Is your baby crying uncontrollably? Well, then there are chances that your baby is suffering from colic.
How to find if your baby has colic?
Babies normally communicate through crying. If they are hungry, or thirsty, or feeling disturbed, or in pain, they communicate it through crying. Although, there is a difference if your baby has colic. A baby that has colic would be crying continuously for hours in a row, sometimes even for days in a row. If your baby is crying uncontrollably for no apparent reason and continues to cry even after drinking milk, then you must suspect colic. Here is a standard guideline to suspect colic – If your baby, which is otherwise healthy, cries for more than three hours in a day for three or more days of a week, then your baby could have colic
Typically, the colic tends to peak when a baby is six weeks old and slowly reduces before the baby is four months old.
What to do if you suspect that your baby has colic?
If your baby shows signs of colic, it is mandatory that you visit a paediatrician. Sometimes, the pain may be self-limiting, but other times it may require medical intervention. Therefore, it is always important to seek expert medical opinion.
How to cope if your baby has colic?
The following suggestions are no replacement to visit a physician. But these tips will help you cope if your baby has colic:
- Try a gentle massage
Babies respond to touch much better than other stimuli because their touch receptors are the earliest ones to develop. So, try giving a gentle massage to your baby. Do not over stimulate the massage, as it may be counterproductive. Just start giving the massage, and modify it depending on how your baby responds.
- Place your baby on your chest
Low birth weight babies are usually given something called as “Kangaroo mother care”, where the baby is made to lie face down on the mother’s chest. This way the baby can feed on the mother’s milk as well as get warmth and love. The same principle works here. Place your baby on your chest where the baby gets to hear your heartbeat. Your heartbeat is something that your baby is most familiar with. When your baby hears your heartbeat again, it tends to calm down, as it is reminded of the silence that it felt inside your womb.
- Try playing a pleasant sound
Aftertouch receptors, babies are most sensitive to sound. So, try to play a pleasant sound, like the sound of a waterfall, ocean waves, etc. It tends to calm the nerves, and your baby will calm down.
- Gently rock the baby
Babies tend to calm down when they are moved softly. Try rocking your baby in a swing and once it sleeps, put your baby in a crib. If you are going out, carry the baby in a front carrier or in a sling.
- Hug your baby
One of the most effective ways to soothe your baby is to hug it. Human beings are addictive to hugs, and babies are no different – they love being cuddled and hugged. So, hug your baby close to your body, such that it hears your heartbeat, feels the warmth, and feels secure.
- Take your baby out for a stroll
Sometimes a gush of breeze is enough to soothe your baby. Try carrying your baby out for a stroll in the park. The new scenery, sounds, and smells will help distract your baby. Also, if you mix a small rocking movement with the stroll, your baby can go to sleep.
- Try different positions
If your baby is still crying, try a different position for the baby. This will help the baby relax any muscle that may be causing spasm or pain. The tummy-down position is a good one to try.
- Wrap your kid in a blanket
When your baby was in your womb, it was snug inside. You can recreate that ambience by wrapping your baby in a blanket. This is called swaddling, and it stimulates sleep.
- Bathe your baby
Bathing your baby with warm water will help it get some sleep. Try spraying water by a handheld nozzle across your baby’s back, chest, and body.
- Use a pacifier
Some babies are pacified by sucking something. So give your baby a pacifier – it can be handy to soothe your baby.
- Release gas from the tummy
Gassiness will increase the discomfort of colic. So try to burp your baby often, to relieve the gas.
- Use a warm water bag
Water bags filled with hot water can be placed on your baby’s belly. This will help relieve the colicky pain. Don’t use too hot water as it may char the skin. Check the warmth of the bag on yourself first, and then use it on your baby.
- Use probiotics
Sometimes, probiotics can help you relieve the baby’s pain. Probiotics help in restoring the gut bacteria of your baby.
It is difficult to cope with a baby that has colic, but these tips might help in comforting your baby. Also, always keep in mind that this phase of parenthood shall pass. Other options include changing breastfeeding, adjusting formulas and changing feeding patterns.