’s crying, you can ask for some support from your parents, husband, friends or relatives, so as not to stress yourself too much. Colic is certainly normal for babies but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry anymore when your baby is crying. It could possibly have other health conditions like hernia, reflux or some other common health problems which may need to be addressed. 

How To Avoid Colic Conditions?

It is always better to be cautious than to be sorry. So we believe its worthwhile to understand baby colic remedies. Here are a few tips on how you can avoid colic in babies or at least lessen the intensity of it.

  • Try to limit visitors especially during evening so that you can less expose your baby to stimulating environments.
  • If you are breastfeeding watch what you eat. Cut down on citric food and milk products.
  • Quit smoking and drinking as it not only causes harm to yourself but also to your baby.

Do I need To See The Doctor?

As a mother it is understandable that you get worried about your child when it is constantly crying and doesn't seem to heed for any pampering done by you. The key is to remain calm and keep trying various methods to soothe him. But if you are getting too concerned it is always better to seek help of you doctor.

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