Even with the best conditions and environment, learning how to be a new parent is bound to be a struggle that takes time to master. It is a long process and is different every single time. Add to it the fatigue of a crying baby. And the worry for your newborn.
When you see your baby crying in a distressed state, you think of the worst, and this constant worry becomes a hurdle while you try to navigate your life as a new parent. Intense crying bouts can last for hours at any time of the day and could be because your baby is suffering from colic.
Now don’t worry because while that might sound like a huge danger to your child’s health, it is nothing to worry about. Today, we’ll be telling you all you need to know about colic, from what it is to how to soothe colic baby.
Keep reading my fellow parents, because I am here at your service to make this parenting journey a lot easier by telling you all you need to know about colicky babies!
This is the big question, right? What exactly is colic? Why do babies cry? How is colicky crying different from normal crying? What are the symptoms of colic?
Well, the answer is easy. Colic in babies doesn’t have a specific definition for it, but it generally refers to continuous baby cries for no reason at all.
How do I know if my baby has colic? Trying to figure out if you have a colic newborn or if those are healthy baby cries just because they are a little fussy can be a little confusing for parents as both of those include crying.
A baby can be fussy because of various reasons such as an allergy to the milk or formula they are intaking, rash, or even noise. However, the signs of colic are different.
Related: Milk Allergy VS Lactose Intolerance
Some common symptoms of colic in babies include:
- Your baby cries and this lasts for 3 or more hours a day, 3 days a week for at least 1 week.
- There is nothing physically or otherwise wrong with them.
- Soothing your baby takes too much time.
- Soothing your baby is excessively difficult in comparison to other kids their age.
- Your baby clenches its fists.
- Your baby goes red in the face while crying.
- Your baby brings their knees up to their chest or arches their back.
- His or her belly is rumbly and they are windy.
To answer when does colic start, colic generally appears in a baby a few weeks after their birth and can carry on till they are three to four months old.
Is colic dangerous for babies? This is the first question that will come to your head once you hear what colic is. No, baby colic is not dangerous.
According to experts, colic has no long-term effects on your baby and they will start to gain weight just like all the others their age as they reach their third and fourth month.
While there is no scientific decision reached upon the causes of colic babies, here is the answer for how do babies get colic:
- Overstimulated Senses: This is when your baby is swamped with sensory overload. They have a variety of experiences at the same time, so all their senses start to function together, they get overwhelmed by it, and start crying.
- Immature Digestive System: Since babies are not used to having food from external sources, their digestive system is quite immature and takes some time to fully adjust to the world outside the womb.
- Infant Acid Reflux: While the nursing mother may not have issues with certain foods, the digestive system of young babies is often not fully developed. As a result, the food moves back up from the stomach and irritates the child.
- Food Allergies or Sensitivity: When the mother breastfeeds the baby, certain ingredients from the mother’s diet react with the digestive system of the little one and lead to excessive crying.
- Tobacco Exposure: If the nursing mother constantly exposes herself to tobacco, the same transfers to the baby’s system and adds to its irritability.
Now that you know what colic is, it is time to learn how to help colic baby and colic treatments.
All new parents long for a good night’s sleep but that can be impossible when you have a newborn in your house. This is why knowing the best ways to calm your baby comes in handy.
According to specialists, when you provide a baby with an environment that resembles their prior life in the womb, you turn off the switch to all the crying. That calms and soothes them and their crying slowly halts.
Swaddling is the most classic among infant colic remedies to make your baby calm. This is the one activity that you make a habit of when you have your first baby.
Take your baby in your arms and wrap them around. Let their legs dangle but keep them flexed so that they can move their hips. The baby won’t feel trapped but at ease and protected just like they were in the womb.
You can also wrap a blanket around the baby to keep them even warmer and that also mimics the womb better as they are surrounded by a warmth that keeps them comfortable. Even babies who aren’t colicky and cry regularly gain a lot of comfort from this.
Shifting positions is the one thing other parents warn you from doing, as it could spoil your kids. In actuality, it oothes your baby a lot when they get colicky. Shifting positions and swinging them in slow and smooth motion is a huge relaxation and comfort for your child.
