The term “Colic” means intestine in Greek and colon in English. Colicky baby refers to persistent crying of infants. Sometimes parents don’t understand the reason for their babies crying. It was quite common practice in olden times to give sedative medications for crying infants. Colic can cause increased concern for the mother and it can be frustrating. Without obvious reason if a well-fed baby cries for more than 3 hours a day it can definitely cause worry for the parents.
Colicky baby is one that cries for more than 3 hours a day. This phenomenon occurs predominantly in infants below 2 months of age. Even healthy infants do cry repeatedly due to problems in the digestive system or sudden stomach cramps. It is still a mystery to identify and understand why babies are crying indefinitely. Any baby that cries repeatedly for 3 days in a week and it continues to cry for 3 weeks or more can be categorized under colicky baby. Colic problem would begin in 2 weeks for infants born after full term of pregnancy and it gradually goes away when the baby is 3 months old.
Colic Baby Causes :
What exactly causes colic is not known till date and medical experts attribute this problem of crying to certain factors. Any spasm or stomach pain can cause the baby to cry frequently. For some infants, certain hormones can cause fussy mood and can trigger stomach pain. Some babies respond by crying when exposed to lighting or noisy situations. In rare cases growing nervous system can also induce frequent crying in infants.
Any pressure exerted on the brain and nervous system can cause pain. Sometimes, the infant cries due to serious health issue like irregular heartbeat or inflammation in the body. Babies can get irritated for many reasons. Colic baby syndrome can occur due to intestinal pain, trouble in normal breathing, infections and increase in brain pressure or eye pain etc. Go for regular checkups with your baby doctor who can assess the situation rightly. The baby can easily get angry due to acid reflux, an infection and improper digestion. In case you are not able to find out the cause for frequent crying of your baby, it is better to get him/her checked with your pediatrician.
There are many fussy babies around who cries often causing distress to the mother. But they are not necessarily colicky babies. Colic baby cries mostly about the same time of the day and the episodes of crying may last for few minutes and in rare cases can extend till an hour. Often the crying episode starts in the evenings or late afternoon. Colic baby cries intensely and the sound is high pitched and it may not be possible for the mother to comfort the child.
If your baby cries constantly with other serious symptoms like vomiting, change in stool, and running temperature consult your doctor at once. Very often, colic babies would cry without any apparent cause. A healthy baby would cry either for food or he is not comfortable with the wet diaper. And another indication for identifying colic baby is he/she would change posture during episodes of crying. He would cry with his legs curled up or by clenching his fists and more. You can see the same body language most of the time in colic baby. Colic baby is a common problem that starts after 2 weeks of birth and often it settles within a month or two.
Who Are At Risk ?
Babies whose mothers are constantly smoking during pregnancy are at increased risk of colic episodes. Babies born prematurely have high risk of developing colic nature. Girls and boys are at equal risk of colic baby.
An expert child doctor would be able to recognize the cause for crying by physically examining the child. He would gently press his abdomen to feel any distress. He may order for tests including blood and urine culture and imaging tests like X-ray.
No special treatment is required for colic baby since often the condition of crying improves as the baby grows. Based on investigation, your doctor may suggest medications for indigestion or gastric problem that causes discomfort for the baby. You can try infants gas relief drugs like St. Joseph gas relief drops or Mylicon, in case you suspect gas in the abdomen. For treating colic due to bacterial infection in the stomach your doctor may recommend probiotics. So far, there is no concrete treatment for colic baby.
Colic Baby Home Remedies :
- Firstly, your baby may cry if he is hungry so try feeding him/her. You can hold your child in upright position after feeding so that he can easily burp to ease out circulating gas, if any, in his stomach.
- In case you are breast-feeding mom, you can try more frequent but small feedings. You can allow him to empty one breast completely before feeding the other. This helps the baby in getting fatty and rich milk which can satisfy his thirst more than anything.
- And you need to avoid certain food stuffs in your diet if you belong to a family of allergies. Any potential allergens in your food can induce gastric problem and indigestion for your baby. You can always check with your doctor about the foods that you have to avoid while breast-feeding.
- For mothers who are not breast-feeding, the problem can be in the baby’s formula diet. Try changing to Nutramigen or Similac care etc. that contains original hydrosolate formula. Always keep the bottles and nipples sterilized to prevent any infection. Keep changing bottles regularly and ensure that your baby swallows minimal air while feeding.
- You can follow these tips to soothing your crying infant.
- Many infants can get comfort by pacifiers. Sucking something can calm your infant immediately giving relief from crying.
- Cuddling the baby can help in giving the needed comfort. You can just hold your infant closely for some minutes or until the crying reduces/stops.
- Gently try rocking your baby or place him in swing for a while. Go for a walk with your infant and fresh air and environment can keep him calm.
- Many babies would stop crying when the mother starts singing. You can try playing soft music in his room.
- When nothing comforts him from crying, give him a warm bath. Gently rub his stomach adding warmth.
- There are alternative home remedies like sugar water, gripe water and gentle massage therapy for your infant, but consult your doctor before trying any of these.
- It would be challenging and exhausting to deal with a colic baby. So you need to take a break at intervals. Get help from your partner and don’t feel depressed or angry, since it is not your fault.
- And most importantly, remember this is not permanent and your baby would be alright in few days.