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Parenting

Understanding baby colic

Anurima
0 to 1 years

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Understanding baby colic

Neeta and Shashi were proud new parents. They were all geared up to care for their baby Rishi. Neeta fought her sleep to woke up 4 to 5 times at night to feed and change her little bundle and Shashi took a week off to care for his new baby. As exhausting as it was, the happiness of becoming parents made all it all worth it and things were moving along smoothly.

It was a usual evening when Shashi returned from work, changed Rishi and the couple put him to bed. As they were winding up for the day, looking forward to catching up on some sleep before Rishi woke up for his feed, Rishi started to cry. Neeta rushed to him, carried him and started rocking him. He was inconsolable. She tried to nurse him, but in vain. She checked his diaper and it was dry, she tried to burp him but he would not stop crying. Shashi came to her rescue. He tried rocking, singing, burping him but nothing seems to work! They got anxious and were totally lost as to what was making him cry this hard. 

The couple sat with the screaming baby and tried all they could to console him but it was after about 2 hours of non stop crying that Rishi finally gave up. They put him down in his cot and went to bed upset and exhausted. The next evening at around 10 pm, Rishi again started to cry. This completely startled the new parents. They rushed to his side and tried everything they could to make him stop. He again cried for almost two hours and went to sleep. After then fourth evening and unable to comprehend what the matter was, Neeta took Rishi to the paediatrician. The doctor did not seem concerned which made Neeta more confused.

Neeta then came to know about a condition known as Colic. She was made aware that her 3 week old baby could be colicky and this could last until he is 3 months. But what was upsetting her the most was the fact that there was nothing much they could do to help him feel better. That evening on, all they did was sit with baby Rishi and let him cry as long as he wanted to. The couple was not prepared for this little surprise of parenthood.

What is Colic?

Colic, also known as Infantile Colic, is a condition wherein a healthy baby cries or shows symptoms of distress such as moaning and cramping without any particular reason and for prolonged periods. The strict medical definition of colic is a condition of a healthy baby in

which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks. About 40% of all infants have colic. It may make its appearance as early as 3 weeks; peaks around 6 weeks, then gradually decline and come to a stop around 12 to 14 weeks. However, in some babies, it can last up to one year.

What makes my baby to cry so hard?

There are no positive answers to what causes colic in a baby. There have been numerous beliefs that the crying could be related to abdominal pain caused by trapped gas or overfeeding. One popular reason is that a newborn’s digestive system is not well developed and it cannot easily breakdown the proteins in breast milk or formula, causing painful gas. Some experts also believe that bouts of crying could be due to the urge to let off steam for sensitive babies. Since the episodes of crying are usually in the evenings, babies may get over stimulated due the sounds, lights or sensations around them.

How do I console my baby during such episodes?

The most common approach is frequently burping your baby. Frequent burping prevents formation of gas and reduces any discomfort associated with it.

Other methods usually tried by parents are:

1.Swaddling or wrapping your baby tightly avoiding the head. This is known to make the baby comfortable as it reminds them of being in the womb.

2.Using pacifiers or letting them nurse or suck on a clean finger.

3.Playing loud white noise in the background. White noise refers to the sounds created in the womb which is soothing and calming for a baby or any calming sound which is also repetitive. You may find soft toys with white noise players or they may also be downloaded from the internet.

The techniques above may just be a temporary solution as your baby is most likely to resume crying in a few minutes. Holding, cuddling or sitting by your baby while he/she cries it out is the best solution. It is best to avoid giving your baby any medicine.

Are there any Home Remedies that I can try?

 

Colic is not an illness, hence requires no medication. There are a number of medicines available specifically for colic, but what they do is deal with gas. Some parents swear by the medicines, while for some using them made no difference at all.

You may try some of the following home remedies:

1.Asafoetida: A tiny pinch of asafoetida mixed in warm water is known to help release gas. Rubbing asafoetida on your baby’s tummy may also provide relief.

2.Gripe water: Gripe water is an old remedy for gas, acid reflux and hiccups. It is known to be chemical-free and contains homeopathic ingredients which are safe for babies. The dosage and instructions depends on your baby’s age and are mentioned on the label.

3.Massage: You may massage your baby’s tummy in circular motion to help release trapped gas.

4.Rotating baby’s legs: Stretching and folding one leg at a time (as in cycling) also helps let out trapped gas and is fun activity for your baby too.

