How To Help Your Baby
It can be difficult to soothe a baby with colic, but there are a few things you can try to help calm your little one:
- hold your baby upright for feeds and burp them afterwards
- if your baby is breastfed and seems worse after mum eats certain foods, talk to your Plunket nurse, or other Well Child provider
- if your baby is bottle-fed, check you are preparing it correctly
- hold your baby while they are crying and talk to them with a soothing voice
- play soothing music
- keep the lights dimmed
- babies like to move so try gentle swaying, push them in a pram, or use a front pack to carry your baby while you do things around the house
- give your baby a warm bath or a gentle stomach rub.
What Does Colic Mean
In short, colic is when a baby cries repeatedly without apparent reasons or causes. Unfortunately, this is a common issue parents have to face, and luckily, it should get better with time.
Usually, colic symptoms are present during the babys initial six weeks of life. But, how long does colic last? By the age of three to four months, the symptoms should disappear without medical assistance.
If the baby is crying for no reason, that doesnt mean that something is wrong with it. Healthy babies may have colic too. Based on statistics, one in four newborns may have colic symptoms.
How long does colic last per day? Usually, colic lasts for over three hours a day. How long does colic last weekly? It happens around three or more days per week. If your baby cries like this for over three weeks, they may have colic.
Moreover, colic starts suddenly, and it is characterized by nonstop loud crying. Parents may feel highly stressed when the baby is crying excessively.
We understand how it can feel. If you are searching for a trained specialist for expert advice, reach out to Dr. Ana Hernandez Puga.
What Are Colic Symptoms And Signs In Babies
The crying or fussing most frequently begins suddenly and often after a feeding. The cry is loud, high pitched, and continuous, and the spells last from one to four hours. The baby’s face often gets flushed or red. The belly is sometimes distended or prominent, the legs alternating between flexed and extended straight out the feet are often cold and the hands clenched. The episodes, while they can occur at any time of the day or night, typically begin in the late afternoon or early evening, just when parents or caregivers are most exhausted. There are some babies who are more prone to infantile colic than others. If one or both parents were colicky, their baby is more at risk. Infantile colic typically begins at about 2 to 3 weeks of age, reaches its peak at 2 months, begins to subside by 3 months, and is gone by 3½ to 4 months of age. But the frustrating fact remains that although many babies experience colic and much research has been done on the topic, there is no one proven cause of colic. Some studies found no discernible cause for one-quarter of those babies who suffered from colicky episodes. This reality is very frustrating for most parents.
There are factors that may worsen the colic symptoms amongst all colicky babies:
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Coping With A Colicky Baby As A Parent
When your baby has colic, itâs important to pay attention to your own emotional state. Caring for a colicky baby can be tough, and can make many parents feel anxious and inadequate, not to mention stressed.
No matter how frustrated you feel, never shake your baby. Shaking an infant can cause bleeding in the brain, leading to permanent damage and even death.
If you find yourself feeling out of control and unable to cope with your babyâs crying, try one or more of the following steps for some relief:
Take deep breaths and count to 10
Put your baby in his crib or another safe place, and leave the room to take a break
Ask for and accept help from family and friends who can take care of your baby for a short period, giving you a much-needed break
Donât feel guilty about comforting your baby. You are not spoiling her. By holding her, you are trying to make her feel better, and eventually the colic will subside.
Where Can I Get Help
All Babies Cry is a program that helps people learn how to soothe a baby and cope with crying.
The program’s four parts are:
If you are worried you might hurt your baby or someone else will, call the national hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD anytime for help.
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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
- 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
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Colic
If you suspect you have a colicky baby, look out for the following possible signs and symptoms:
Give her a warm bath.
Play soft music, sing, or talk to her.
Wrap her securely in a large, thin blanket.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for colic. Remember that sometimes no matter what you do your baby will cry. So donât beat yourself up about it. Try any number of these different approaches. If one method doesnât work within a week, go with another treatment on the list.
You may find that by the time youâve tried most of these steps, your baby will have outgrown this colicky phase.
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What Are The Signs Of Colic In Adults
Adult colic is a broad range of gastrointestinal disorders in which the main symptom is abdominal pain. This common symptom is used as a platform to make a more specific diagnosis as the patient and healthcare practitioner discover and connect more symptoms to it. While the more commonly known version of this condition seen in babies is generally continuously painful, adult colic comes and goes throughout the day and night. While colic in adults can be associated with serious conditions, like kidney stones, colic in babies generally clears up by the child’s first birthday, and may not have a clear cause.
Classification of Pain
A healthcare practitioner generally diagnoses colic in adults is when a person comes in complaining of varying degrees of gastrointestinal pain. The pain may last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours or in some cases, several days. The level of pain varies as well. Some people may feel like they’re having muscle cramps, while others have so much pain that their daily life is interrupted. Healthcare practitioners usually try to observe and classify patients’ pain to make a full diagnosis.
