Moms – does your newborn baby have bouts of uncontrollable crying, even after you’ve tried everything to comfort him/her? Does this usually happen during the late afternoon/evening? Do you notice a clenching of the fists and stiffening of the body during these crying bouts? If so, your baby may be suffering from Colic. Let’s find out more about this common newborn baby condition.
What is Colic?
Although doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint the actual cause of colic in babies, it is formally defined as ‘episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks, in an otherwise healthy child’. Colic seems to usually cause some kind of tummy discomfort in babies, leading experts to suggest that it might happen due to digestive issues.
If you notice symptoms of colic in your baby, first get your baby checked by a healthcare professional so that you can rule out any other problems.
Colic can be extremely distressing for both Mom and baby and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and frustration. Hang in there, parents. This too shall pass. This condition can affect your baby right from the second week onwards and tends to peak somewhere around the six-week mark. It usually goes away for most babies by the time they are three to four months old, and in some cases, when they are nine months old.
Even though there are no official remedies for treating colic, there are many ways in which you can help soothe your colicky baby. Here are some methods to help ease your little one’s discomfort:
Keep your baby moving: Hold your baby in a front carrier or against your chest and walk around the house. Gentle, rhythmic movements can help soothe your baby so try rocking him/her in your arms or taking your baby outdoors in the stroller for some fresh air.
Massage your little one: As abdominal discomfort is one of the main symptoms of colic, massaging your baby gently can help relieve gas and reduce pain. You can try laying your baby on the tummy and gently massaging his/her back, or massage his/her tummy in a slow, clockwise motion.
Another way to help your baby pass gas is by laying your little one on his/her back and then gently moving the legs up and down in a pedaling motion.
Establish a good bedtime routine that includes a warm bath: A consistent routine can help calm your baby. Giving your little one a soothing warm water bath before bedtime could help relieve pain and discomfort.
Play white noise: Re-create the feeling of being in the womb by playing soothing white noise sounds to help your baby sleep. Either get a white noise machine or download the sounds on to your mobile phone. Sounds made by the vacuum cleaner, hair drier, washing machine, running water can all be soothing for your little one.
Create a peaceful environment: While some babies need white noise to feel soothed and comforted, some can get overwhelmed by too many sights and sounds. See what your baby responds to best. Create a calm environment by taking your baby into a quiet room, eliminating any outside noise and dimming the lights. Gently hum to your baby and keep him/her close to your chest and snuggle.
Reduce air swallowed during feeding: While feeding, babies tend to swallow air bubbles which can also leave them feeling gassy and uncomfortable. You can try and prevent this from happening by making sure that your baby is latching on properly if you’re breastfeeding. If you’re bottle feeding, pour the milk into the bottle slowly and don’t shake it after. Look for anti-colic baby bottles. Feed your baby slowly while keeping his/her head elevated and hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle.
Use a pacifier: A lot of moms with colicky babies swear by pacifiers to help soothe their little ones. It helps babies stay calm and reduces anxiety and stress levels.
Swaddle your baby: Swaddling is the art of wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket or a ‘swaddle’ to make them feel safe and secure, just the way they felt in your womb. It can help your baby self-soothe and even sleep longer. Click here to see our range of GOTS certified 100% organic muslin cotton swaddles
Examine and adjust your diet slightly: When you are breastfeeding, you can pass on the food you are eating to your baby through milk. Certain foods can tend to aggravate your baby’s colic, so adjusting your diet a little might help. According to studies, here are some foods that moms of colicky babies should try and avoid - cow’s milk (and related products such as cheese, yoghurt and ice cream), cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, onion, and chocolate. Reducing your consumption of caffeine and spicy foods also tend to work for many mothers. If you are adjusting your diet, do it for at least a week and see if there is a difference. Speak to your doctor to make sure you’re still getting all the necessary nutrients.
Try changing your baby’s formula: If your baby is formula-fed, speak to your doctor and discuss whether you should change your formula. Switching to pre-digested formulas have been known to relieve the symptoms of colic in some babies.
Ask for help: Caring for a colicky baby is not easy. It can be exhausting and all-consuming. Don’t guilt yourself into feeling that it is your responsibility alone. Ask for help. Take the support of your spouse, family and friends and make sure you’re getting enough sleep as well. Divide duties so that you can take time to focus on yourself too.