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Baby Colic- What to do?

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Colic is excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed. Colic is very common.

Signs:

  • Crying and fussing that happens a lot, or lasts for a long time. It might start when your baby is a few days or a few weeks old.
  • Baby be unsettled and fussy about feeding. Baby might feed hungrily, will be hungry again very soon. Or your baby might not want to take your breast or the bottle at all.
  • Baby might spend long periods of time unsettled, uncomfortable and crying very loudly.
  • It begins within the first few weeks of life and peaks at around 6 to 8 weeks. It often stops by the time the baby is 4 months old, and by 6 months at the latest.
  • The crying and fussing might seem to go on for hours, and it’s often worse in the evening.
  • During this time, baby’s face becomes flushed, and  may clench their fists, draw their knees up to their tummy, or arch their back.
  •  It becomes very difficult or even impossible to settle or comfort the baby during this time. Nothing seems to work to settle the baby.

Causes:

Cause is unknown, but a number of theories have been suggested which include indigestion, trapped gas or sensitivity to certain proteins and sugars found in breast milk and formula milk.

Solution:

There is no best way to help with colic. Different babies respond to different methods, so you may have to see what works best for you. Remember the crying outbursts are not harmful and your baby will continue to feed and gain weight normally. There is no clear evidence that colic has any long-term effects on a baby’s health.

Here are some tips to help with colic:

  • Hold your baby during a crying episode, and swaddle or wrap them snugly in a blanket. Gently try and burp them.
  • Talk gently to your baby.
  • Try soothing the baby with baby massage, gentle rocking or patting, or a warm bath.
  • Check that your baby is not too hot or cold or uncomfortable in some way
  • Check if your baby needs a feed or a nappy change.
  • Play soft music or lullaby to try and calm the baby
  • Don’t overstimulate the baby or vigorously pat, bounce or burp. Sometimes, baby might just need to comfortably lie down to settle
  • Keep the room dark and cosy during daytime sleep. Keep the noise level down.
  • Don’t startle your baby with loud noises or quick movements.
  • Crying babies tend to arch their backs and stiffen their legs. Holding them curled in a C (or flexed) position helps to calm them down.
  • Develop a regular daily pattern of feeds and sleeps.
  • Take the baby for a walk in a pram or for a ride in the car. Many babies seem to find it helps them calm down
  • Check formula is being made up correctly, if you’re using it.
  • If you have tried everything and your baby still cries, try to just hold them. Your baby will be happy with the comfort, even if the crying goes on. You can use a rocking chair for this.
  • The use of medication for colic is not clearly understood. Colic gets better by itself after few weeks whether you use any medicines or not. Medications can also make babies sleepier, which can be dangerous. If you want to use any medications, you should consult your doctor for suggestion on the best medicine.

When to see the doc:

If you are worried or suspect your baby has colic, take your baby to your doctor for a check-up to rule out any underlying medical condition. It will also reassure you. You can also ask help from a lactation consultant to check the feeding technique. You can then try the above-mentioned strategies to calm a colicky baby.

However, there are some warning signals that require prompt medical attention:

  • Baby seems pale or fatigued/not moving much
  • Baby is not feeding well or gaining much weight
  • Fever with excessive crying
  • Baby has persistent vomiting or diarrhoea

Remember- Colic tends to go away without treatment after a few weeks. The crying outbursts are generally not harmful, and your baby will continue to feed and gain weight normally. Parents and caregivers need to be calm and make sure that they take enough rest when baby is resting. This will help everyone manage the stress and frustration better

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