What is Colic?
It is a situation wherein, the baby cries constantly and resists all the efforts the parents make to soothe him. When the healthy baby cries for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks, it can be colic. It generally starts when the baby is around three weeks old. Colic does not last for a very long time. It goes just as abruptly as it occurs. It generally lasts around till the baby turns three months old.
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Symptoms of Colic
While all the babies cry in general. There are a few symptoms to take into account if you feel your baby has colic. These are:
- The baby cries for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for at least three weeks.
- The cry happens for no apparent reason. The baby is neither hungry, tired nor his diaper is dirty.
- The baby often cries at the same time of the day, every day.
- The baby’s cries are louder and more high-pitched than his normal cry.
- The baby starts and stops crying abruptly.
- The baby develops gas frequently and his bowel movement increases.
- Baby pulls up his legs, clenches his hands into tight fists and stiffens his abdominal muscles.
- The baby won’t calm down no matter what you do.
Reasons of Colic
The reason, the symptoms and the duration of colic differ from baby to baby. Although the exact cause of colic is unknown, the doctors have come up with a few theories:
- It is a developmental stage that the babies go through as they come to terms with the changes and sensations of coming to the world from womb.
- The overstimulated nervous system makes the babies more sensitive to the commotion in their surroundings which often leaves them feeling overwhelmed.
- The weak digestive system in the baby is also seen as a cause of colic.
- When the food does not properly break down and the baby is not able to digest it properly. It causes pain from the gas in the intestine and hence the baby cries.
- Allergies and sensitivity to certain food items can trigger colic in babies.
- Babies who are exposed to tobacco or smoke often develop colic.
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Things to Do when Baby is Colicky
#1. Be Calm:
First and foremost, don’t panic or lose your cool. The baby is enough to do that. Remain patient and try to understand what is exactly causing him to cry. Try to know what triggers colic in the baby. If it is due to the commotion in the environment, change it. A peaceful environment helps the baby in calming down.
#2. Apply pressure to baby’s tummy:
Colic is often relieved when pressure is placed on baby’s abdomen. Place your baby face-down on your lap or upright with his tummy against your shoulder, or baby lies face down with his belly resting on your arm. Then gently rub or pat her back as you hold him. Moreover, the touch or the skin-to-skin contact of each other calm and soothes both the baby and the mother.
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Burp your baby after every feed. Pat on the back to make the baby burp. You may gently pat the baby’s back while making his stomach rest on your shoulder.
#4. Calm him down:
Wrap the baby in a warm and snuggly blanket. Since colic is sometimes caused by baby’s difficulty in adjusting to the outside world, the blanket provides warmth and a feeling of security to the baby, which help him in calming down.
#5. Make soothing noise:
Mother’s hum, soothing music, and quiet singing distracts the baby and calms him down.
#6. Make some movement:
Colicky babies respond well to movements. Carrying, rocking and dancing the baby might relax him a bit. A word of caution here: Since the baby can get used to the rocking movement, keep trying different methods. It might get difficult for you in the future if the baby gets used to constant rocking and cradling.
#7. Consult the doctor:
This goes without saying, but always consult your doctor before offering any medication to the baby and before making any changes in the diet of both you and your baby. Colic might be caused because of some allergy, so it is always better to get an expert’s opinion.
Some mothers often turn to pacifiers, if anything else does not really work for them. Colic makes the baby cranky and irritable. The babies find sucking soothing and since you cannot breastfeed them all the time because they are not hungry, give them a pacifier. But always remember, the pacifier is not a meal replacement. Feed the baby when he is hungry, breast milk or formula, that’s your choice.
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Home Remedies to Treat Colic in Babies
Colic Remedies For 0 to 6 months baby
#1. Warm Compresses
Soak a soft hand towel in lukewarm water and rub it gently on the baby’s tummy in circular motions. It helps to release the trapped gas.
#2. Hing water
Mix a pinch of asafetida in a tsp of lukewarm water and apply it around the baby’s navel.
#3. Chamomile Tea
Nursing mothers may sip some calming chamomile tea and then try to feed the baby. Chamomile has sedative properties and it also helps to provide relief from intestinal cramps.
#4. Tummy Massage
Gently massage your baby’s tummy with lukewarm olive oil or mustard oil. It aids in digestion and helps to pass gas.
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Colic Remedies for babies above 6 months
#5. Ajwain water
Using ajwain for an upset stomach is an age-old traditional remedy. Boil some ajwain seeds in water and give 1 tsp of this water to the baby when lukewarm.
Boil ½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds with one glass water and give this to the baby at regular intervals. Cumin contains a compound called Thymol, which helps the pancreas to produce the much required digestive enzymes.
#7. Knee Exercise
Lay the baby on his back and gently bend both knees towards the tummy. This helps to improve digestion and release gas (do not do this if the baby feels uncomfortable or baby’s tummy is full).
Seep some fennel seeds into a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes. Now strain it and feed it to the baby.
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Add some crushed cardamom to your baby’s food since it speeds up digestion and clears the air in the baby’s tummy.
Ginger reduces gas and facilitates digestion. Add a little bit of ginger to your baby’s food after he/she turns 8 months old.
#11. Mint Tea
Mint has antispasmodic properties which help to relieve colic pain. Just steep 1 tsp of dried mint in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain it, allow it to cool and give 1-2 tsps of this tea to your baby.
Basil contains eugenol, which is antispasmodic and it helps to expel gas from the baby’s tummy. Just steep 1 tsp of dried basil leaves to 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain it, allow it to cool and give 1-2 tsps of this mixture to the baby 2-3 times a day.
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Apart from the above, always burp the baby after every feed. Gently rocking a colicky baby may also provide him/her some relief and most importantly, don’t panic. A mother’s feelings and expressions get picked up by the baby. If you show discomfort, your munchkin will also do the same. If you’re calm, your child will also believe that it’s not that big a problem!
The causes and remedies for colic differ from baby to baby, what works for one might not work for the other. All you have to remember is that it is a fleeting stage which will soon pass. Don’t stress yourself and the baby over it as it is completely normal.
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