For new parents, hearing the term “colic” can bring about feelings of anxiety and dread. Don’t worry! Remember that all newborns cry, and this is how they communicate their needs and wants. Crying doesn’t automatically mean your baby has colic. A baby’s cry can mean they are hungry, sleepy, or need cuddling. Newborns can cry for up to two hours a day.
If you meet your baby’s needs, the crying should stop, at least in the meantime. For example, when you feed your baby, change their diaper, or rock them, your baby should be soothed and stop crying. If your baby is crying more than two hours a day and continues to cry even after you’ve tried to satisfy their needs, your baby might have colic.
Signs of Colic:
- Consistent crying even when you’ve met their needs, as mentioned above
- Crying for three or more hours a day, three or more days in a week
- Crying at the same time every day, usually in the late afternoon or evening
- Bloated belly
- Clenched fists while crying or curling up their legs towards their belly
If your baby shows the signs above, colic might be a possibility. Unfortunately, doctors and medical professionals don’t know what causes colic. It goes away on its own usually by the time your baby is three months and, in almost all cases, when the baby is six months old. Having a colicky baby can be very stressful and tiring for parents.
How Can You Help Your Baby?
Although there is no cure for colic, there are things you can do to help manage your baby’s colic symptoms. These can help your baby become more comfortable and make the first weeks of parenthood a little easier.
Watch your diet
Certain foods affect your breastmilk, upset your baby’s digestive system, and make your baby colicky. Common foods a breastfeeding mom should avoid are milk, eggs, nuts, and wheat.
Consult your doctor about switching formula
If you’re using formula, consult your doctor about switching to a non-milk formula. Your baby might have a milk-protein based allergy that adds to their discomfort.
Give your baby a full feed
Try to properly space your feeds and give full feeds at a time. Although many moms feed on demand, trying to space feedings throughout the day can help manage colic. For newborns, try to feed them every three hours. Feeding them too much might be causing pain and discomfort.
Massage your baby
Try to release trapped gas in your baby. Put your baby’s tummy down on your legs and gently rub their back. This will put pressure on their belly and help them get gas out.
While there is no sure cure for colic, these tips might help soothe and calm your baby. Having a colicky baby can be difficult and stressful for the entire family. Do what works best for you and your baby. Try to remember that this is a common condition and will soon pass on its own. If none of the options above are helping, contact your pediatrician or a sleep consultant for extra support.