When baby screams inconsolably for hours on end with clenched fists and knees pulled up, it is often a case of colic – one of the most common, and most dreaded conditions associated with newborns. The good news is that colic usually subsides by 12 weeks and there are plenty of things you can do to help your crying baby quiet down.
What is colic?
Usually a doctor will diagnose a case of colic if your baby cries inconsolably for more than 3 hours, at least 3 days in a week. A colicky baby usually clenches his fist, furrows his brow and sometimes even holds his breath briefly. The baby seems to be in pain or very unhappy. Parents, even the most experienced, often end up exhausted by the marathon crying of their infant and sometimes would resort to unconventional methods to stop the baby from crying, such as taking their newborn for a car ride or placing the baby carrier on top of a working washing machine ( the noise and vibration are said to soothe the little one.)
Common causes for colic and proven remedies
Some experts say colic is caused by sensory overload. A baby who is particularly sensitive to stimuli is overwhelmed and ends up crying inconsolably. If you think this is the case with your crying baby you will notice that rocking, singing or taking your infant for a drive will make the condition worse. In this case try to place the child in a quiet and sheltered environment ( try pulling down the shades during day time) in order to soothe him. Avoid massaging him if it seems to make the condition worse and place him in a baby swing once he is old enough for it.
Another theory suggests that baby’s immature digestive tract contracts violently when baby passes gas. In these cases you will notice the baby will stop crying or relax a little once he burps or passes gas. If gas is the trigger for your child’s colic, try gently massaging the baby’s back or tummy and rocking him gently. You will find plenty of special feeding bottles that are said to minimize colic in infants and there are also over the counter medications for babies( colic drops) that are perfectly safe for your infant.
Click here for more information about colic free feeding bottles
Click here for more information about colic drops
Reflux is very different from immature digestion because in this case it is an irritation in the esophagus, (similar to a bad case of heartburn in an adult). Again the colic free bottles available on the market should help with the problem, but one of the best solutions in these cases is burping the baby in an upright position over your shoulder and being extra careful during feeding time that the baby’s torso is slightly angled up.
The good news when it comes to colic is that no matter how hard the crying spells seem to get, even the most difficult babies seem to outgrow the problem by the third month and thrive beautifully, gaining weight like other babies and display no more behavioral problems than other children once they are older. In addition, research seems to point that children who cry vigorously as infants seem to be more vigorous and active problem solvers as they grow up than limp criers.
… and now that we have established that colic is a common phase related to baby’s development, the following article gives a few handy tips that will help parents survive long spells of incessant baby crying, sleepless nights and increasing frustration.
Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathway “What to expect the first year”