Colic Baby

Baby Colic – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Of Colic

Baby colic (also known as infantile colic) is a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or displays symptoms of stress frequently and for extended periods without any discernible reason.

The strict medical definition of colic is a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks.

Colic typically appears within the first month of life and often disappears suddenly when the baby is 3 – 4 months old, but can last up to 1 year. The crying often increases during a specific period of the day, particularly in the early evening. Symptoms may worsen soon after feeding, especially in babies that do not belch easily. While babies normally cry when they’re wet or hungry or frightened or tired, a baby with colic cries inconsolably and excessively, often at the same time of day, frequently in the late afternoon or evening.

While experts say that colic is not dangerous or harmful to the baby; crying and the exhaustion associated with it can trigger serious problems, such as relationship stress, breastfeeding failure, shaken baby syndrome, postpartum depression (PND), excess visits to the doctor/emergency room and unnecessary treatment for acid reflux.

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Baby colic

Symptoms Of Colic

  • Cries vigorously for long periods, despite efforts to console
  • Crying begins around the same time each day or night
  • Symptoms begin after meal times
  • Symptoms begin and end abruptly without warning
  • Symptoms cease after a bowel movement or passing gas
  • Baby spits up frequently
  • Shows signs of gas such as; abdominal bloating or a hard distended stomach
  • During episodes; baby arches back, pulls knees to chest, clenches fists, flails arms and legs
  • Symptoms begin and end abruptly without warning

Despite many scientific studies, no single common cause for colic has been found. The fussiness of colic has many different causes, and that’s why there is no one way to help it.

Some Theories Of The Cause Of Colic Include:

  • Digestive woes, perhaps due to intolerance of cow’s milk protein or lactose
  • Reflux (heartburn due to stomach acid and milk flowing back into the oesophagus)
  • An immature digestive system in which the intestinal muscles are often in spasm
  • Air (gas) in the intestinal tract
  • Increased hormone levels that cause stomach-aches or a fussy mood
  • Hypersensitivity to stimulation in the environment (sound, light, etc.)
  • An intense temperament in the newborn period
  • An immature nervous system

Take note that all of these are only hypotheses, and keep in mind that you are not to blame for your baby’s fussiness.

Baby colic

Here Are Some Ways To Treat Colic:

  • Swaddle your baby
  • Carry your baby kangaroo style (in a wrap on your chest)
  • Massage your baby
  • Reflexology
  • Soak baby in a warm bath
  • Try an infant swing
  • Have him or her suck on a pacifier
  • Take your baby for a ride in the car
  • Use “white noise” (such as static on the radio or the vacuum cleaner) or classical music
  • Increase or decrease the amount of stimulation in the environment
  • If your baby is spitting up, keep him or her upright after feeds
  • Change the type of nipples on your baby’s bottle
  • Burp your baby frequently to decrease air swallowing during feedings
  • If you are breastfeeding avoid eating certain foods (such as caffeine, milk, certain vegetables)
  • Add Lactase to the formula
  • Change from a regular formula to a “predigested,” hypoallergenic formula
  • Look for the best formula for colic babies South Africa
  • Change from a cow’s milk formula to a soy formula
  • Change from one cow’s milk formula to another
  • If bottle feeding, try to limit milk intake, and if that doesn’t work, avoid limiting milk intake
  • Trying giving baby herbal tea (chamomile, mint, fennel, verbena – but NOT star anise which can be toxic)
  • Anti-reflux medicines, if reflux is suspected, may cut down on acid production and/or help to move the milk downstream
  • Try giving the baby gripe water – make sure it does not contain alcohol
  • Although there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of homeopathic drops for colic, some parents report they have helped their colicky baby
  • Visit a chiropractor

Have you had experience with a colic baby? How did you cope and what helped?

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  1. My son was a colic baby. I understood the phrase “suicide hour”. I tried all remedies and nothing helped. With my second pregnancy and being told we having twins I was determined that the girls will not be colic. I bought all bottle’s that were anti colic and to my surprise I have colic twins. I do not wish this apon any mother.

  2. My son never had it am praying that also the next one can not have it

  3. I’m having a colic son, it’s been 9 months of trying to calm him down without success,this article has been very helpful.i have learnt a lot from it, I will try some of the things to help him calm down.

  4. Martie Van Vledder

    My first baby had colic, and oh was it stressful for me. Being a new mommy and all the challenges of having a newborn in the house.
    Luckily my mother stay close to me so when I needed a break she came over and helped.
    A blessing!

    • You are so fortunate to have your mom so close Martie! My mom is a 4 hour drive from me and I know if she was closer I would have found being a new mom much easier.

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