Parenting can be overwhelming and one of the greatest challenges many parents face is coping with their baby’s crying. All babies cry but some will be inconsolable for extended periods of time, more often than not this is what is called colic.
So what is colic?
While there is no consensus among medical professionals as to how colic is specifically defined, it is widely accepted that symptoms should not be ignored. Symptoms include a combination of abdominal pain, uncontrollable and extended crying in babies who are otherwise healthy and well-fed. All babies cry, but when they cry for more than 3 hours a day, 3 to 4 days a week, they are said to have colic.
Some theories believe that colic is caused by:
- changes in gastrointestinal bacteria
- excessive gas
- lactose intolerance
These theories that have not yet been substantiated. What is known is:
- A baby with colic can cry for 3 or more hours a day
- Crying often occurs in the late afternoon and evening
- The baby will clench their fists, draw their knees up to their tummy, or arch their back while crying
- Colic will start around 2 weeks of age and begins to improve around 4 months
- Up to 40% of babies have colic
It is distressing when your precious baby has colic and is crying non-stop for hours. Keep in mind it is not your fault. Colic is not a reflection on your parenting. Sometimes it just happens.
As you would have learnt by now, everyone has an opinion on how you should raise your child. You will get lots of advice from your doctor through to the lady behind you at the checkout! Consider all the advice and decide what works best for you and your baby.
While right now it doesn’t seem so, it will improve. Stay calm. While each episode of crying may seem endless, be reassured it will not last forever. It will get easier.
So how do you cope with colic?
- Make a visit to your doctor or childhood nurse to ensure the crying is not due to another cause.
- Visit your chemist, there are a range of natural
baby colic relief medicine available – it really helped my son.
- Determine your baby’s needs can be tricky in the early weeks but try to eliminate other causes for crying – hunger, too hot, too cold, need for a nappy change or over tired.
- Cuddle, hold and sooth your baby. You can’t spoil them by doing this, you are simply responding to their needs.
- Massage your baby. The Colic Massage Sequence has been proven to not only help with your baby’s symptoms it enhances bonding and helps to decrease the parents stress levels.
- Ask for help. You are not a failure you just need a break.
- Look after yourself. Easier said than done I hear you say but so important. Enlist some help from family and friends, go outside for some fresh air, find some ‘you’ time, sleep when you can and prioritise. Leave any work that needs doing. It can wait.
Help! I’m not coping…
- See your doctor if you feel you are not coping or afraid you might hurt your baby.
- Ensure your partner / family / close friends are aware of what is happening. They may not see that you are not coping and may be able to provide assistance.
- Ask your partner / family / close friend to cook dinner or sit with your baby while you get some much needed sleep.
- Surround yourself with like minded supportive people – your mental and physical help is very important.
- Colic is common
- It will get better
- Speak to your doctor or chemist regarding natural baby colic relief medicine
- Try Baby Massage, in particular The Colic Massage Sequence, it will help.
- Look after yourself – your baby needs you
- Ask for help, don’t feel ashamed. People are happy to help!
Further information on colic
The following sites are excellent sources on colic if you would like to further your research.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne: Fact Sheet – Crying & Unsettled Babies https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Crying_and_unsettled_babies/
Better Health VIC: Colic https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/colic
Health Direct: Colic in Babies https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/colic-in-babies