Colic is still an unexplained condition in infants which is often connected to excess gas and indigestion. It can be hard for some parents to console their babies who are suffering from it so here are some useful tips about what to do when your child has colic.
What is colic
Most parents may not know what colic is or what causes it but it is an actual condition that happens when infants feel a certain discomfort that causes to him/her cry for long periods of time. It is usually common during the first trimester of newborns and is said to significantly lessen after those first months.
It is common for infants to cry when they are hungry or whenever they need a change of diapers. If they still seem to be fussy for no reason at all, then you should try to observe for more symptoms of colic like:
- Intense crying that usually lasts for three or more hours a day
- Sudden bursts of crying even if there are no obvious causes
- Predictable timing of crying—most especially at night
- Bodily tension, particularly in the abdomen
Infants may experience the peak symptoms of colic during their first six weeks. It is still unknown what the direct cause of colic is but researchers are exploring possible factors like:
- Feeding – either your child is underfed or overfed
- Underdeveloped systems – particularly the digestive system
- Stress/anxiety – early form of migraine
- Food allergies – lactose intolerance, indigestion, etc.
Tips to avoid colic in infants
The NHS recommends holding the baby upright while feeding to prevent it from swallowing air. You should always remember to let your baby burp as you gently hold him/her over your shoulder after feeding. Other tips include:
- Giving your baby a warm bath
- Massaging your baby’s stomach
Babies should get some form of relief after they pass some gas since crying for long periods of time may leave them feeling bloated. Bowels movements may also be beneficial for an infant who is suffering from colic. Ask your doctor about medications (like simeticone) which may help alleviate the symptoms of colic.
When to take your child to the doctor
Although colic generally goes away as your baby grows older, you should also watch out for warning signs which may indicate that your baby needs to see his/her doctor immediately:
- Bulging of the fontanelle (soft spot on the baby’s head)
- Continuous crying to the point of turning blue/very red
- Sudden fever of 38C or above (infants aged < 3 months) or 39C or above (infants aged 3-6 months)
- Vomiting green fluids
- Blood in stools
- If your child is not eating like usual
Reminders for parents
Do not be discouraged if your child does not immediately respond to your initial efforts of consoling them. Be patient in comforting your child and always seek help from trusted friends and relatives when you feel any form of frustration. Colic is quite common in infants and can be frustrating for first-time parents who may not fully know how to deal with the situation. Your child greatly depends on your wellbeing so if you feel the need to rest then do so.
Other complications linked to colic are increased risk of postpartum depression and early cessation of breastfeeding.
General disclaimer: The medications listed above can be purchased without a prescription but you should always consult your child’s doctor before letting them take any form of medication, including vitamins. Stop taking any kind of medicine should an allergic/adverse reaction happen. Always update your healthcare professional on all the medications that your child is currently taking/taken in the past so he/she can properly prescribe the right kind of medicine for him/her.