Becoming a parent can be both, a miraculous experience as well as a draining and meticulous one. No onehas a full-proof manual to deal with the challenges that one may face as a parent.That being said, studies, medical professionals, advancement in science, and of course the internet have made things invariably easier!
After bringing your baby homeinitially, all your attention is driven to meeting any of his basic needs.One gets completely occupied in understanding the requirements for a child on a daily basis. Of the initial few challenges that the parents face, one is when you come across your baby wailing for the first time.At such a time your mind tries to rule out every possible discomfort to calm him down. But sometimes no matter what you do, your baby still seems to be in some sort of discomfort, causing them to cry for longer durations and at a louder audible tone. This very form of crying is known as “Colic”.
How can I differentiate between colic crying and regular crying?
While the symptoms seem similar, you can notice a pattern in colic babies. They usually cry at around the same time every day and have no cause for discomfort. Let us see some signs that can help you understand the difference better:
- If the baby’s diaper is wet which needs to be changed then your newborn might cry to communicate his discomfort with you by crying. This is regular crying, wherein, just by changing the diaper, your baby relaxes and stops crying.
- Sometimes, not changing the diaper in time can cause rashes and skin infections which are a more deep-rooted cause for babies to cry. Therefore, you must ensure that you help your baby stay safe and hygienic.
- If your baby is well-fed, healthy and has no underlying diseases or discomfort and still cries for long hours(usually three or more hours in a day) every other day, then it is a sign of a colicky baby.
- If feeding, relaxing, or playing with your baby helps them calm down and reduces or stops their cry, then it is not colic crying. Colic crying is usually rare, and only 1 out of every five babies get it.
- If your baby is crying at a higher pitch than usual, accompanied by clenched fists and frantically moving arms and legs, then it is more likely that you have a colic baby.
- If any attempts at consoling your baby result in little or no improvement, then your baby could be crying due to colic.
How to ease regular baby crying?
Your baby can cry for various reasons, which can usually be solved. A few common problems for regular cries include:
- Wet diaper
- Gas/constipation that can cause stomach pain
- Unfamiliar people or surroundings
- Any sort of internal or external body ache.
The above problems can be eased by feeding your baby when he is hungry, trying to massage, or by inducing a relaxing feeling that can help him with mood swings and crankiness. Changing the diaper in time can help avoid rashes and getting a thorough check-up for allergies can help you avoid exposing your baby to allergic reactions.
What are the reasons for colic crying?
There is no found evidence on what causes colic in babies.Since newborns don’t yet know how to speak; crying is one form of communication that they use to express their discomfort. Sometimes, parents, as well as medical professionals, are unable to point out the exactcause. Since colic is not something that stays with the baby throughout, it has not been given significant attention. A colic baby could start with episodes of colic crying from anywhere around 2-3 weeks of age and can continue up to a good 6-10 weeks before it slowly reduces and wears out. Certain studies suggest that colic crying can be a result of stomach ache caused by an immature digestive system, which usually goes unnoticed by medical professionals. Until some babies turn 1 year, their lower esophageal sphincter can be underdeveloped, causing them to have acid reflux which can cause invariable discomfort and irritability while eating. Extremely sensitive allergies like allergy to breastmilk or a highly sensitive stomach can also count as possible reasons why your newborn is colic. Amongst other debatable reasons are, smoking mothers, secondary smoking/passive smoking, and overly heightened senses.
What are the remedies for Colic crying?
- If you notice that your baby is overly sensitive to stimuli or gets overwhelmed easily then, you should try inducing relaxing stimuli in him. Such stimuli includegiving him a massage, swaddling, patting/belly rubs, playing baby music/ white noise, taking them for a car ride, rocking them, or offering a pacifier. These are all the methods that may or may not work for you but have resulted in considerable relief for colic babies.
- In earlier times, gripe water(solution made of herbs to ease digestion) used to be given to babies for colic crying induced by stomach pains; however, it is not advisable since it used to contain a considerable amount of sugar and alcohol.
- Most colic symptoms arise from gastric discomfort; you can try burping, rubbing, or applying pressure to the newborn’s abdomen; you can also try giving probiotics to foster a healthy digestive system.
- Some particular foods can make babies feel gassier and more bloated; you can consult your medical health care professional and talk to them about anti-gas drops or a different formula feed for your baby which may be less sensitive to their stomach.
- Overfeeding or eating too fast is also a possible cause of colic; the average time taken to feed your baby should be 20 minutes. Ensure that your baby eats at an average speed to avoid inflammation of the bowels or gas formation.
What can I do for myself if I am a parent of a colic baby?
It can get emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing to take care of colic babies. while the condition wears off after 10-12 weeks, it can still be upsetting to witness long hours of your baby wailing with no possible immediate relief. It is essential to relieve yourself of the stress every once in a while, to stay emotionally stable and balanced.
Avoid doing everything by yourself. It can get overwhelming for a single parent to withstand colic crying for hours and hours.Get help from your partner/friend/family member/relative to share time taking care of the baby during colic hours.
The immensely pitched wailing and shrieking can impact your eardrums and induce sinus or migraine. Try canceling out the noise with earphones by listening to relaxing music for at least 10-15 mins along with taking a break and stepping out while someone is watching over the baby. At times you might feel depressed or suffocated despite doing the abovein such cases, don’t hesitate to get the help you need by consulting a therapist to ease your stress.
Consult a medical professional for your baby if,
- Colic crying persists beyond 12 weeks
- If the symptoms indicate underlying disease or a severe health condition
More importantly, don’t forget to take a step back whenever you have to, so that you can be the best version of yourself to take care of your baby!
This is general information issued in public interest. Please contact your doctor for more details.