Colic in babies is defined as a condition in which otherwise healthy baby cries incessantly for more than three hours, for more than three days a week, for more than three weeks without any known reason.
Baby cries at the same time every day usually at early evening. The condition appears in first month and disappears by third or fourth month. Sometimes it can last for one year.
What Causes Colic In Babies?
Exact cause is not known but various theories have been put forward.
- Colic is a sign of abdominal pain caused due to spasm or cramps in stomach or intestine.
- Eating habits of nursing mother may play significant role in baby colic.
- One study shows that babies who are breastfed are more likely to develop baby colic. This is due to stress hormones that are excreted in breast milk cause intestinal cramps. Infants suffering from colic have elevated level of cortisol which shows that babies are stressed.
- Baby whose mother has suffered from prenatal anxiety or prenatal depression are more likely to suffer from baby colic.
- Babies who stay away from mother or those who have less physical contact with mother may cry for long time.
- Immature digestive system, lactose intolerance, allergies can contribute to baby colic.
- Babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy and after delivery are more prone to develop baby colic.
Colic In Babies Symptoms
Some of the common symptoms of colic in babies include:
- Baby is usually well fed and healthy. Crying starts suddenly.
- Baby will cry in high pitch. It is difficult to comfort the baby.
- Baby usually cries at the same time every day. Generally crying starts at 6 pm to 7 pm in the evening. Crying may last from few minutes to three hours.
- Colic starts during the first month of life and usually subsides completely by third or fourth month.
Consult your doctor if there are any changes in baby’s eating or sleeping pattern. Abdominal pain in baby is indicated by baby’s posture while crying. Baby may have tense abdominal muscles, clenched fists and legs will be drawn towards abdomen. Cry will become intense during spasm. Face of baby will become red.
How To Get Rid Of Colic In Babies?
- Feed your baby at regular intervals. Hold the baby in upright position after feeding and gently keep patting on back so that baby can burp easily.
- Give baby pacifier as it may help to calm down the baby.
- Hold your baby with love and try to give comfort by gentle rocking movements.
- Sing lullaby as it may have soothing effect on baby.
- Give soft massage to the abdomen of baby.
- Place warm towel on baby’s tummy. You can also cover hot water bag with towel and then keep it on baby’s tummy intermittently to give hot fomentation. Check the temperature of hot water bag before keeping it on baby’s tummy.
- Nursing mothers should avoid milk products, onion, caffeine, cabbage, beans and other gas producing food items.
- Do not overfeed your baby.
- If necessary, medication may be given to relieve gas after consulting your doctor.
- Parent may take help of their friends or grandparents to calm the baby so that parents themselves do not feel stressed.