So you have brought your bundle of joy home and everything is fantastic. Friends and family have visited, your partner has gone back to work and having your new baby becomes normality then just as you start to get in to a routine Colic strikes. Colic is a really challenging condition to deal with. Whilst harmless enough for your baby, it’s certainly not harmless on your ears or your sanity! If your little one is crying uncontrollably and nothing you do seems to be soothing them, colic is likely to be the culprit.
I have had a colic baby too and it really is terrible, it can take the joy out of parenthood and you often wonder how on earth you will ever make it through another day and the only thing that got me through this difficult period is trying lots of different treatments praying that “this next treatment will be the one that works.” However, after purchasing many treatments, I realized that I should look for an alternative. I ended up trying lots of home remedies and found that they worked best for George, my purse and my marriage.
What is Colic?
A lot of people ask “What is Colic?” The only way I can explain it is that Colic is a term that is used when your baby cries suddenly and excessively and cannot be soothed. Experts have carried out investigations on Colic and unfortunately the cause of Colic in babies still remains a mystery, however they do know that it is not a result of a traumatic childbirth, nor is it lack of parenting skills (believe me, I questioned mine). Colic is not an illness or a diagnosis but it is a combination of different behaviours.
So how can you tell if your little bundle of joy is suffering from colic? Typical colic symptoms in babies include:
Prolonged crying – Uncontrollable crying that lasts at least three hours, at least three days a week isn’t normal. All babies cry, but if it is prolonged and it goes on for three or more days a week, it’s likely to be colic. The crying tends to occur at the same time each day and when they cry it sounds like they are in pain.
There is no apparent reason why they are crying – Babies cry because they need or want something. It could be feeding, they’re craving attention, they’re tired and need a nap or they need to be changed. If all of these things can be ruled out, then colic is likely to be the problem.
They pull their legs up to their tummy while crying – If they arch their back and pull their legs up to their tummy while crying and unfortunately this colicky pain is another symptom of colic.
Overall, it is important to remember about colic is it isn’t an illness. So, the symptoms will largely be linked to their behaviour, rather than physical symptoms. If your baby has any symptoms of illness such as a fever and nausea, it could be an indicator of a different problem. Colic in babies should always be properly diagnosed by a doctor, so regardless of whether they have any symptoms of illness, you should still get them checked over to double check it is actually colic you’re dealing with.
What causes colic?
Experts are currently unsure what causes colic in breastfed babies. There are a few theories on why some babies develop Colic.
The theories are as follows;
- Immature digestive system
- Overstimulated senses
- Individual temperament
- Food Allergies or Sensitivity
- Tobacco Exposure
Immature Digestive System
As your baby’s digestive system is quite new, it can struggle to break down and pass food quickly. This results in an excess gas build-up which can be quite painful, causing your baby a lot of distress.
Another possible explanation for colic is the fact that once they reach one month of age, their senses start to become overstimulated. Initially they are able to successfully tune out the various sounds around them while they feed and sleep. The sheer amount of new sounds they experience can be overwhelming and crying is a way of relieving the stress this causes.
However, the majority of experts agree that when it comes to what causes colic in breastfed babies, it’s more than likely just individual temperament. That is, some babies are more sensitive than others. If you have more than one child, you’ll already know just how different they can be. Your experience with your first baby is more than likely going to be completely different to your experience with your second.
Food Allergies or Sensitivity
Some experts believe Colic is the result of an allergy to milk protein or in rare cases it could be the mothers diet that causes colic in breastfed babies.
Many studies show that mums that smoke during or after pregnancy are more likely to have babies with Colic, second hand smoke can also play a part in colic in babies.
A lot of parents feel that colic is down to a wind build up from each feed over the course of the day then by the evening the baby has too much wind and it makes them uncomfortable.
Is Colic Harmful to Baby?
Colic will not harm your baby, however it is important to ensure that you and your partner support each other during this very testing and frustrating period. It is important to stay as calm as possible and remind yourself and each other that Colic is just a phase and it will pass.
If you feel like Colic is making you feel depressed or unable to cope, it is important to speak out. Confide in friends and family for extra support and speak to your health visitor or GP as soon as you can.
How Long does Colic Last for?
A lot of people ask me “How long does colic last for?” Colic usually starts around 6 weeks, however in my case it was a little earlier and it can last up to around 4 months.