If your baby seems to be in pain and crying more than usual, then the baby may be suffering from colic.
It can be difficult to determine whether or not your baby has colic, as there is no one definitive symptom. However, if your baby is displaying several of the following signs, it may be worth seeking medical advice.
What is colic?
Colic is defined as excessive and persistent crying in infants that is seemingly unrelated to any physical cause. It typically begins when an infant is around two weeks old and lasts until they are 4-5 months old.
Colic is thought to be the result of an immature nervous system that is unable to cope with the stimulation of the outside world. This can lead to the baby feeling overwhelmed and stressed, which manifests as crying.
Causes of colic
While the exact cause of colic is unknown, there are several theories as to what may contribute. These theories include:
• Gastrointestinal issues: It is thought that colic may be related to an immature digestive system that is unable to properly process food. This can lead to gas, bloating, and discomfort, which may trigger crying.
• Allergies: Some babies may be sensitive to certain proteins in milk or formula, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and lead to colic.
• Overstimulation: Babies who are constantly stimulated by bright lights, loud noises, or excessive movement may become overwhelmed and stressed, leading to colic.
What are the symptoms of colic?
There is no one specific symptom of colic, but rather a combination of several signs that may indicate that your baby is suffering. These include:
• Excessive crying: This is the most common symptom of colic and is defined as crying for more than three hours per day, on more than three days per week, for three weeks or more.
• Irritability: Your baby may seem to be in pain or discomfort, and may be difficult to console.
• Changes in eating and sleeping habits: Your baby may feed less frequently or for shorter periods of time, and may have difficulty settling to sleep.
• Changes in bowel movements: Your baby may have more or less frequent bowel movements, or their stools may change in consistency.
If your baby is displaying several of these symptoms, it may be suffering from colic.
How is colic diagnosed?
There is no one definitive test for colic, and it is often diagnosed based on the symptoms described above. Your doctor may also ask about your baby’s feeding and sleeping habits, as well as their bowel movements. If other potential causes of the symptoms, such as gastrointestinal issues, have been ruled out, a diagnosis of colic is likely.
How is colic treated?
There is no one specific treatment for colic, and it is often a self-limiting condition that resolves on its own. However, there are several things that you can do to help your baby cope with the condition.
• Hold or carry your baby: This can help to soothe and calm them.
• Rock your baby: Gently rocking your baby in a cradle or swing may help to lull them to sleep.
• Take a walk: Taking a walk with your baby in a stroller can help to soothe and distract them.
• Use white noise: Playing soft, calming music or white noise in the background can help to soothe and relax your baby.
• Swaddle your baby: Swaddling your baby in a blanket can help to reduce their crying and make them feel more secure.
• Try infant massage: Gently massaging your baby’s back, tummy, or legs can help to soothe and relax them.
If you are struggling to cope with your baby’s colic, or if their symptoms are severe, it is important to seek medical advice. Your doctor may recommend medication or other treatments to help your baby cope with the condition.