What Is Colic and How To Deal With It
The term ‘colic’ refers to a baby who is healthy and well-fed, yet cries an excessive amount of over 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days per week, and for at least 3 weeks.
Affected babies typically begin to display signs of colic at around 2 to 3 weeks of age, or later if premature, and will go away on its own by 3 to 4 months.
It is estimated to affect up to 20% of babies, and is not correlated to a baby’s sex, birth order, or whether they are breast or bottle feed. After a baby has grown out of colic, he or she is no different to those who did not have it.
What causes colic?
Though the exact cause of colic in babies remains unknown, there are some theories as to why it occurs, such as muscle spasms from a growing digestive system, oversensitivity or overstimulation by light, noise and other factors, moodiness, or gas.
How To Treat Colic
As the cause of colic is a mystery, treating it is difficult. Many suggested medications have not been proven to work, and can come with serious side effects.
Thus far, only time cures colic, but in the meantime you can help to calm your baby when crying in several ways.
Use sound and movement
Motion or music can help to calm crying babies. Try walking around with your baby in a baby carrier, or rock him or her gently in a stroller, baby bouncer, or swing. The rhythm may help soothe him to sleep.
Gentle hums or melodies can also be effective in calming your baby. Try classical or instrumental music, or bring your baby to a place where there is the sound of a machine humming, like a clothes dryer or fan.
Soothe your baby’s senses
To help calm a colicky baby, you can try to soothe his senses. Ways to do this include lying him down on his back in a darkened, quiet area, putting a warm bottle on his belly, giving him a pacifier to suck on, bathe him in warm water, or trying an infant massage or back rub.
Reduce gas when feeding
There are many baby bottles available in the market that are specially designed to help reduce gas and help fight colic. Also, make sure to burp your baby during and after feedings.
Take a break and seek support
Parents dealing with colic can easily get worn out, so taking an occasional break can help to relieve some stress. Get help from a family member or trusted friend to watch your baby so you can take the time to go for a walk and get some fresh air. Another good idea is to find a community group in your local area that can give you support.
Be aware that crying can be for many different reasons, so make sure to have your baby checked by a doctor or nurse if you suspect he or she has colic.
- Agnes Yoon