Colic is a condition affecting infants that is characterized with excessive crying and usually lasts for as long as 3 hours and even happens once in a while during the whole week. Colic can also happen among healthy infants and the crying is not caused by hunger or pain. There is a pattern for crying such as early in the morning or during the evening. It can be distressing for the baby and frustrating for the parents. The onset of colic usually happens after the 3rd week after birth and improves when they reach the age of 4-5 months.
Symptoms of colic
- Intense crying
- Colicky babies usually cry at the same time every day. These crying episodes can be short and lasting only for a few minutes, but sometimes they can continue for more than 3 hours. In most cases, the crying has no obvious reason.
- Babies usually clench their fist, curl the legs and squeeze their abdominal muscles during episodes of colic.
- Flushing of the face along with belching, spitting up after feeding, difficulty with bowel movements and the passage of gas.
- Colic can be caused by allergies, poorly functioning digestive tract as well as lactose intolerance.
- It can also occur if the mother was smoking during the pregnancy.
- Feed the baby if crying is caused by hunger and then burp after feeding to eliminate gas. Provide the baby small and frequent feedings. Breastfeed the baby as much as possible.
- Let the baby suck on a pacifier which has relaxing and calming effect on the baby.
- Cuddle the baby when there is an episode of colic. Babies calm down when they are held closely. Rock the baby gently like swinging the baby gently in the arms.
- Playing soft music or singing gives comfort on the baby. Some babies stop crying when they hear steady sounds in the background.
- Give the baby a warm bath to minimize some of the discomfort caused by colic. A few drops of lavender oil can be added to the warm bath water and then give the baby a gentle massage on the stomach.
- The baby can be placed in the crib for at least 10 minutes to lessen the discomfort.
- The mother should eliminate certain foods from her diet such as citrus fruits, dairy products, caffeinated drinks and spicy foods since these foods can pass into the breastmilk and cause problems in the digestive system of the baby.
- If the baby is bottle-fed, change the type of bottle or nipple.
- Let the baby hear the sound of falling water since it relaxes them.
- Put warm water in a hot water bottle, wrap it in a towel and place on the stomach of the baby. Just make sure the water is not too hot.
If the baby is still experiencing colic above 3 months with symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, fever and constipation, seek medical help immediately.