Being a new mum is no easy task, especially if your little bub is perpetually cranky and crying all of the time.
If this is the case, you may be told that your baby is "colicky," and you will probably be wondering what that actually means.
Fear not mums, as we are hear to clarify things for you, and talk you through the signs, symptoms and remedies for infantile colic (the bad-boy behind the term "colicky").
What exactly is Colic?
Well, unfortunately there is no straight answer here, but Colic is defined as a situation where any healthy, well-fed infant cries more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks.
Colic is likely to start when your baby is around two-weeks-old, and it almost always goes away on its own by three or four months.
It is important to note that your baby's sex and birth order, and whether you breast- or bottle-feed, does not effect Colic, and if your child will suffer from it or not. Kids who have Colic as babies are no different from those who didn’t, so there is no need to worry about your child's development.
What causes Colic?
Colic's exact cause is unknown, which is why it can be quite difficult to treat effectively. Some theories as to what causes it are as follows:
- A growing digestive system with muscles that spasm
- Bad cases of gas
- Hormones that cause stomach pain or a cranky mood
- Oversensitivity or over-stimulation by light, noise, etc.
- A moody baby
- A still-developing nervous system
It is important to note that there are a number of things that may seem like Colic, but aren't, so if your bub is displaying symptoms, be sure to contact your doctor to rule out the following issues:
- An infection
- Acid reflux or stomach problems
- Pressure or inflammation of the brain and nervous system
- Eye trouble, like a scratch or increased pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Injury to bones, muscles, or fingers
How do you treat Colic?
Based on your baby's needs for Colic, your doctor can help. You'll likely have to try one thing at a time to see what works and what doesn't. If something doesn't seem effective in a few days, move on to another one.
Beware of so-called cures for Colic that claim to work on all children - there is no such thing. However, there are a number of ways you can ease your baby's symptoms:
Help him swallow less air
Try a special bottle designed to reduce gas or a nipple with a smaller hole. Sit them up while they eat so they swallows less air. Remember to burp them during and after feedings.
Soothe with motion and sound
Motion helps calm babies. Walk around with your baby in a baby carrier (the kind you wear over your chest). The combined warmth and rhythm may lull them to sleep.
Many babies respond well to the gentle hum of a machine, such as a clothes dryer, a fan or a hoover.
Calm your baby's senses
Bright lights and sounds can overwhelm a colicky baby. Your baby may calm down if you:
- Lay them on their back in a dark, quiet room
- Swaddle them
- Lay them across your lap and gently rub their back.
- Try infant massage.
- Put a warm water bottle on your baby's belly.
- Have them suck on a pacifier.
- Soak them in a warm bath
What to do if you are stressed?
It is a serious challenge when you have a baby with Colic, so it is important to know that it's normal and common to sometimes feel angry or resentful toward your moody little baba. You are not a bad mum, we promise, so don't ever feel guilty.
If you’re at the end of your tether, it is OK to leave your baby in their crib or play pen for a short time while you leave the room to collect yourself.