Continuous crying could mean your baby is suffering from colic. Here’s what to look out for.
When you’re a parent, nothing is more distressing than hearing your baby continuously cry. However, it’s essential to remember that crying is your baby’s main form of communication. Excessive cries could be a way of letting you know they’re suffering from colic. Although it can be worrying, colic is in fact common.
Colic is a condition that can cause much discomfort for babies and stress for the parents who can be at a loss for how to remedy it. In reality it encompasses different signs and symptoms but it can be easily treatable. Symptoms of colic, if related to temporary lactose intolerance, which can happen as your baby’s digestive system develops, can be easily treated.
What is Colic?
Colic is a condition that can cause much discomfort for babies and stress for the parents who can be at a loss for how to remedy it. In reality it encompasses different signs and symptoms but it can be easily treatable.
How to Tell if Your Baby is Suffering From Colic?
There isn’t a test as such to diagnose colic, but rather a collection of symptoms and signs.
Alongside the excessive crying, you might notice the following if your baby is suffering from colic:
- Drawing their knees up to their chest
- Arching their back
- Clenching fists
Additionally, your baby may be more windy – and therefor have a distended stomach and seem in physical pain. This can be due to your baby’s digestive system or overloading its nervous system.
Its always worth taking your baby to the GP to rule out other problems such as allergies, other digestive issues or reflux.
When is it Most Common? How Long Does it Last?
Colic often kicks in at around two to three weeks old, and you are usually in the clear by 12 – 14 weeks.
Top Tips for Dealing With Colic
While your GP may be able to prescribe some colic relieving medication, there are a number of things you can try to help ease the symptoms
1. Although it is extremely distressing, the most important thing to remember if your baby is affected by colic is to remain calm.
2. Introduce a soothing routine around the time of the day when your baby’s colic is usually at its worst. You’ll find that this will typically be in the evenings.
3. Keep a log of the times when your baby’s colic is at its worst – you may be able to find a pattern associated with any triggers, allowing you to understand better how to ease these symptoms.
Dr Tim Wickham, consultant paediatrician at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children also suggests the following:
A large proportion of babies with colic actually have a problem with the cow’s milk protein they are consuming. The protein is present in all standard baby formulas because most are based on cow’s milk, but it also can be present in breast milk if the mother has dairy in her diet.
The intolerance to this cow’s milk protein can cause gastro-oesophageal reflux which, in turn, plays a part in producing the symptoms that colic brings on.
Treatments address either the cow’s milk protein intolerance directly or the gastro-oesophageal reflux.
Try the following to help your baby’s colic symptoms:
• Try simple over-the-counter remedies, such as Infacol or gripe water.
• If breastfeeding, the mother can try a dairy-free diet for a few weeks.
• If baby is on formula, try a course of probiotics. There are baby preparations available without prescription.
• Try an anti-reflux medication prescribed by a doctor.
• Change baby formula to one that does not have the cow’s milk protein. These are available on prescription.
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