How To Know If Newborn Has Colic

Colic Symptoms In Newborn Babies

How do I know if my baby has colic?
  • Crying is a normal reaction in babies. Children cry as a way to express hunger and other situations suppressing them. Strangely, colicky children cry even for more reason.
  • Parents who notice that their children cry after they are fed and even when they are under suitable conditions should suspect infantile colic infection by the infants.
  • Colicky children also tend to shout for long hours especially in the evening at the same time daily. They also make high intense sounds like screaming. Colicky babies might clench their fists and have bloated tummies.
  • Since colic results in abdominal pain, the infants tend to move their feet toward the belly. The infants tighten their stomachs when crying, stretch their muscles and pass gas as a result of swallowing air when crying.

Seeing Your Baby’s Health Care Provider

Your baby’s health care provider can often diagnose colic by asking you about the baby’s medical history, symptoms, and how long the crying lasts. The provider will perform a physical exam and may do some tests to check your baby.

The provider needs to make sure your baby does not have other medical problems, such as reflux, a hernia, or intussusception.

How Do I Know If My Baby Has Colic

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Most parents experience sleepless nights in the first three months of their baby’s lives. This is because of frequent feedings, cuddling, diaper-changes and just general fussiness. But many of these parents also go through total sleep deprivation, especially when their babies cry for long periods at night and nothing can seem to soothe them.

There are several reasons why babies cry, and colic is one of them. It’s best to be knowledgeable about it, so you’ll know how to respond if your baby cries continuously. First, let’s learn what colic is and to determine if our baby has it?

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How Do Doctors Diagnose Colic In A Baby

For a babys crying to be diagnosed as infantile colic, the three criteria are:

  • The crying present for at least 3 hours a day.
  • The crying occurs at least 3 days a week.
  • The crying is persistent for at least 3 weeks in a row.

There is no test to confirm colic. The doctor does a physical examination of the baby, and if needed, they can order a few tests to rule out:

  • Infection

There is no treatment to eliminate colic. It usually goes away on its own by the time the baby is 4 months old. Your doctor may give some medications, such as simethicone, fennel extract, or some nutritional supplement containing probiotics to ease the discomfort in the gut, if any.

Some steps can help alleviate the severity and duration of the episodes. Here is what you can do:

  • Feed the baby after you make sure that they are hungry.
  • Bottle-feed the baby in an upright position.
  • Check your babys diaper, change the diaper if dirty, and keep the diaper area clean.
  • Increase the frequency of burping after the feedings.
  • Swaddling the baby in a blanket, preferably in dim light.
  • Try changing the infant formula.
  • Walk with the baby in your arms.
  • Talk to your baby.
  • Take the baby out for a ride in the stroller or a car.
  • Make use of a pacifier.
  • Give the baby a warm bath.
  • See if eliminating certain foods, such as eggs, wheat, or soy, helps resolve the colic. Try cutting back on one food item at a time to see which foods are associated with the colic.

What Are The Symptoms Of Gas

What To Do If Your Baby Has Colic

Just as crying is a fact of baby life, so, too, is baby gas. But when your infant has painful gas, especially if its frequent, it can cause your baby to cry or become fussyuntil its passed unlike colic, which causes crying and fussiness that lasts for hours across days and weeks. Gas can have distinctive symptoms, too, such as a swollen-looking belly. Likewise, your baby may lift their legs and/or arch their back. It may also cause your baby to cry while passing gas or soon after. Then, of course, theres the obvious audible toots or burps.

Infant gas, fortunately, isnt a medical condition, but it can sometimes cause your little one pain or discomfort. However, there are things you can do to help relieve your infants gaseven simple tactics such as massage can help.

Another way to help your gassy baby feel better is to use Infants Mylicon Gas Relief drops in either our dye-free or original formula. They quickly and gently break down gas bubbles to help your baby naturally expel them. The medicine in them is safe enougheven for the newest of newbornsto be given up to 12 times a day. Plus, it wont stay in your infants system, since its not absorbed and just ends up in the diaper.

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What Are The Causes Of Colic

There isnt a concrete medical reason why infants experience colic, but several theories are to the cause. Most ideas revolve around the development of the newborn child. The theories assume that colic is a result of the intestinal growth of newborns. Knowing the possible causes of colic can assist better understand what your little one is going through and have a little patience. So, how do you do if your baby has colic?

