What is colic in babies?
Loud and prolonged crying is one of the most common characteristics of infants. But sometimes little babies cry so hard that unfortunate parents are getting their heads.
They can’t understand what is so terrible about their baby and is it normal? More often than not, this crying may not indicate that the baby has a serious illness, but that it is colicky. This is a standard situation that many people are familiar with and most often there is nothing life-threatening about it.
As you have already understood, today we will talk about what is colic in babies and colicky babies’ symptoms.
How do you know if a baby has colic?
As we have said, babies often cry, but that doesn’t mean that this terrible colic torments them all the time – no, it’s not like that. But if your baby starts “screaming” for a long period of time and then it suddenly calms down, this is the first of the symptoms of colic in newborns.
But, as many pediatricians say, infant colic is more of an exception diagnosis. This means that if the doctor didn’t find other significant changes in the child’s health, the cause may be colic in the abdomen.
It is one thing when you notice that your baby has not pooped for five days (other stool problems), or it has an ear problem (otitis media), or a high fever – then loud crying is understandable. But if your baby is growing, gaining weight, has clean skin without pimples and rashes, it is active and happy with life, it has a great appetite; and only sometimes he or she may scream at a certain moment and quickly calms down, it probably has colic (in 95% of cases).
Does my baby have colic?
To give a concrete answer to this question we have to understand what or who is “colic”?
Some parents are convinced that colic is the air that enters the baby’s gastrointestinal tract with food or while drinking.
What causes colic?
Young children don’t know how to properly combine eating and breathing yet at the same time. Therefore, the air somehow gets into the child’s abdominal cavity. And thus creates pressure, lingers in the intestines and provokes this very colic. It is not pleasant for the baby – it suffers and screams (cries).
On the one hand, this is a logical explanation that colic is a consequence of excessive gas. Also, there is an opinion that these “gases” appear as a consequence of an imbalance of intestinal micro-flora. But surprisingly, medical science cannot say what causes colic in infants. Some doctors assign approximate causes of colic in infants: prematurity, taking antibiotics, artificial feeding, infectious diseases and even foods that the nursing mother eats (but this is a doubtful theory).
Another more plausible theory is the lack of beneficial microflora in the intestines of infants. The digestive system is formed gradually (number of Lacto and bifido bacteria) and pathogenic microbes develop faster in a weakened and unprotected body. And as a consequence, the products of their life disrupt the normal digestive process.
It is well known that colic is an attack of intense pain, which recurs and disappears periodically without intervention.
How long does colic last?
This, too, is a very controversial question that is difficult to answer accurately. But according to pediatricians, colic appears around the third week of life and disappears until the age of 3 months (sometimes it can last longer, up to 4 months).
But this is also questionable data, because some parents say that their baby’s colic only began at 3 months of age. So, it’s hard to guess when it will happen to your baby, or if it will happen at all.
Signs of colic in newborns
The baby cannot tell you why he or she is crying and whether it is colic. But there are a number of signs that will tell you that your baby is suffering from excessive gas, for example:
- your baby may lie in a certain and characteristic posture: legs pressed against its stomach and fists clenched tightly;
- redness on the face;
- not restful sleep and frequent crying during sleep;
- the baby may regurgitate often;
- you may see a bloated baby’s belly and it will be quite hard when lightly pressed;
- pay attention to the baby’s poop, you may notice changes in the stool (it will be more liquid and mucous).
Remedy for a colicky baby
As experienced pediatricians say, parents’ patience and time are the most reliable baby colic remedies. You need to remember that colic in babies is not dangerous; you just need to get over it. There are many drugs, drops, special bottles, tinctures that supposedly should relieve the child from suffering. But in most cases, it is just a marketing ploy, which “can” save unhappy parents. After all, they at least did something about it.
Despite the fact, that there is no cure for colic, we can still recommend following some rules to help relieve pain during colic:
- don’t feed your baby too often; make sure that the breaks between feedings were not less than 2-2.5 hours;
- monitor the temperature in the room where the baby sleeps and is (should not be too hot and humid);
- if your baby is on formula feeding, discuss formula replacement with your pediatrician.
Remember, all babies (most) have colic and it passes – be patient!