Babies cry when they need something and it’s totally normal, but a lot of crying for no apparent reason could be a sign of colic. Crying is the only way for your little one to tell you whether he or she is hungry or unhappy. But if there is a lot of crying, a lot of the time, it could be another issue.
Your infant’s usual fussiness may have transformed into extended crying periods that go on and on and the baby can’t be soothed. These anxious, crying spells may mean that your baby has colic, which affects around 20 percent of all babies.
Read on to find out what colic is and what may cause it as well as how you can try to relieve your child from any colicky pain You will also learn how you can cope with the discomfort of colicky crying yourself, and when to take your baby to see a doctor.
What is Colic?
Your baby often weeps when he or she is hungry or tired, or wants a change of nappy. A snack, a cuddle, or a new, dry nappy, in this case, is typically all you need to cheer up your little one again.
However, if for no reason, your baby starts to scream, and continues to cry after you’ve taken care of all of those things, he or she may have colic.
That is what separates usual crying from colicky weeping. Your child will respond to soothing measures when it is normal crying, and will eventually stop crying. But with colic, your baby will not be soothed. When your baby has colic, you will also find the afternoon and/or evening he or she cries more often.
Colic Signs and Symptoms
A baby with colic can exhibit any of the following symptoms.
- Crying inconsolably. Stuff that usually soothes your baby – such as a meal, cuddles, or nappy change – doesn’t seem to work. And, they could only work for a short time before the weeping again begins.
- Becoming stiff or nervous. Stiffening or tensing the body, arched back, or clenched fists may be colicky pain tell signs.
- Curling. In fast succession, your little one will pull up his or her legs several times toward the tummy.
- Swollen, or stomach is tender. The tummy of your baby may seem tight and puffed up, and probably sensitive to the touch.
- Face getting red. Your little one might turn a bit red-faced from all the crying.
How to Soothe Your Crying Baby
Sadly, there’s no treatment for colic but take heart: it usually clears up in a few weeks or months by itself. Nonetheless, many parents feel powerless and frustrated as to what to do to soothe their colicky boy.
Here are a few remedies that you can try to comfort and soothe your little one, and offer some relief from colic, or lessen the symptoms.
- Keep your child upright during feeding. This may help to prevent your little one from swallowing air along with the formula or breast milk.
- Ensuring your baby releases wind after feeding will help release any trapped air in the digestive system, relieving pressure on their tummy.
- Look out for what you eat. If you are breastfeeding, there is some proof that, in certain instances, cutting or growing the amount of cow’s dairy products, poultry, wheat, nuts, and caffeine from your diet may benefit.
- Switching formulae. If you are feeding your baby formula, ask your doctor or health care provider to seek a hydrolyzed (hypoallergenic) formula, whether the colic is caused by an aversion or reaction to something in the formula.
- Using a rapid-flow teat. If you feed your little one with a bottle, and the hole in the teat of the container is too small, it might make your baby swallow air when eating. Using a breast with a larger hole could help with that.
What Causes Colic?
Medical experts are not yet sure what triggers colic, but it is thought that the crying is a reaction to the stomach pain. There are different hypotheses as to what factors may lead to this stomach pain, the following are some of them.
- An underdeveloped digestive system. The brand new digestive system for your baby can still have a bit to mature. Until then, your little one may find the breastmilk or formula more difficult to digest.
- Changes of hormones. Changes in your baby’s hormone levels as they develop can have a temporary effect on your tummy muscles.
- Imbalance in bacteria. The bacteria that reside in the digestive system that grows for your baby may still be developing, so they may be out of control. This usually corrects in a few weeks.
- Intolerance of Lactose. Another explanation is for the lactose in breast milk or formula not to comply with the tummy of your little one.
- Extra gas or air stuck in the tummy of your little one could make him or her uncomfortable.
- Reflux acid, or GORD. Colic can be close to the effects of acid reflux or gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD).
- Exposure to smoke from tobacco. If you smoked during pregnancy, or if people were smoking around you and your child, this could increase your little one’s risk.
Try rocking the baby. Smooth, daily movement can be calming. Rock your baby against your shoulder, or in a crib or cradle. You can also go for a walk with baby in a stroller or go for a drive with baby in a car seat – these things can help calm your child down.
If you’ve tried all these tips and your baby does not show improvement, call your doctor for help.