Babies cry; that is their way of communicating with the world. But sometimes, all they seem to do is cry without any apparent reason. As a parent or caregiver, it can be challenging and frustrating to watch your little one wail inconsolably for hours on end, wondering what could be wrong. One possible culprit could be colic- that nasty condition that affects up to 40% of infants worldwide! So how do you know if it's colic or not?
What is Colic?
Colic refers to a set of symptoms experienced by some healthy infants characterized by excessive crying episodes lasting over three hours per day and occurring more than three days in a week(1). These unexplained bouts commonly start at around two weeks old and may persist until the baby is four months old.
The Mysterious Cause
The truth about what causes colic isn't known yet, but many theories exist. Blaming parents might seem like the easiest explanation when nothing seems able to calm an uncomfortable child down but trust us (because we are experts), it’s never entirely accurate!
Here are Some Other Possible Causes:
- Gas: Babies' digestive systems aren’t fully developed, so bubbles may become trapped in their stomach or intestines causing them discomfort & distress.
- Lactose Intolerance: Sometimes babies have difficulty digesting milk sugar found in their formula/breastmilk leading to gassy tummies.
- Acid Reflux Disease/GERD: Characterized By A Backflow Of Stomach Acid Into The Esophagus Causing Discomfort
- Immature Digestive System: Baby’s GI tract develops slower as compared to other parts of its body (2). These factors lead us towards suspecting that there exists considerable vulnerability among newborns because even small changes in routine/dietary substances disturb gut microbiota balance (3).
How to Tell If It's Colic?
Overnight Change in Behavior
It’s common for newborns to sleep most of the day and wake up briefly only when they need feeding or are wet. But if you notice that your little one suddenly started crying inconsolably, especially during late afternoons/evenings (when colic symptoms peak) it could be an indication of colic(we think).
Crying is normal, but prolonged bouts can point towards ongoing discomfort from colicky attiacks. According to Mayoclinic.com(4), babies who pass as being extremely irritable show signs such as becoming more clench-fisted, their faces turn red/purple in color, balled-up/bent legs with hands pressed against tummy region - They simply seem genuinely uncomfortable.
Although unpredictable initially, experts have observed some consistent patterns underlying these frenzies. For instance, all disturbances occur at specific times almost every day – usually around dinnertime when parents prepare meals; this release peaks while children fight off fatigue/inviting bedtime due to exhaustion(5)
How Can You Help a Baby With Colic?
Unfortunately/not surprisingly enough (why did we expect any different?) neither medical sciences/natural approaches/some miraculous home remedies offer complete relief for babies suffering from this condition/home/helplessness/stress) just becomes inevitable! Nonetheless here are five things that might help make life bearable:
- Swaddling: Wrapping your baby snugly into a thin cotton blanket before putting him/her down may comfort them by mimicking the confined space they enjoyed while still inside mama’s uterus.
- Rocking: Holding & soothing movements like gentle rocking/swaying will similarly mimic sensations kids experienced back in the womb.
- White noise/melodies: create ambient sounds/noises overwhelming cries softening sound levels thus reducing stress-levels
- Diet Changes: Sometimes changing formulas to soy-based on allergy suspicions or getting probiotic supplements may be worth trying.
- Cuddles: This one’s our favorite; we recommend cuddling your baby endlessly for that warm and affectionate connection (Warning:-might lead to serious bonding!)
When Should I Call a Pediatrician?
Unfortunately, colic isn’t always the cause of a crying baby (Yes! We wonder about it as well) and seeking professional help will save you from wasting valuable time/energy in fruitless efforts. Contact pediatricians if:
- Your Baby's Appearance & Behavior Change: They don't feed well/harbor unusual signs such as diarrhea/vomiting
- Fever develops indicative of an infection due to underlying reasons/immune system deficiencies triggered by concurrent conditions.
Colic is a tricky condition difficult both on young parents and babies alike(no surprises there). Although doctors agree that avoiding potential triggers known which include avoid smoking/alcoholic beverages/prohibitive caffeine doses; family can only use remedies to relieve their children while hoping this phase passes quickly(6).
In fact, having someone else around/willingness for babysitting could help wear out frustrations during episodes constantly eroding patience overextended periods- especially at night! Remember, Talk To A Professional In Case Of Any Confusion and do not hesitate but notice even small changes visibly affecting children while ensuring frequent doctor visits keep close tabs prenatal/postnatal health status monitoring & guarantee better development within stressful times like these(7).
Keep In Mind That Even Parents Need Break From Time-To-Time, And It’s Necessary To Allocate Some "Me-Time" For Yourself As Much As Possible Because ONLY THEN Can You Manage All Responsibility That Comes With Rearring Newborn Babies!
1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525796/ 2 https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/newborn-colic-vs-everyday-crying#:~:text=Colic%20isn't%20just,are%20certainly%20factors%20at%2Dplay. 3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165177/ 4 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/colic/symptoms-causes/syc-20371074 5 https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/colic.html 6 https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/-/media/Bhc/hlpb/about/evidence/a-mums-guide-to-treating-babys-colic.pdf?la=en&hash=E683FDCDEC86E54550514200812127FB70ED451B 7 Why Irish Mammies Think That Colicky Babies Are A Result Of Negativity In The Home