Eating Habits and Medication
Five Top Tips To Manage Baby Colic
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Common Symptoms Of Colic
Your baby is crying. How do you know if its colic? Are there any additional symptoms you should look for? Below, weve compiled a list of the most common colic symptoms. These include:
- Having a flushed face
- Passing a lot of gas or burping frequently
- When crying, curling up the legs toward the belly
- Clenching fists when crying
- Having a tight stomach
Considering that these colic symptoms can be signs of other health issues, its always best to consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
When To Call Your Doctor
If your baby doesnât gain weight or loses weight, they may have another health problem, so itâs best to call their doctor.
Also call the doctor if they:
- Can’t be soothed at all, even for a few minutes
- Doesn’t suck strongly at the bottle or your breast
- Doesn’t like to be held or touched
- Has an odd cry or sounds like they are in pain
- Has diarrhea or blood in their stool
- Is less alert or sleepier than usual
- Eats less than usual
- Runs a fever of 100.4 degrees or more
- Throws up
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Are Preemies At A Greater Risk For Colic
In 2014, a large Danish study found low birth weight babies or babies born before 32 weeks gestation had an increased risk of developing colicMilidou I, Sondergaard C, Jensen MS, Olsen J, Henriksen TB. Gestational age, small for gestational age, and infantile colic. Pardiatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2014 28:138-145. . Early intervention, Ideran says, could give you a positive outcome. Parents of preemies and babies born small for gestational age should consider an evaluation by a pediatric occupational therapist experienced in working with preterm babies and fussy babies.
Anamnesis And General Examination
From the history it is necessary to find out whether the cry of the child out of the normal . Then you need to differentiate colic in newborns from other causes of screaming, including high fever in a child, infection of the urinary system , otitis media, poor childcare. Careful inquiry can reveal that screaming is not the main problem, but an excuse that parents used to justify their visit to a doctor who is actually willing to discuss another problem, for example anxiety due to the death of the previous child or a sense of impotence and inability to cope with newborn child. A thorough examination, as a rule, does not reveal any anomalies, but convinces parents that the doctor knows how much infantile colic is a stressful situation for parents.
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How To Manage Your Own Distress
Caring for a screaming baby who cant be soothed is extremely distressing. If you feel that you are getting too upset, you need to take some time out to calm down. Suggestions include:
- Put your child in a safe place, such as a cot, and leave the room.
- Walk around the house or go outside.
- Relax your body by dropping your shoulders, clenching and unclenching your fists and stretching your back, arms and legs.
- Have a drink and something to eat, if you can manage it.
- Do something physical like running.
How Your Babys Colic Affects Your Mental Health
Because perinatal mental health problems can negatively impact an infants health and affect mother-infant bonding and childrens health over time, Dr. Donner encourages parents to talk with their babys doctor during well-baby visits or any time in between. Thanks to telemedicine, there are even more options for support.
It can be easyespecially in the weeds of new parentingto want to blame yourself, says Ideran. But know this: Colic is not caused by anything a parent has done or not done. It happens in spite of excellent parenting.
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More Reading On What Causes Colic
opens in a new windowWhat is colic? explains different ways that researchers have defined infantile colic, and provides an overview of some of the most likely reasons for excessive crying.
opens in a new windowInfant cryingtalks more broadly about what kinds of crying and fussing are normal for babies, what can reduce crying in healthy babies, and what sets colicky babies apart.
opens in a new windowColicky babies: Understanding the effects of temperament, brain chemistry, and pain sensitivity explores the idea that we should look to the nervous system to discover what causes colic.
What Is The Treatment For Colic
This is the million dollar question! There is no very good evidence for ANY colic treatments used. Studies have been difficult because definitions of colic vary, because it is difficult to measure how effective treatment is, and because it gets better on its own anyway. Mostly, managing colic involves finding out what works best for you and your baby in a way that causes the minimum amount of stress.
Strategies which MAY be useful include:
- Checking with a health professional if you are in any doubt about the diagnosis. Worrying about the cause of your baby’s crying is likely to add stress to an already difficult situation.
- Holding your baby when they are crying to soothe them. However, this does not mean you have to continually hold a crying baby. As long as you are sure your baby is not too hot/too cold/hungry/unwell and does not need a nappy change, it is OK to lay them down for a short time.
- Movement sometimes helps. You could try rocking them gently or taking them out for a walk in a pram, sling or baby carrier. A drive sometimes helps too, but only if you were planning to do this anyway – you don’t want to find yourself driving round the neighbourhood for no good reason every time the baby cries.
- ‘White noise’ sometimes helps. Background noise, such as a vacuum cleaner, music, a washing machine or a hairdryer may in some cases be soothing.
- Bathing the baby in a warm bath.
- Make sure you ‘wind’ your baby after feeding.
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