I am breastfeeding. Can my diet cause my baby to be colic?

A small amount of what nursing mothers eat is known to pass on to the baby through breast milk. Spicy food, nuts, milk products, vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage are among some of the gas forming foods. If a nursing mother’s diet is rich in the above, they may cause gas for the mother, which is also passed on to the baby. If your baby has colic, you could try eliminating rich, spicy foods, milk and milk products from your diet to see if there is any difference in your baby. Foods such as chocolate, caffeine in your diet may also contribute to the discomfort in your baby.

On the other hand, drinking fennel tea, cumin or ajwain water a few times a day is known to be beneficial for nursing moms and the benefits are passed on to the baby too.

My baby is formula fed and is colicky. What should I do?

You may try switching to a new formula and see if it suits your baby. Bottle fed babies take in more air when drinking from the bottle. They need to be burped often to help relieve them of the pressure that builds up as they swallow air. Using anti-colic bottles for your baby may be beneficial.

How will I know if my baby is sick or colicky?

If your baby is crying more than normal and bouts of crying last for hours throughout the day, then there could be another underlying cause.

You will need to watch out for the any of the following signs:

1.Colicky babies are otherwise healthy and should have a good appetite and sucking reflex. If your baby doesn’t eat well or has trouble sucking, you may need to check with the doctor.

2.Babies often spit up after eating. Spitting up indicates little mouthful of milk that the baby spits out. If it looks like that your baby is vomiting- bringing out a large quanitiy of milk or food and is losing weight, you will need to check with the doctor. Frequent vomiting is not a sign of colic.

3.Colicky babies have normal stools. Diarrhoea or blood in the stool is not a sign of colic. Your baby will need to be seen by a doctor in this case too.

The constant crying is stressing me out. How can I cope?

Parents of a colicky baby are very likely to get overwhelmed leading to high stress levels and also post-partum depression. To relieve the stress, you may rely on your spouse, your parents, and reliable friends to occasionally look after your baby so as to unable you to take a short break. You may also discuss the matter with your baby’s doctor or talk to someone on how the crying is affecting you. Sometimes just talking to someone can take away part of the stress.

It is easy to blame yourself and feel helpless in such a situtaion. All parents at some point have trouble comforting their baby. You may take comfort in knowing that your baby is not sick and this phase will pass.

This too shall pass- Solomon

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Comments()
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Vidya Prashant

| Jun 30, 2017

thanks a lot

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Dikshita Koundinnya

| Jun 29, 2017

thanks a ton

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Rasika Tomar

| Jun 15, 2017

very helpful... my baby is in the same condition and i was clueless..... thanks a lot..

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Tracy Miranda

| Dec 01, 2016

very useful thanks for the info

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Shamili Sha

| Nov 30, 2016

really helpful.. tq so much

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Shilpa Pawar

| Nov 30, 2016

really nice and good info very very useful

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Agila Thangavelu

| Nov 30, 2016

thanks very useful article

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Raja Raghavendra

| Nov 30, 2016

very useful info

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Shital

| Nov 30, 2016

thanks ......it's d most helpful information....

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Akshata Naveen

| Nov 30, 2016

thanks a lot... it is very helpful...

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Harshita

| Nov 30, 2016

thanks nice article

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poonam jamgaonkar

| Nov 30, 2016

Thanks a lot... very useful blog

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Jefna

| Aug 24, 2016

my daughter is nw 3 nd half mnth old .at nite usually frm 9 pm to night she will cry if other take her other than me. if i took shr stop crying. i am gvng bth formula nd bm. is that sign of colic?

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nnbharghavi

| Aug 23, 2016

thank u for the valuable information

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Ashi Malhotra

| Aug 08, 2016

thanks great article

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Massarat Sajjad

| Jun 14, 2016

great article. I will definetly try these methods to ease my baby

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Poonam

| Jun 07, 2016

Great and useful article . Thank u

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Priya Sharma

| Jun 07, 2016

thanks v v useful . my 1 mnth old baby every day suffering from colic pains

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Rutvi Sonawala

| Jun 07, 2016

Excellent and very informative. Thanx

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gowri Manohari

| Apr 16, 2016

Thanks alot for this useful information.. yesterday I faced this with my 1 month baby.. He cried from 4 pm til 10 pm.. I worried alot and at last I gave him colicaid... after tat he came to normal.

