Colic in Infants: Tips and Tricks

It’s aâÂ?¦non-stop crying, yelling, and screaming bundle of joy! What is wrong with this newborn? This crying seems almost extreme! Newborns are supposed to cry, but for more than three hours a day, almost everyday? Something has got to be wrong!

Does this scenario sound familiar? Does your newborn cry more than three hours a day? Does this constant crying occur at least three days a week, maybe more? If so, your infant may be one of the 20% of infants with something called colic. Colic is defined as the uncontrollable, extended crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Colic generally starts around two weeks of age and can last up to three months, sometimes longer.

There is no known cause for colic, and no one is to blame. Many believe that colic is related to painful abdominal gas. Colic could also be caused by a baby being highly sensitive to the environment, couple this with an immature nervous system and you have a baby who can’t regulate his or her self once they start crying.

Babies with colic often cry continuously for extended periods of time, with the brunt of it occurring in the evening. Many babies with colic appear to be uncomfortable, drawing up his or her legs to their stomach. Babies with colic may become red-faced and refuse to eat, have problems falling asleep, and have problems staying asleep. While there are no treatments for colic, there are things that a parent or caregiver can do to help comfort the colicky infant.

-If you formula feed, discuss with your pediatrician or physician about switching formulas.
-If you breastfeed, continue breastfeeding but try cutting out certain foods from your diet. Some examples: caffeine, alcohol, leafy vegetables, certain fruits and beans.
-Carry your baby in an infant sling or front carrier. Colicky babies often like the tummy-to-tummy closeness with a parent
-Swaddling the baby tightly
-Use a baby swing, or infant rocker that has continuous motion. This motion is often soothing.
-Use a white noise machine when sleeping (fan, heartbeat sounds, etc.)
-Run a vacuum near the infant. Colicky babies are often calmed by this type of sound.
-Give the baby a pacifier to suck on. Sucking is soothing to an infant.
-Try giving your infant an infant massage.
-Start your child on a predictable routine for bedtime, such as bath, bottle (or nursing), and then bed.
-Give the infants gas drops or gripe water. These can help relieve abdominal pain that may be caused by gas. Please check with your doctor before giving your infant any type of medicine.

Having an infant with colic can be extremely stressful to a parent or a caregiver. It is important for the caregiver of colicky infants to take time for themselves. Ask a loved one to watch your infant while you take some time to relax. This can help a stressed out parent from losing patience with the colicky baby.

Colic can be very unpleasant for parents but there are things that can be done to help calm your fussy infant. You just have to try and see what may or may not work for your baby. My colicky son was soothed and calmed by his infant swing and gripe water. A white noise machine and a change in formula may calm another infant. It all depends on your baby. And remember if nothing seems to calm your infant, please see your doctor!

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