Child health, Infancy, Parenting

Handling a Colicy Baby


As a parent you might have definitely experienced a situation where your baby starts crying all of a sudden giving you sleepless nights. No matter what you do, nothing seems to comfort your baby and you have no clue what could have gone wrong.

Colic in babies is something every mother is familiar with especially if it is her firstborn; but what to do if your baby suffers from one and how to tackle the urgent situation with ease is what this post is all about.

20 % of infants experience colic especially during the first 6 weeks of life until 3 to 4 months of age. Infantile colic mostly occurs during late afternoons or evenings and lasts all night worrying the entire family. It is very heart rending to see the mother struggling to soothe and comfort her little darling, but nothing seems to work at all. Dealing with colic can put a lot of pressure on parents driving them to guilt, worry and can also create disputes until the baby feels better. Infants usually express themselves to the environment through crying. Their cry could mean many things like hunger cry, a wet diaper, nappy rash, or potty time. So how to know that it’s colic and not the usual?

How do I know if my baby has infantile colic?

Infantile colic is sudden outbursts of excessive crying in a previously healthy infant for more than 3 hours a day, lasting for 3 days a week, up to 3 weeks and not relieved by routine measures. When a baby has colic, you observe them getting irritable and fussy, not accepting feeds, face appearing flushed and may pass a lot of gas or wind while pooping. You may also notice occasional clenching of fists and drawing of knees during crying episodes. Baby cries incessantly which is high pitched and louder than the usual hunger cry.

The most important feature to differentiate colic cry from a regular hunger cry is that when u sit to feed the baby; a hungry infant will immediately stop crying and accept the feeds which will not be the case with the one having colicy pain. Nothing relieves the poor infant screaming in pain whatsoever; even after the mother has exhausted her efforts to offer comfort. This immediately calls for medical attention and requires to be intervened.  

How do I deal with a colic situation?

A crying infant can make anyone’s heart weep including that of a caring parent and family.

  • First and foremost, DO NOT PANIC or get ANXIOUS in such a scenario. Anxiety and worry that your little darling is in pain is normal for every mother but can also prevent you from deciding further. Do not let the situation put you under pressure or frustration.
  • Stay calm and focused. Think about the possibilities and act carefully.
  • Try feeding your baby and check if its hunger call; if not then don’t force feed your baby.
  • During breast feeding, position your baby properly with good support and always burp your baby after every feed. Swallowing air during feeds is known to cause colic in infants.
  • Check your baby for any other signs – wet diaper, any foreign objects in ear or nose, diaper rash etc. which can also precipitate a cry.
  • Try rocking your baby back and forth, patting and soothing with light music. Some babies are known to find comfort when they are rocked and held with music in background.
  • Monitor your baby’s urine and stool pattern, activity, feeding frequency etc.
  • If complaints persist, rush to your doctor to get medical help at once.

 How can I prevent my baby from getting colic?

Colic in infants is usually a mild self-limiting condition which subsides on its own and rarely serious. Then why worry so much about colic? What can it do to your child in the long run? Certain research studies state that babies with infantile colic are more likely to develop allergies and atopy in later life. Children with colic during their earlier months have trouble eating and grow up as fussy eaters with behavioral problems as well. However these theories have no conclusive proof and are still unproven. Faulty dietary patterns in mothers including unhealthy habits like smoking during pregnancy and post-partum depression have all been linked to infantile colic in babies.

Care for your little ones begins right during pregnancy and continues to mother hood.Breast feeding mothers should monitor what they eat and modify their diet accordingly as this is known to have an effect on baby’s health. Taking adequate care of yourself while you are pregnant, having a positive mindset and switching to healthier practices can prevent your infant from falling sick due to colic and many other illnesses.

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