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Ash

| Feb 26, 2016

I faced this situation with my daughter too.. shez 5 mnths now ...one way we cud sometimes pacify her was to take her for a ride in car and keep patting her back... another best home remedy was to have beetel leaves.. kind of pan every day after my meal.. this takes away all d gas tat d food I ate wud hav produced... And yes.. ajwain , jeera ,hinge in food or in tea form also takes away gas molecules from moms food... good luck !!!

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kawalpreet

| Nov 06, 2015

My daughter was colicky. She would cry from 4 pm to 8 pm daily n nothing pacified her. We were completely helpless. but it all ended naturally by d time she was 4 months old.

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Meera Len

| Nov 05, 2015

Hey everyone.. So my son had terrible colic till he was one.. I used to give him pediacol after his morning feed. And it has helped me a lot. As time passes the colic will subside. Being a new mum it was difficult to see my new born wincing in pain.. So I know exactly how it feels. hope this would help.

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Pallavi Srikanth

| Nov 05, 2015

My daughter is 1 and half years now. She has suffered with this type of colic pain in her first six months, which used to start by 8pm and end up by 8am. The only way she could get calmed up is by taking her on a car drive (in the middle of night) esp on bumpy roads. This helps them release any gas and make them sleep! Parents and care takers need lots of patience to handle such colic babies!

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Lakshmi Goswami

| Nov 04, 2015

Himalayas Bonnisan really works well in this condition what I have observed myself.

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Sushmita Nair

| Nov 04, 2015

Hey everyone.... M a New Mother & writing for the First Time In This Blog. My Baby Girl is 4 & Half Months Old. Both Breast N formula Feed. Since I Have Operated so The doctor Recommended Formula Milk For The Child Till I Was Able To Sit N Feed My Child. That Was only Possible after 4 Days. Now She's On My Milk. But At Times She Starts Crying And Refuse To Take My Milk. As It Requires some Amount Of Hardwork. So At That Time I'm Forced To Feed Her By Formula Milk. This Happens once Or Twice In A Day. But This Creats Gas And Further Lead To Colic Pain. M Using Colicaid. But Satisfying The Child With Medcine Everytime is Not Good N Safe Too. How Can I Change Her Habbit. Plz Suggest.

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Arpita Malick

| Oct 24, 2015

My 2 n half month baby have severe problem of colic. I had tried collicaid n gripe water b its didint work. Finally i switched to himalaya bonnisan drops. N she is improvig day by day!!! :)

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preeti gupta

| Sep 26, 2015

My baby hv colic prblm too. . .m strt giving gripe water after 2 mnths of his birth. . Gripe water z miracle really. . .its works!!!!

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Vandana jha

| Feb 02, 2015

My son who is just 1 & 7 months old, he is also having this problem once in a week. Our Dr recomended colicaids drop & must say its really a useful medicine.

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Archana

| Jun 04, 2014

even my daughter was having severe colic and she used to be so inconsolable.... u can try this home remedy too... light a candle or lamp;take 2 beetel leaves and apply pure castor oil(very pure ones which you will get in medical shops) and hold above the lamp flame for 2 secs. it will get warm. then you place the leaf on baby's tummy... in the meantime,place the other leaf coated with castor oil. when this one cools off, repeat the process with the other beetel leaf.... continue this for 5-6 times till the leaf becomes slightly withered.... after sometime,u can continue with a fresh pair of leaves... this is supposed to give good effects and it worked on my baby... basically u need to explore and find out what works for your baby.... even making the baby lie on her tummy on your lap might be a good thing to do....

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Anurima

| Aug 27, 2013

Thank you Shikha and Bhavna. I surely hope this blog will provide the much needed help and information to those parents who are currently dealing with colicky babies. It is a difficult phase for any new parent and for the baby too!

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Bhavna

| Aug 17, 2013

hey anurima!! thanks for the detailed info , it will definitely be useful for all the new parents, i just wish i had this blog to refer to when my baby was small... it was a tough time for all three of us in the family...

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Shikha Batra

| Aug 16, 2013

Hi Anurima! Very useful information especially for new parents. I have recently been through this phase so can relate to it quite well. Though I was lucky to have my mother with me during this phase who guided me all through and used to give me ajwain water ( a bowl of water which was reduced to half after boiling with ajwain in it and pinch of salt) every night. When my daughter became 4 months old I started giving gripe water which helped a lot. But still can't forget those sleepless nights when she used to inconsolable cry.

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