Understanding Colic in Babies – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Your bundle of joy is in your arms finally. This moment is just the beginning of a long journey that you would travel with your little one.

One of the biggest challenges that you would face with the baby is colic. A colicky baby is difficult to handle, not to mention the emotional trauma parents have to go through.

What is Colic?

This is one of the most common conditions infants face. About one in five of all infants suffer from colic. It causes spates of crying in babies that continue for many hours together for no apparent reason. This is not only distressing for the child but exhausting for the parents. However, there’s nothing to worry seriously because the condition itself is harmless. Colic ends by the time a baby is four months old.

Causes of Colic

The major cause of colic is unknown. According to opinions made by health experts, the condition is related to immature digestive system of an infant. Sometimes, allergies are responsible for the condition. Temperament of an infant also determines its vulnerability to developing colic.

The Symptoms

It is not wise to consider colic as a disease. It is only a pattern of persistent, prolonged crying. Most doctors consider this condition if an infant is healthy and less than four months of age. Here’s how your colicky baby will act:

  • Loud crying lasting three hours or more.
  • Loud crying that continues for three or more days a week.
  • The pattern of crying is spread over a period of three weeks (longer than that).
  • Prolonged crying between specific periods (6 pm and midnight) despite being fed.
  • Baby draws his legs to abdomen and clenches hands while crying. It will also curl toes.
  • The infant’s face flushes alternately and pales as it makes effort of crying.
  • The baby may also pass wind.

When to See a Paediatrician?

It is crucial to seek advice of a podiatrist under the following conditions:

  • The baby seems to be colicky for the first time.
  • Colic is accompanied by other conditions such as diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, or constipation.
  • The baby’s crying sounds painful which are suggestive of illness and injury.
  • The baby is older than four months but still acting colicky.
  • The child doesn’t gain weight.
  • The baby is not hungry.
  • You’re more than exhausted.

Prevention Measures for Colic

It is not possible to prevent colic. However, if you think the distress is associated to feeding, it is wise to reduce frequency of episodes via following the tips mentioned below:

  • Hold the baby upright when feeding. This will prevent swallowing air.
  • Help the baby burp after a feed.
  • Feed smaller amounts more frequently.
  • Avoid too much caffeine in your diet while breast feeding.

Tricks to Soothe the Baby

Try to soothe your baby with motion such as vibration. The best way to do this is to take the baby for a trip out in the car. Noise of water is also quite soothing for the baby.

Treatments for Colic

Unfortunately there is no cure for colic. Although grannies suggest many home remedies that have proved helpful in soothing colicky babies.

Parents need to remain calm. Strictly avoid shaking or punishing a colicky baby.  When you feel that you have reached the breaking point, let the nanny handle the baby or call the doctor. The baby will feel better after sleeping in a quiet room and attention from their parents.

Babies can be easily soothed by motion such as vibration or a steady background noise. There are many commercial products available on the market that can be attached to the baby’s cot for vibration. Some of these products also make the suggested ‘white noise’ to soothe the child.

Many over the counter preparations can reduce wind cramps. But it is advisable to buy these medications under the guidance of a trained paediatrician.


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