Colic is when a healthy newborn or infant cries for no obvious reasons for 3-4 hours in a day. Colic pain in infants or babies lasts for 3-4 months. It is not a disease, but it generally happens with every other newborn. Parents don’t understand why their baby is crying and keep trying different things to calm the baby. Babies who suffer from colic pain are called colicky babies and the pain is called colicky pain. Such infants remain fussy for a prolonged time and it’s very difficult to calm them.
Symptoms or signs of colic in newborns
- A healthy baby cries for 3-4 hours a day, 3 or more days in a week, and for more than 3-4 weeks.
- Crying for no clear reason (e.g hunger or diaper change)
- Their face turns red
- Having tight stomach
- Stiff legs, arms, clenched fists, and arched back.
- Crying daily in the same pattern and at the same time and usually, these episodes start in the evening or night.
Causes of Colic Pain
The exact cause of colic is still unknown. But there are some theories behind this pain which are as follows:
- A digestive system that is being developed.
- Food allergies – infants who are formula-fed may be allergic to any of the ingredients of the formula milk which may cause stomach pain. Those who are breastfed may suffer from this pain due to specific food in their mother’s diet.
- Overfeeding your baby. Sometimes when a baby cries, we feed them just by thinking he might be hungry. But it may lead to overfeeding which in turn causes colic pain. Infrequent burping is another cause of colic.
- Gas or bloating is one of the main causes of colic.
- Some babies can’t calm themselves as their nervous system is still developing. When the baby gets older they can control their nervous system and colic goes away.
- Fear, frustration, or family environment.
Treatment of Colic Pain in Infants or Babies
As there is no specific cause of colic behavior so there is no specific treatment. But there are some steps that can be followed to soothe your baby:
- For the first month feed your newborn after every 2 hours. Make sure the baby is neither hungry nor overfed.
- Burp your baby after every feed to make sure milk is digested easily.
- Make skin-to-skin contact with babies to soothe them.
- Try to change the baby’s position. Lie down the baby on his stomach for 5-10 minutes to relieve any gas. You can also do leg exercises for babies. Move the legs back and forth like a bicycle to help them relieve gas.
- Breastfed mothers can check with a doctor to change anything in their diet.
- For bottle-fed babies use a paced feeding method.
- Swaddle your baby with a muslin cotton cloth.
- Play white noise music on Alexa, phone, or tv.
- You can take them on a car ride. As some babies calm down when they go on a car ride.
- Use swings or vibrating seats to soothe them.
- Give your baby a warm bath or put him in the bathtub for 5 minutes to relax his muscles.
It’s very difficult to calm down the colicky baby. Infants with colic pain can make you tired or even depressed. Both the baby and the parents lose sleep. So you must take a break and take help from other family members or friends. You must take care of yourself also and reduce stress levels as it will help to handle the baby easily.
It’s time to call a doctor
If the baby is crying continuously for a few days then check with the doctor. He can rule out colic pain or any other problem with the baby. He can also prescribe some drugs or medicines to soothe the baby.
In Spite of colic pain, also check other issues with a baby which are as follows, and rush to the doctor as soon as possible:
- Drinking less milk or refusing to take the milk
- Become more irritable when touched.
- Vomiting or fever
- Sleeping more than usual.
Colic is a common condition that occurs in newborns. It goes away on its own. It may take 3 months to 6 months to heal colic pain. Parents shouldn’t take stress as it happens with every other baby in the world. Instead, they should take help from others and most importantly follow the baby’s pediatrician.