This is a word that I swear is given to every baby at some point in their little baby lives, but do we know exactly what it is and how we can help those long crying episodes (the baby not ours I mean, although more on our crying later). I remember those early days when Flossie for the first 3 months of her life continually cried, arching her back, nothing would settle her despite cuddles, love and taking it in shifts to keep her upright and cuddled. This was all before we discovered the cow’s milk protein allergy and I am so thankful we found this cause but for those of you suffering through colic I salute you and thank God it’s not forever.
What is it?
Apart from the most stressful, anxious and frustrating problem the experts define colic as repeated episodes of excessive and inconsolable crying in a baby that is otherwise healthy and thriving.
This can show in irritability, fussing or crying for a total of more than 3 hours a day and occurring on more than 3 days in a week.
Why oh why?
The underlying cause for colic is still unknown (not overly helpful) but there are suggested reasons such as;
- Gastrointestinal causes (reflux and constipation)
- Cows milk protein allergy
- Parenting factors (overstimulating the baby and misinterpreting the cries, I know this is so hard to get, especially first time mummies, babies do not come with a bloody manual! Trust me you find your rhythm).
- Some people have even said it is just their baby’s temperament.
Why and how should we cope?
- Colic can cause significant distress and suffering to parents
- Stress on parents can affect relationships with newborn
- Thankfully colic normally resolves by 3-4 months of age but if it does persist could be associated with other conditions such as constipation, reflux, cows milk allergy etc.
Try and work out a treatable cause such as wind, nappy rash, too hot/cold, hunger/thirst, allergy, reflux or mummy’s diet if breastfeeding (garlic, caffeine cabbage, spicy foods can all upset a baby).
If none of these are the reason why baby is crying then you are most likely right and colic is the reason. Like I said thankfully only lasts 3-4 months but still in those agonising days you try one or two of the following to help ease tension.
- Hold baby through crying (although if you are at the end of your tether please put baby somewhere safe and take a breather)
- Try using a wrap to have baby close to you
- Gentle motion
- White noise – this helped us massively and still does 1 year down line
- Bathing in warm water, both of you or even a nice candle lit bath
At the end…
Please don’t despair if you have tried everything and feel either you or baby are still unhappy about the situation please talk to a medical professional such as your health visitor or GP. There are some medical treatments that can be trialled such as use of OTC simethicone drops or lactase drops.
The materials and information in this blog are in no way intended to replace the professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor or medical professional. This website does not have answers to all problems please if you feel unwell, have medical symptoms or unsure about anything contact the relevant medical practitioner.