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Why Is Colic A Concern

Colic may become a concern due to the following reasons:

  • Frustrating and stressful to parents
  • Parents and infant lose sleep
  • Infant may be overfed in an attempt to stop the crying

Babies with colic usually grow and gain weight appropriately, despite being fussy or irritable, being gassy, and losing sleep.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Colic

Signs and symptoms that your baby has colic include:

  • periods of crying where they are harder to console than usual – over 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week and over a period of 3 weeks or more
  • restlessness
  • drawing their legs up, arching their back or clenching their fists
  • going red in the face
  • seeming to settle and then having another spell of crying

Crying is more common in the evening time. Sometimes a baby with colic can cry for many hours during the day or night.

If your baby has colic, they may appear to be in distress. But babies with colic are fine between periods of crying. Your baby should be feeding well and gaining weight even if they have colic.

Are There Any Criteria For Colic

Colic: Does my baby have it?

Of course, yes, there are two traditional criteria where the first one has undergone a transition over the years and later is more consistent.

1. Wessels Rule of 3s Diagnostic Criteria:

Symptoms lasting for more than

  • Three hours a day.

  • Three or more days a week.

  • Three or more weeks starting around three months of age.

2. The Rome IV Criteria:

It describes colic from birth to five months of age.

  • Symptoms start and stop in an infant younger than five months of age.

  • Recurrent, prolonged episodes of crying without any obvious cause and cannot be calmed down by the parent or caretaker.

  • The baby appears perfectly healthy, without any history of fever, illness, or failure to thrive.

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When Should I Call My Child’s Healthcare Provider

Before assuming your child has colic, look for other signs of illness. These may include:

  • Not sucking or drinking a bottle well
  • Drinking less milk than usual
  • Vomiting
  • Becoming more irritable when held or touched
  • Having a strange-sounding cry
  • Having a change in breathing rate or using extra effort to breathe
  • Being more sleepy or sluggish than normal
  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or as directed by your child’s healthcare provider

When To Call The Doctor About Colic In Babies

While the odds are that your babys daily screaming sessions are due to colic, if it seems like your baby is crying excessively, start by seeing the pediatrician.

The doctor can examine your baby to rule out any other potential causes of excessive crying. And if they think you’re definitely dealing with colic? It’s good to get some reassurance and maybe a few extra soothing strategies.

Describing the crying will also help the doctor rule out any underlying medical condition that could be triggering the crying.

Keep in mind, too, that this shall pass: Just when you think you can’t take another night of it, the crying will let up and then it’s gone forever.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

  • What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.

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Some Colic Soothing Suggestions

Its important to remember that baby colic is self-limiting the symptoms usually begin to subside at around the age of four to six months as the digestive system matures and begins to work more efficiently.

The good thing is that there are many ways to help soothe colic naturally. As long as you have checked with a GP or health visitor that there isnt a more serious underlying problem, then your baby can only benefit from the following gentle soothing suggestions.

Colic In Babies: How To Know If Your Baby Has Colic

What To Do If Your Baby Has Colic

If your baby has been crying at least 3 times a week for 3 or more hours for the past three weeks, she may be colicky. Colic affects up to 1 in every 5 babies. Having a baby with colic can be a highly stressful situation for us parents It affects up to 1 in every 5 babies, and nobody really knows for sure why it happens!

Colic can happen to any baby, full term or preemie. However, premature babies have an increased chance of developing it. It usually resolves on its own when the baby is 4 to 6 months , and there is nothing to worry about. That is, except the countless nights of excessive crying.

What we have to keep in mind is that theyll eventually go away. And, although nothing but time can fully resolve colic, there are things you can do to soothe your crying baby.

Keep reading to find out if your baby has colic, and how to calm a colicky baby.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • When will my baby get over colic?
  • What is the best way to feed my baby to avoid colic?
  • Should I hold my baby upright for a certain amount of time after they eat?
  • Is there a good position to hold my baby in to make them feel better?
  • Can I give my baby any medicines to make them feel better?
  • What can I do to help myself from getting angry or frustrated when my baby cries?

Food Sensitivity And/or Allergies

This cause also has a lot to do with your babys tummy. Some experts suggest that colic could be caused by a milk allergy connected to proteins found in formula. Similarly, it has also been suggested that certain foods in moms diet could cause colic in breastfed babies. While this cause is rarer than others, still consider if food allergies or sensitivities could be causing gas and tummy pain in your baby.

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How Colic Affects New Parents

Although its not harmful in itself, colic can still take its toll. For starters, it puts terrible pressure on new parents. It sent my husband and me into therapy, confesses Catherine McManus, a mom from Oviedo, Florida. Excessive crying is also associated with giving up breastfeeding, overmedication of babies, postpartum depression, and shaken-baby syndrome.

Colic is nerve-racking, but its helpful to remember that its also temporary. Colic is not your babys defining personality trait, says Laura Jana, M.D., coauthor of Heading Home with Your Newborn . Once the colic is gone, your child can have a completely different personalityspunky, sensitive, crabby. But colic is not going to tell you which, because it doesnt carry over.

