Baby colic is when an otherwise healthy newborn has episodes of fussiness and high-pitched crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for more than three weeks. Colic is most common in infants of six weeks of age. The episodes are predictable and usually happen in the evening. It typically goes away by six months of age.
Doctors haven’t been able to determined the cause for colic. Some theories state that colic might be caused due to gastrointestinal discomfort, food allergies or an early onset of migraine, but the definite cause is still unknown.
A colicky baby can cause parents’ stress, depression and frustration. It is a stressful time for the entire household.
There are no determined treatments for colic. However, certain remedies are useful to pacify babies and also offer some relief to the caregivers.
Some common remedies you can try are-
Even though intestinal cramping has been ruled out as a cause for baby colic, excessive crying also cause the baby to swallow more air. Gently rub your baby’s back after feedings for proper burping to release swallowed air.
Swaddling helps infants feel comforted and dimmed lights reduce visual stimulation. Swaddling your baby and placing him or her in a darkened room has a calming effect.
- White Noise
Place your baby near a low constant soothing white noise. White noises such as vacuum noise or dryer noise calm babies.
If you do not own any such appliances, then you can get a white noise machine, which is readily available.
- Chiropractic Care
Sometimes simply holding the baby can be quite effective and make them feel comforted.
Place you baby in a swing or a vibrator chair. If you can, then try and take the baby out for a drive. The vibrations and movements have a calming effect on babies.
You can consult your pediatrician regarding probiotics to treat baby colic. Some evidence support certain probiotics but there is no assurity of it being effective.
Having a colicky baby can make parents severely exhausted and stressed. Here are some tips for parents, to help them keep their health in check as well-
- Take turns: Figure out a schedule with your partner and take turns taking care of the baby. The burden of the colic should never fall on just one parent. You will get through this, together.Probiotics
- Sleep when your baby does: Since colic episodes usually occur during the evening, it means you will face continuous sleepless nights. So sync your sleeping schedule with your baby’s. Even a good two hour nap will help you push through these difficult days.
- Help from friends and family: Don’t shy away from reaching out to your friends and family for help. It is a struggle to keep up with a colicky baby and the support of your friends and family will help you navigate through this.
- It will be over soon: Commonly colic goes away by six months of age. That period of time will be hard, but you need to keep reminding yourself that it will not last forever.
- Ask for help: If you feel like you are under severe and uncontrollable stress, anxiety and depression, then get professional help. You can get counselling and medication, which has been proven to be effective.
- Eat well: Dealing with a colicky baby demands physical and mental strength. Take a proper nutritious diet and try to incorporate some sort of exercise.
- Don’t blame yourself: A colicky baby is no one’s fault. So do not blame yourself or anyone else for it. This in no way undermines your parenting skills. Be kind to yourself.
Taking care of a colicky baby is difficult, exhausting and frustrating. But stay strong, as this too shall pass.