baby with colicDealing with colic can be distressing for parents. We hate to see our baby suffer and are willing to do anything to alleviate their discomfort. However, there is hope, as symptoms usually disappear by the time your baby is 3½ to 4 months old.

Symptoms

The symptoms of colic are distressing for parents: fist clenching, back arching, and tenseness of the abdomen. The baby’s face also may be flushed. And the crying! It goes on and on, lasting up to four hours, and your baby cannot be consoled.

Colic symptoms frequently begin after feeding, usually in the late afternoon or early evening. This makes it even more difficult, as new parents are usually tired by this time of day and a colicky baby is not easy to console.

Some things may make symptoms worse:

  • Avoid overfeeding

We tend to think a crying baby is a hungry baby. If your child has consumed the amount appropriate for their age and weight, providing more food my actually contribute to the discomfort your baby is feeling.

  • Avoid certain foods

Foods with high sugar content, such as undiluted juices, may increase gas and make the situation worse.

  • Reduce household stress

Babies are very sensitive to what is happening around them and stress can affect your baby in a negative way, causing colic to worsen.

Solutions

The solution for colic begins with examining the possible causes.

Your baby has an immature digestive system. That is why you begin feeding with either breast milk or formula. In addition, a newborn’s digestive system lacks the ability to properly digest food, both because of the lack of muscle development and bacterial probiotics that aid digestion. If you are breastfeeding, you need to be careful what foods you eat. Cow’s milk protein, onions, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, and chocolate eaten by you may pass to your baby and cause bloating and gas.

Your baby’s nervous system is also immature. The more activity during the day, the more likely your baby is to be fussy and colicky later in the day. Try providing a peaceful, daily routine to avoid overstimulation.

If you are feeding your baby formula, you may wish to try a different type. Your pediatrician can make a recommendation of one that may decrease colic symptoms. Additionally, choose a bottle and nipples designed to aid in preventing the ingestion of air, which causes gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Some other things you can try to reduce your baby’s colic are:

  • Sit your baby up while feeding so less air is swallowed.
  • If you are bottle-feeding, warm the formula to body temperature before feeding your baby.
  • Burp your baby a few times during feeding to help release trapped gas.
  • Sooth your baby with the motion of a ride in a car, some time on a swing, or being rocked in a rocking chair.
  • Sooth your baby with the sound of a white noise machine, music, or the sound of your voice.
  • Lay your baby down in a dark, quiet room or swaddle your baby in a snugly blanket to prohibit movement and promote relaxation.

Conclusion

You are not alone as you deal with the problem of colic as one in four babies suffers from it. Although there is no proven cause of or solution for colic, trying what we have indicated may provide your infant some relief. The key is to relax and realize that it is not your fault. The frustration, worry, and confusion that you feel are normal for those dealing with colic. By six months of age, the colic should be gone as you continue to build and maintain a loving bond with your infant.

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