Colic is a word that strikes fear into the hearts of new parents, and for good reason. It’s an extremely uncomfortable condition for babies. Colic in babies is quite common. According to the Academy of Paediatrics, about 20% of all babies experience colic at some point in their first few months of life. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your baby’s chances of developing colic. If you know what to watch out for, it’s also much easier to catch before it becomes chronic – rather than after months or years of suffering with it. Let’s take a look at what triggers colic and how you can prevent it from occurring in the first place:
What is Colic?
Colic is a term used to describe excessive crying in babies. It can be so intense that it interferes with the baby’s ability to eat, sleep, and gain weight.
Colic is a broad term, encompassing a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, excessive and infrequent bowel movements, and excessive arching of the back.
It’s a very common occurrence for babies, particularly in the first three months of life.
Although it’s normal for babies to cry, excessive crying lasting for long periods is a sign that there may be something wrong.
Colic is different from infant reflux, which is when a baby’s stomach contents flow back up into the oesophagus. While they’re related, they’re not the same thing. Infant reflux is caused by a mechanical problem, while colic is thought to be psychological.
Signs and Symptoms of Colic in Babies
If you think your baby might be suffering from colic, there are a few things you can look for;
Colicky babies will often cry in short bursts, interspersed with periods of silence. This is much different from the regular pattern of crying that comes with a hungry or sleepy baby.
Colic is a very uncomfortable feeling for your baby.
In addition to the pain that comes with it, they will also be very fussy, and irritable, and, the babies clench their fists and curl their legs when crying as a sign of colic.
They might also have trouble sleeping, with many babies experiencing an increase in night-time waking. Colic usually begins around the third week of a baby’s life, with most babies experiencing it for around three to five weeks. While the condition usually fades with time, some babies will experience colic throughout the first several months of life.
What Causes Colic in Babies?
If we don’t know what causes colic in babies, it’s tough to prevent it! However, there are a few common causes of colic in babies that we know about. If you know what to look for, you can take steps to avoid these triggers from affecting your baby. Colic is a condition that is thought to be rooted in psychology, meaning that it’s likely to be triggered by your baby’s environment and surroundings. That being said, there are a few physical factors that are known to trigger colic as well.
- Uncomfortable Sleeping Conditions – If your baby’s sleeping conditions aren’t the best, it’s likely to contribute to the occurrence of colic. Poor sleeping posture, an unhygienic sleeping surface, or a sleeping environment that is too warm can all lead to colic. If your baby is colicky, it’s a good idea to take a look at their sleeping situation to see if there’s anything that can be improved.
- Inadequate Nutrition – Babies who don’t get the proper amount of nutrition are more likely to experience colic. If your baby struggles with feeding, it’s possible that they aren’t receiving enough calories. Additionally, if your baby is experiencing digestive issues that prevent them from absorbing the nutrients they need, colic is more likely to occur.
- Excessive Gas – If your baby is experiencing excessive amounts of gas in their gut, it’s likely to cause some discomfort. Unfortunately, excessive gas is common in babies due to their immature digestive systems.
- Sensitivity to breast milk or formula. You can try and feed them with one and monitor the reactions.
- Overfeeding or even underfeeding. You can get a guide to the right feeding amounts from your paediatrician or an experienced parent.
- A digestive system that isn’t fully developed
- Imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
- Food allergies or intolerances
- An early form of childhood migraine
- Family stress or anxiety
Tips to Help Prevent Colic in Babies
If you want to avoid your baby from experiencing colic, it’s important to take steps to avoid the triggers listed above. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood that your baby will develop colic.
- Feed your Baby Regularly – Babies who are fed on a regular schedule are less likely to experience colic. This is because feeding on a schedule helps to regulate your baby’s digestive system. Babies who are fed on a regular schedule also tend to gain weight faster and more reliably than babies who are fed on demand.
- Keep your Baby Hydrated – Well-hydrated Babies are less likely to experience colic. Keeping your baby hydrated throughout the day is important at all times, but particularly important when they are going through a colicky phase.
- Avoid Unnecessary Stimulation – It’s important to make sure that your baby is in a calm and quiet environment during the colicky phase. While parents need to spend time with their babies, it’s a good idea to avoid loud music, television, and other forms of stimulation that might trigger colic in your baby.
- If you’re breastfeeding, ask your doctor whether the medications you take or the food you eat might cause irritation or an allergic reaction in your child.
- Change their body position. Have them sit up or lie down. Hold them while you walk around. Rock them or massage their back.
- Use a pacifier.
- Swaddle your baby.
- Hold them with their bare skin against your own.
Colic in babies is a very uncomfortable condition for both the babies and their parents. Although it’s normal for babies to cry, if your baby’s crying is excessive and accompanied by other symptoms, they are likely experiencing colic. If your baby is experiencing colic, it’s important to take steps to minimize their discomfort. For more information about colic in babies, you can contact us at [email protected]. Additionally, you can shop for anti-colic feeding bottles at Zawadi Baby Shop.