“One day, a few weeks later, she erupted in prolonged, ear-shattering wails, complete with clenched fists, flailing legs, and an unhappy red face. I tried everything to stop her from crying but failed apparently. And that’s not all. Even today, she repeats these heartbreaking, stressful episodes every night at the same time for what seems like forever.” If you’ve confronted the above situation, welcome to the world of COLIC. It’s common for babies to cry for food, wet nappies, itching, etc. However, there are cases observed when an otherwise healthy baby sheds tears for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week, and this scenario goes on for more than three weeks, something uncommon. If you’re noticing the above with your baby, there are some chances of your newborn suffering from colic. However, there is no need to worry as colic is neither a disorder nor a disease but merely an observational behavior shown by 5-19% of the infants. These days, since it’s getting common, it’s better for you to understand what colic is, its causes, common symptoms, and remedies. So, without further ado, let’s start.
What is colic?
As already said, colic is a sort of unexplainable crying in an otherwise healthy baby that lasts for more than three hours, at three days a week, and for at least three weeks. Nowadays, it’s common for every one in five infants to become affected by colic. Most of the study suggests that colic generally occurs in the 2-3 weeks old babies and then slowly taper off after that.
How to know if it’s colic and not an ordinary cry?
There are basically two things to take note of while determining whether your baby is suffering from colics, or it’s just a normal cry. First, notice whether there is a specific reason behind him shedding tears like wet nappy, hunger, itching, uncomfortable clothing, etc. If you come across any of the above reasons or something else, it’s just a normal cry. Don’t worry then. In another scenario, if everything is fine, yet he is crying with a higher pitch and intensity, there is a possibility of your baby suffering from colic, the common causes of which are detailed below.
What are the causes of colic?
The following are the most common causes of colic in the newborns.
When babies come out of the womb, they try to adjust themselves to the new sensations and environment that most pediatricians view as the possible cause of colic. Also, after being in senses and absorbing the nearby sights, smells, and sounds, they cry out after reaching their mark which again, steers colic.
2. Weak digestive system
Experts feel that due to prolonged durations of crying, babies experience an increase in the gas formation (as the food particles don’t crush properly and pass as it is) in their stomachs. This is further raised due to the additional gas being passed on by some gas-producing ingredients like vegetables, nuts, coffee, etc. through breastfeeding. It must also be noted that the acid reflux inside the abdomen also adds on to the digestive issues among tots.
It is said that what the mother-to-be feels and eats, goes to her baby. Similarly, if the mother is suffering from anxiety, there are high chances and shreds of evidence of the baby becoming prone to anxiety as well. This anxiety is also a popular cause of colic in babies.
4. Chemical imbalance
In healthy babies, there lies a balance between the two brain chemicals, Melatonin, and Serotonin. On the other hand, in otherwise healthy but colicky tots, there lies more Serotonin than Melatonin. What this additional amount of Serotonin does is that it contracts and disturbs the intestinal muscles and gives rise to colic. Some other causes of colic include childhood migraines, exposure to tobacco or smoke, food allergies, over/underfeeding, etc. Hence, these are the common causes of colic in babies. Below you will find the common symptoms of this behavioral malady in newborns.
What are the common symptoms of colic?
Excessive crying without reason is the most common symptom of colic, with nearly 65-70% babies showing it up. Apart from this, other well-known symptoms are: ● Fussiness and irritation for hours, ● Crying often during the afternoon and evening hours, ● Face turning red, ● Clenched fists and knees/arms folded to the abdomen, ● Gas or stool (soft & hard) after calming down a bit, ● Enlarged stomach, ● Indigestion. The intensity of a few signs among these may rise further, which might need a visit to a doctor. In either case, if it’s not intense, you can try the following remedies to soothe your baby.
How to treat colic at home?
Most of the pediatricians suggest these remedies in order to soothe a colicky baby. ● Gently pat on your newborn’s back to calm him down. ● You can try the “airplane hold,” i.e., hold your baby with the belly side down on your forearm. In this, that slight pressure on the abdomen will soothe the colic. ● Colicky babies get excited when introduced to a noise. For this, you can try your hands on a musical instrument like flute, piano, etc. to let them enjoy & forget crying. If not this, you can try the sounds of a fan, washing machine, etc. ● Handing the baby to someone else can also calm the colicky babies as they can easily sense the change in guarding, energy, and warmth. ● Feeding plays an important role in colicky babies. If your baby is breastfeeding, take care of your own diet, and refrain from the items that might cause gas like nuts, caffeine, etc. Try changing the formula or switch to a better brand following discussions with the doctor. ● Spend some quality time with your baby. These are some of the simple remedies to soothe your colicky baby. If nothing works, it’s better to pay a visit to your pediatrician at the earliest. Colic is natural, so don’t feel guilty about yourself. It will come on its own and will definitely vanish after 4-6 weeks without leaving behind any serious illness to your little champ. It just takes your calmness to actively pass your baby’s colic stage.