The clearest sign your baby might be suffering from colic is continuous, high-pitched crying for no obvious reason.
Another sign that your baby might have colic is more frequent crying in the late afternoon or evening, sometimes after feeding. If your baby’s face goes red or their eyes roll up, these are also good indications, so are the legs being drawn to their tummy or the tummy feeling hard. If your baby lifts their head or legs and passes gas, or their fists become clenched, this can also point to colic. No one knows for sure exactly why colic happens with babies, but there are a number of steps you can take to help prevent it and ease your little one’s discomfort if they’re suffering from colic.
Top tips for baby gas and colic
Encouraging a routine of 3 to 4 hourly feedings may be better than frequent, short feedings every 1 to 2 hours throughout the day.
Breastfeeding mothers should check their diet to see if they may be eating excessive amounts of any of the problem foods. Foods that may cause babies to be gassy or colicky include broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and cabbage, chocolate, cow’s milk, onions, citrus fruits and tomatoes. If you suspect a food is causing a problem for your baby, cut it out for a couple of days to see if there’s an effect. If you are considering cutting out any food groups more long term, such as dairy foods, it’s a good idea to get advice from a Healthcare Professional.
Try swaddling your baby before soothing them, it feels so comforting for them and can help them feel more secure.
Work on your burping technique. Try to get the gas out of your baby’s tummy before it has a chance to move through to their bowel. If your baby is a quick feeder you may need to burp them more frequently. An upright position is essential, either on your shoulder or sitting in your lap. Try firmly patting your baby’s back to encourage the bubbles up and out.
A gentle tummy massage can help relax those tense muscles, and is especially effective after a warm bath.
Gripe water is an old-fashioned remedy but there is no good evidence that it works. Some mothers do use it just when their baby has a problem. It warms and relaxes the tummy and has an antacid effect too. Normally for use from 1 month, but check the label.
Certain positions are soothing for a colicky baby, especially on the tummy. Lay your baby face down over your arm with their head resting in the crook of your elbow and your hand between their legs. Try lying them face down on your lap with their head turned to the side and gently moving your legs side to side. Remember once asleep you should put your baby on their back to sleep.
A swing or vibrating chair can be a lifesaver if your baby is very unhappy in the evenings.
If you are bottle feeding, either fully or just occasionally choose a bottle with an anti-colic valve which has been clinically proven to reduce colic and its symptoms. Be sure to have the correct flow of nipple for your baby, and to always have the nipple full of milk so your baby isn’t just sucking in air.
Try a pacifier when your baby is difficult to comfort. If your baby does have a pain, suckling will help.
If your baby isn’t correctly attached to the breast the milk won’t be effectively removed and you could get sore nipples. Nipple soreness can be caused if your nipple is too close to the front of your baby’s mouth, and not well back near their soft palate. If you continue to find it difficult to attach your baby you may suffer from sore nipples and swollen breasts if they’re too full of milk. Also, your baby may not get enough milk.
Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical
advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance.
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