It’s not unusual for babies to cry. It’s their way of letting their mommies know that they’re hungry, wet, tired, hot, cold or sick. However if you find your healthy child crying even after being fed, cleaned and taken care of, chances are that she’s suffering from colic.
Colic is pretty common among babies - Almost 20% (That’s one in every five babies) are affected by colic during the first few months.
What is colic?
Infantile colic is when your child has frequent episodes of crying that last for 3 hours at a time, for more than 3 days a week, for 3 weeks or more - It is often called as the "rule of threes". It starts a few weeks after birth and can last upto 3 or 4 months. Colic usually peaks at around 6 weeks and by the end of 4 months, 80 to 90% of the infants are not colicky anymore.
Symptoms of colic
The baby cries so intensely that the face starts becoming red and flushed. The crying can start out of the blue and can end just as abruptly. All your attempts to distract her by making faces or taking her in a car ride will go in vain.
A good way of recognizing if your baby has colic is to check for symptoms of a gassy tummy. Although it has not yet been proven that gas causes colic, because of swallowing air when crying, extra gas may be formed in your little one’s tummy. Your baby may clench her fingers, arch her back and try to pass gas by alternately pulling and extending her legs. She might start feeling better after letting the gas out or having a bowel movement.
What causes colic?
The exact reasons as to why some babies are colicky are still unknown. Some doctors believe that it is a natural developmental stage that babies go through in order to adjust to the life outside the womb while some others consider colic to be a result of bacteria imbalance in the gut. It could also be because of constipation due to indigestion, lactose intolerance, gastroesophageal reflux disease or infantile migraine.
What can you do?
Although colic doesn’t affect your baby in the long run, there are certain things you can do to make sure the baby is comfortable. This involves trial and error of different methods and seeing which one your baby responds to better.
- A lot of infants calm down when firmly wrapped in a blanket or when swaddled.
- While feeding your baby, position the baby upright so that she is less likely to swallow air. Also, small feedings on a frequent basis are known to help.
- Burp your child after feeding by holding them against your shoulder with the head and the neck supported. A little milk might be spit out at this point but it’s completely normal.
- Give your child a pacifier. Sucking on it may provide some relief to your little one.
- If you’re a breastfeeding mom, try going on a hypoallergenic diet that excludes dairy, eggs, wheat and nuts. If your baby’s crying has reduced by a far extent then you know she is sensitive to one of these foods. A baby’s colic symptoms are also known to reduce if a breastfeeding mom avoids tea, coffee, spicy foods and alcohol.
- A background noise can help distract the baby. You could use a washing machine, a hair dryer or a really loud fan to steer your little one’s attention away.
- Gripe water is another popular choice among moms to treat colicky babies. We recommend Woodward’s Gripe Water which helps provide relief from colic pain or stomach pain caused by gas, acidity or indigestion. It is a herbal remedy that contains ingredients like Anethum graveolens oil(Dill seed oil) and Sarjikakshara which are known for their stomach-easing properties. It is completely free of alcohol, gluten, starch, dairy products, wheat yeast, artificial flavours and colours, making it completely safe to be given to your baby right from the start. You just have to vary the dosage as your child grows. You won’t have any problem feeding Woodwards gripe water to your baby because of its sweet taste. This 150-year old trusted remedy is sure to make your little one comfortable and free of colic.
Colicky babies can put a lot of pressure on parents. Just remember that it is only temporary and this too shall pass as your child grows up. All you need is a little bit of patience and a lot of love to ease your baby’s discomfort and get through this phase together.