When they are in the uterus, babies are held and rocked 24/7, so rocking is by now a habit for them. As soon as you see them crying, pick them up and shift their position by either rocking or distracting them.
When the baby is inside the uterus, they hear sounds differently. The voices reach to them loudly, resembling sounds like the vacuum cleaner but even more loud.
A way to create the feeling of the womb is to mimic the sound the baby used to hear there. Put on white noise audios on your phone or radio static. This will also help your colicky baby sleep longer.
Other sounds that you can play for them are sounds of heavy rain and hair dryer noises. You might find these noises to be foul and loud, however, colic babies find comfort in them as it soothes them.
For the first few months of their lives, your babies will have a strong sucking urge. You can get them a pacifier to keep them busy. While some breastfed babies might refuse the pacifiers, others will gladly make them a habit.
Related: How Many Pacifiers Do I Need?
Shushing your kid when they start crying might seem odd to you at first since your little one will not understand what you are trying to do. But, with time, they will start linking it to an activity that asks them to stop crying, and they will eventually start following it.
Also, shushing mimics the sound your baby used to hear in the womb, so it will help calm them down quicker by instilling a sense of security in them.
As soon as your baby starts crying, take it as a sign to take them out. Load your diaper bag into the car, fasten them into their baby seat, and off you go for a ride that will help calm them down and reduce their overwhelmedness.
Also, there is a high chance that your baby might sleep even before you head back home, so what is better than that? However, try your best to avoid being active after 4 pm (early evening).
This is important to prevent your child from getting overstimulated as once they are born, they react more to the stimuli around them.
As soon as you hear your baby’s first cry, grab some baby oil, and head straight to your baby’s room. Ideally, take off your baby’s clothes and then start massaging their little body.
Put some pressure on their legs and their shoulder muscles, as it tends to relieve their nerves of stress and halt their crying. The more you keep massaging them, the more they will eventually relax and hopefully drift off to sleep!
As an alternative to massage, you can also lay your baby on their side or their stomach, while holding onto them and watch them calm down a little while doing some tummy time activities. However, never let them sleep like this, and make sure you understand exactly when to start tummy time.
If your baby isn’t of the appropriate age, then you can look for some alternatives to tummy time, as this helps with infant reflux, burping, and belly pain.
Using a carrier is a great way to rock your baby while also performing house chores or working from home. You can pace back and forth, giving your baby the feeling of getting rocked.
If you are tight on schedule and can not wear your baby for some reason, a great alternate option is using a baby walker to give them the freedom to explore things on their own and distract themselves from their crying.
If you have opted to feed your baby with breast milk, you might want to eliminate dairy or gas-inducing vegetables from your diet.
Even if you are using baby formula, you need to be careful with burping your baby as it removes all air bubbles from the baby’s digestive system which might cause them discomfort.
Learn the difference between milk allergy and lactose intolerance and get your colicky babies an appropriate bottle for gassy babies.
Many people will also recommend using gripe water for babies which can be good for relieving colic symptoms, gas pain, and other digestion problems.
When helping your baby get rid of this colicky pain and colicky crying, you need to know how to get rid of baby gas fast. You can do this by burping, massaging, or swaddling your baby, or by using a pacifier and correct diet.
I understand it is hard to be a parent, especially a first-time parent, and it is even harder to see your baby crying uncontrollably in discomfort. But, you can not calm them down unless you have control over your nerves.
If your baby’s cries start getting a little too much for you, take a step back and take a couple of deep breaths. As long as you are panicky, you won’t be able to do any good to your crying child, so keep a check on your emotions and ask for help when it’s needed!
Ask your doctor about the use of probiotics or colic calm and colic relief medicines as they have seemed to help colic babies get calmer. According to a study, crying decreases by 75% after 28 days with the use of a probiotic in colicky babies.
Colic can be just as difficult for the parents as it is for the baby themselves. Try focusing on the fact that soon your baby will grow out of this phase and will be happy and smiling again. A calm and relaxed baby means that you’ll be at more ease than ever before!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment down below. Hope this helps you with your wonderful parenting journey!