Coping With Your Babys Colic

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Being a parent to a newborn is hard work. Many parents who try to cope with colic in a reasonable fashion tend to get stressed in the process. Remember to take regular breaks as needed so you dont lose your cool when dealing with your babys colic. Ask a friend or family member to watch your baby for you while you take a quick trip to the store, walk around the block, or take a nap.

Place your baby in the crib or swing for a few minutes while you take a break if you feel like youre starting to lose your cool. Call for immediate help if you ever feel like you want to harm yourself or your baby.

Dont be afraid of spoiling your child with constant cuddling. Babies need to be held, especially when they are going through colic.

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What Is The Difference Between Normal And Colicky Crying

Sometimes your baby will cry because she is hungry or tired, or because she has a wet diaper. But when sheâs been fed, cuddled, or had her diaper changed, she will stop crying.

If, however, she seems to cry for no reason, and continues to cry even once youâve checked her diaper, fed her, and comforted her as best you can, she may have colic.

This is what sets normal crying apart from colicky crying. With normal crying, your baby will respond to comfort measures and will stop crying eventually with colic, your baby persistently cries and canât seem to be consoled.

Avoiding Your Baby’s Triggers

Foods that are passed through your breast milk to your baby may trigger colic. If your baby is colicky and you are breastfeeding, avoid eating or drinking the following foods for a few weeks to see if that helps.

  • Stimulants, such as caffeine and chocolate.
  • Dairy products and nuts. Your baby may have allergies to these foods.

Some breastfeeding moms avoid eating broccoli, cabbage, beans, and other gas-producing foods. But research has not shown that these foods can have a negative effect on your baby.

Other possible triggers include:

  • Medicines passed through breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your own doctor about the medicines you take.
  • Baby formula. Some babies are sensitive to proteins in formula. Talk to your baby’s doctor about switching formulas to see if that helps.
  • Overfeeding or feeding the baby too quickly. Bottle feeding your baby should take about 20 minutes. If your baby is eating faster, use a nipple with a smaller hole.

Talk to a lactation consultant to learn more about the possible causes related to breastfeeding.

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How To Treat Or Manage Your Colicky Baby

1. Parent’s Self-care:

The first line of treatment should be concerned with the distressed parents, educating them about colic and assuring that it is self-limiting, not a serious condition. Parents are requested to calm themselves and not to get frustrated by infants crying. Frustrated parents may sometimes injure the baby and themselves. Always remember not to shake your baby it may result in a serious condition called shaken baby syndrome that can cause blindness, brain damage, and even death.

2. Soothing Techniques:

Here are some techniques which can calm your fussy baby:

  • Swaddle your baby.

  • Gently rock your baby. This calms your baby and helps the baby to pass gas. You can also try an infant swing when the baby can hold up their head.

  • Hold your baby in an upright position it relieves heartburn.

  • Singing a lullaby to the baby or playing soft music.

  • Burping your baby to relieve trapped gas bubbles.

  • Try giving them warm baths.

  • You can also try taking them for a drive in a car.

  • Place warm towels in your babys stomach.

  • Take your baby for a walk in a stroller.

3. Dietary Modifications:

  • If your baby is breastfed, mothers can avoid taking milk products, caffeine, onions, cabbage, or any irritating foods in their diet.

  • The American academy of pediatrics discourages the use of soy-based formulas in colic treatment.

4. Medications:

Create A Calming Feeding Time

What To Do If Your Baby Has Colic

Try making feeding time as peaceful as possible for both of you. Find a quiet spot and enjoy the peace of nursing, it will do wonders for your nerves and your babys digestion. Turn off the TV, play some soothing music, dim the lights and let your energy level slow down and become peaceful. A drop of lavender essential oil in the hollow of your throat will help you de-stress and soothe your baby, too. Just sitting, breathing and inhaling the scent will relieve the jangled nerves.

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If You Suspect Overstimulation:

  • Respond. Crying is a babys only way of communicating his needs. But its also his only way of wielding any control at all over a vast and bewildering new environment: He cries, you come running to his side powerful stuff when youre otherwise completely powerless. In fact, studies show that responding promptly to your babys cries will reduce his crying in the long run.
  • Excise excitement. Limit visitors and avoid exposing your baby to new experiences in stimulating environments, particularly in the late afternoon and early evening. Watch how your baby responds to certain stimuli and steer clear of any that seem to offend.
  • Create calm. Trying to make your babys environment peaceful might help him relax. Dim the lights, speak or sing in soothing tones and keep other noise and distractions to a minimum.

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