How Can I Tell If My Baby Has Colic & What Can I Do About It?
5 min. read
Newborns crying is a very normal part of new-parenthood. But what if an otherwise healthy baby cries for more than three hours a day and for more than three days a week? This could be a sign that a baby has colic.
Consistent crying can be concerning for parents, which is why it’s important to understand what it is and how to calm a colicky baby.
Here we’ll discuss all the essential information and tips, including what the symptoms of colic are and how to calm a colicky baby. For any additional questions or concerns, never hesitate to seek a second professional opinion.
‘Does my baby have colic?’
It is common for babies to get colic. It affects up to 40% of infants worldwide and is most common around six weeks of age. Here’s how to know if a baby has colic: 1
The baby is otherwise healthy
He or she cries at least three hours a day and more than three days per week
The baby kicks or draws legs up so as to alleviate gas pain
His or her belly seems swollen or firm while crying
While the exact cause of colic is unknown, some doctors claim that there are certain triggers that may increase the risk of colic. Such causes include: 2
A digestive tract that’s not fully developed
Sensitivity to certain foods that mother eats if baby is breastfeeding
Sensitivity to milk protein in formula
Acid reflux or gas
Smoking during pregnancy
Find more information about how babies get colic, here.
How to help a colicky baby
While there is no one treatment proven to relieve colic, there are many ways to comfort a baby if he or she has it.
Below are some of the ways to provide a baby with colic relief:2
1. Close contact
It’s been proven that walking or rocking a baby can help soothe them. Parents can hold their baby close to them or use a baby carrier to keep their newborn close while on the go.
It’s also been proven that holding a baby when they aren’t crying can reduce the amount of crying later, particularly in the evening when symptoms are at their peak.
2. Burp during feedings
One of the possible causes of colic is gas. Mothers can try to alleviate gas pain by burping their baby during feedings. More information about how to burp a baby to help relieve gassiness can be found here.
And for those who are bottle feeding their baby, this clinically proven anti-colic bottle with a unique AirFree vent is designed to help babies swallow less air. By reducing the amount of air that a baby ingests, this bottle can help with common feeding issues that include colic, reflux, and gas.
3. Place the baby belly-side down
Another baby colic relief idea: parents can try laying their baby on his or her belly across their lap. They can then rub their newborn’s back to soothe him or her and help gas pass through easier. Babies should only be belly down while awake and under supervision.
4. Vibration and movement
Sometimes the key to managing colic is constant motion and vibration. Parents can go on a drive or put them in a vibrating chair to help soothe colic symptoms, or baby-wearing is popular as both baby and parent find the close contact soothing.
5. Make some noise
Some parents find that a little white noise or music can soothe a colicky baby. Parents can play some soothing music or place their baby in the same room as a running clothes dryer machine, a vacuum, or even a white noise machine. These soothing sounds may help distract from and relieve a baby’s colic.
In contrast, there are some babies who need less stimulation, especially colic babies under two months of age. In this case, parents can swaddle their baby and place him or her in a dark room.
Parents should speak with their baby’s doctor when they first notice colic symptoms. That way they can establish that it is in fact colic, which will help them understand what to do for a colicky baby.
Parents should contact a doctor if their baby experiences the following symptoms:
A temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
Crying for more than two hours at a time
Diarrhea or vomiting
Less alert than usual
Patience is key
While a constantly crying baby can feel concerning and make parents feel like they are doing something wrong, it’s important to remember that colic is no one’s fault – and that there are methods of helping a colicky baby.
Parents can try these different remedies until they discover what their baby responds best to.