So, your newborn is often irritated and has predictable long episodes of crying sessions? Yes, in this case he’s most likely going through the colic phase of his very early life. However, don’t despair! You must be a first-time parent, that instead of the much expected wonderful moments together with your latest family addition, find yourself in a tricky and frustrating situation, caused by your infant’s digestive problems. You wish to comfort your baby, but nothing seems to help and the ongoing crying is affecting your entire family mood.
To brighten your spirit, you should know that colic comes and goes. It’s temporary and last as long as a few months. Most of all, babies suffering from colic will develop normally and aren’t different from newborns, which skip this digestive problem. Also, you don’t have to feel guilty because it’s not your fault that your child is going through this depressing stage. Learn how to organize yourself and don’t allow colic to turn your life upside down!
Baby Colic Causes
Many specialist don’t even consider colic a health problem. They see it as something that babies ‘do’ in this specific stage of their development. This is why there is no clear answer when it comes to colic causes. However, there are some theories that consider colic a reaction of the baby’s intestines, that need time to adjust to the constantly growing processing of milk. Other justify these cramps by blaming the bowels, which could accumulate air because of slow movement. This lead to organ expansion and pain. Several voices from the medical field also explain that colic can be caused by eating too much, too fast or because the baby swallows air during feeding and doesn’t burp. However, this last claim tends to be linked more with spitting out and not with colic.
Newborn Colic Symptoms
The usual time frame when your baby can start experiencing colic is towards the completion of hist 1st month of life. The problem can last for up to three months, but you could be lucky and your newborn will outgrow it quicker.
If your little one cries very loud, and these ‘sessions’ become predictable, I mean that they occur at about the same time each day, usually during the afternoon and evening, you should blame it on colic. Usually the crying periods are two or three hours long and the baby can’t be comforted at all. Another sign of these stomach cramps are the newborn’s clenched fists and a his habit of pulling his feet up under his body, as if his tummy is pressurized and he wants to loosen it.
Tips To Handle Baby Colic
Even if all signs point to the colic problem, do contact your pediatrician and ask him for an opinion. Only when you are sure that you are dealing with stomach cramps you can start applying some of the tips listed here, to try to relieve your colicky baby. Be aware that not all tips are efficient. Each baby is reacting differently to colic. If something worked for your friends it doesn’t mean that it has to work in your case too. Alternate tips until you see what’s best for your own child.
1. Rock your baby: back and forth in a rhythmic way and you’ll have good chances of distracting him from the pain. If you’re lucky he might even fall asleep. If he does, continue the rocking motion or you risk that he wakes up as soon as you stop. You can sway your newborn on your lap, in a cradle or using a rocking chair.
2. Tummy massage: could ease stomach cramps by encouraging your newborn to release the gas from his stomach. Gently massage your babies’s stomach in a circular motion, starting from left to right.
3. Karaoke sessions: might comfort your little angel. You can try to sing a few cradle songs or use classical music to relax your baby. In some cases strange but continuous noises like vacuum cleaner, radio static and anything similar will also help.
4. Feeding habits: are important too. If your baby eats to fast you might want to slower the process. If old enough, you can try holding your baby upright while eating. If your nourishing him with formula milk, try a different product and see if it helps.
5. Extended burping: it can happen that your baby takes in more air while eating as anticipated. Prolong burping sessions after eating.
6. Mother’s diet: it seems that mother’s milk can favor colic if she eats certain foods that cause gas. They should avoid gas inducing fruits like: oranges, apples and plums. Vegetables onion and cabbage should be also left out of a breastfeeding mother’s diet. Foods that contain caffeine (coffee, tea, dark chocolate) are also not recommended. Nor are spicy ingredients or herbal supplements.
7. Car ride: you’ll be surprised that many parents comfort their colicky babies with car rides. The continuous engine sound as well as the motion of the car can distract your newborn from his intestinal problems. Remember though that tricks don’t work for everyone. Alternate until you find something that does the trick and stick to it!