Baby colic, also called infant colic or three month colic, is a condition that is often seen in very young babies, usually only a few weeks old, that are otherwise perfectly healthy. Colic is characterized by almost constant and excruciating crying, usually at the same time every day, and nothing seems to comfort him or her. This can go on for several weeks or months.
As for the causes of colic, they remain relatively unknown. It is believed it has something to do with the baby’s immature digestive tract, allergies, lactose intolerance and maternal anxiety. Other causes are being investigated as well.
This condition is rather distressing for the baby and for the parents too. Fortunately, it does not last forever and once it is gone, colic rarely comes back, and there are also many effective remedies that can help soothe a colicky baby.
Sometimes the colic is caused by gas trapped in the baby’s stomach, and a belly massage can bring significant relief. The massage must be very gentle, and it is best if done with a small bottle of warm water, rolled up and down the belly. It also helps to lay the baby flat on a soft surface, to bend his or her knees towards the stomach and to hold them in that position for 15 to 30 seconds. These remedies help release the trapped gas and make the baby feel at ease.
Placing the baby in a rocking chair or pram or taking him or her for a car ride can help against colic. There are special chairs and cradles on the market that have sensors for baby crying. The minute the baby starts crying the chair or the cradle starts gently rocking and soothes the baby. Still, the best way to calm a colicky baby is to hold him or her in the arms and sway or even slowly dance, while singing a lullaby.
As everyone knows, babies are easily distracted. When they start crying, it sometimes helps to focus their attention on a new object. It may be a toy, but also an unusual thing like a dishwasher or a vacuum cleaner. Babies also react positively on music, so it is recommended to buy a CD with children’s songs. Making funny faces and strange noises also helps.
Colic symptoms are believed to be associated with the mother’s diet as well, as they usually occur in the breastfeeding period. Some foods that mother eats are not suitable for the baby and he or she may react negatively to them. For example, mothers are often advised to cut down on cow milk and dairy products. Doctors sometimes recommend switching to the baby’s formula until the colic goes away, and then go back to breastfeeding. It is also recommended to add dietary fiber to the formula to ease the bowel movement.
Gripe water is the single most popular remedy for colic. This natural remedy is known for calming down colicky babies, but it is important to choose the brand that uses only the completely natural ingredients, like fennel, chamomile, ginger and peppermint. Some brands contain alcohol, which can have adverse effects on the baby.