Every baby cries. But if your little one is fussy for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week, for three weeks or more, then he or she might be affected by colic. Along with crying, other distressful signs include lifting up their head, getting red in the face and drawing their legs up to their stomach. Nevertheless, babies with colic continue to eat and gain weight despite all the discomfort. Fortunately, it is self-limited, resolving for approximately half of the patients by three months of age.
In the first three months of life, babies have a hard time calming themselves. It is a skill they develop slowly over time and at different rates. Their nervous systems are immature, so it is easy for them to get overloaded with multiple interactions, activities and visitors. In addition, infants are just learning to process food with their new digestive system, resulting in colic pain and discomfort with some dietary factors. Although there are several possible causes of colic, there is not a single consistent one. Remember, colic is a diagnosis made when there are no other symptoms to suggest another cause. If your baby is not eating or gaining weight, and has a fever and excessive sleepiness, it is important to seek medical attention. In addition, report any new symptoms beyond crying.
If you suspect your baby has colic, there are calming tactics you can try, such as rocking, swaddling and massaging. Music of all kinds can also break the crying cycle. Using a pacifier or your finger may soothe your little one. While breast-feeding is best, it does not stop colic. If you are breast-feeding, you could try avoiding the consumption of dairy products, chocolate, soy, wheat, eggs and nuts. Another dietary change that can be helpful to some babies is switching to a hypoallergenic formula containing whey or casein hydrolysate.
Oral effective treatment choices to be discussed in conjunction with your doctor include:
- Probiotics, which have a role in immune balance and digestive health.
- Colic Calm, a homeopathic remedy containing herbs such as chamomile, fennel and lemon balm.
- Sugar water might help, but only for a short period of time.
Other therapies to consider are aromatherapy using lavender oil, chiropractic spinal manipulation therapy and cranial osteopathy.
Remember that babies usually cry for a reason, so for most it is natural and normal. However, if your baby is colicky it can wear you down as a parent or caregiver. As a result, make sure you give yourself a break. Leave the baby with a capable, responsible adult when you need to get away from the crying. You should also seek help if the excessive fussing causes you or others in the family extreme frustration and anger.