10 Common Questions About Colic

Baby’s cry can be really stressful for young parents. Especially, when a baby is difficult to comfort and cries for a long period of time. In this situation a baby may have colic. 

1. What is colic?

Colic is a set of behaviours and responses that are characterized by a baby's crying or shouting that is difficult to calm down. 

2. What are colic symptoms? 

If the baby is difficult to soothe it doesn’t always mean that it has colic. It doesn't have to mean that you are dealing with colic when a baby continue to cry even after all of its basic needs have been met by the parents. 
Typically colicky crying is when:

  •  your baby cries for more than 3 hours a day (not necessary at once).
  • it occurs at least 3 times per week,
  • crying appears in the afternoon/evening (there are break periods between colic attacks).

During colic many babies cries, pull up legs, expel gas, clench their fists and turn red-faced. 

Except paroxysms of crying infants with colic develop normally. They eat and gain weight and there is no indication that something is wrong with them. Colic is not a disease, it is referred to as a temporary disorder. 

3. When does colic end? 

Colic typically begins at 2-3 weeks of age and disappears by the fifth month of life. 

4. Do all children have colic? 

Not all babies suffer from colic. Sometimes parents confuse colic with fatigue or/and overloading with stimuli from the whole day, which can appear in the evening. In this case infants can often get cranky, fussy and weepy. 

5. Should I take my baby to the doctor if I think he has colic?

If you suspect baby colic, it is worth going to the doctor to confirm your suppositions. Your doctor will be able to rule out other causes for your baby's crying and anxiety. If necessary, he will recommend some medications safe for an infant. 

6. What are the causes of colic?

So far, this question has not been clearly answered. The appearance of colic may be associated with:

  • Food intolerance (lactose intolerance, cow's milk protein)
  • Immaturity of the digestive system
  • Incorrect feeding techniques (baby swallows too much air)
  • Intestinal gas accumulation
  • Urinary tract infection

7. Can colic be prevented? 

It is worth looking at the proper feeding techniques. During feeding (both breast and bottle feeding), the baby may swallow too much air, which accumulates in the tummy and causes pain. After feeding the baby shall always burp. If the cause is intolerance, exclude from the diet an intolerant ingredient, e.g. lactose, or give the enzyme Lactase, which breaks down this sugar. 

8. Can I reduce colic symptoms?

Unfortunately, there is no medication that eliminates colic. But there are ways to alleviate its symptoms. 

  • Limit external stimuli. Give yourself and your baby peace of mind.
  • Follow a daily routine.
  • Learn massage techniques for relieving colic and gas pain.
  • Put your baby on your tummy often.
  • Put a warm blanket or diaper on baby’s tummy.
  • Rock your child up and down not horizontally.

9. Does colic affect baby development?

Colic, although painful, does not pose any threat to a baby. It does not affect the child's development and health. 

10. Can I ease colic symptoms with diet? 

If the cause of colic is food intolerance, then the ingredient that is not tolerated should be excluded from the baby's diet. Try, in consultation with your doctor, to replace the usual mixture with a protein hydrolysate (milk replacer). If you are breastfeeding, try an elimination diet (firstly, also after consulting your doctor, eliminate dairy and eggs from the diet for a week and see if it works). 
Probiotics with the Lactobacillus reuteri may also help to alleviate the symptoms of colic. What is more, you can try mint teas. 

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