You may have heard of “colicky” babies and wondered what it was, or even Googled it after mothers’ group. You may have wondered how you might distinguish colic from normal newborn behaviour or other conditions such as reflux or cows milk protein allergy (CMPI).
Healthy Mummy’s resident Child and Family Health Nurse, Bel Moore explains what we know about colic and some tips to ease the suffering for everyone.
What exactly is colic?
Colic is a common condition that affects 1 in 5 healthy infants where they experience regular, unexplained, excessive (3 hours + a day for more than 3 days a week for 3 weeks) crying.
The cause is unknown but there are several theories such as immaturity of the bowel, food allergies, gas/wind, over stimulation or just the high end of normal newborn behaviour.
Colic usually starts to emerge at 2 weeks of ages, peaks at 6 weeks and should be resolved by 4-6 months. Research shows colic occurs equally regardless of sex and mode of feeding.
6 signs your baby may have colic
1. Intense bouts of crying that total more than 3 hours per day.
2. Crying in the late afternoon or evening that lasts hours (more excessive than the witching hours).
3. Red face, clenched fists, drawing knees up and arching back while crying.
4. Feeding normally.
5. Normal weight gain.
6. Doesn’t stop crying with normal settling, feeding, clean nappy distraction etc.
Caring for a colicky baby can be very frustrating and distressing, but here are some of my top tips to get you through…
1. Ensure a good latch when breastfeeding
This will reduce the amount of wind your baby may develop. Pace feed if bottle feeding, burp them frequently and hold them upright after a feed.
2. Make sure your baby doesn’t get overtired
Infants under 6 weeks of ages are usually only awake for 45 mins to an hour between sleeps. Read here to check out 8 top tips to help your newborn baby sleep.
3. Settle your baby with different methods
Have a varied arsenal to settle you baby. Rocking, patting, shushing, a warm bath, baby massage, bouncing on a fit ball and babywearing can all help settle your baby.
4. Take your baby for a walk in the pram or carrier
A change of scenery, fresh air and exercise can help calm everybody.
5. Remember it’s not your fault!
You haven’t done anything to cause it, so be gentle on yourself.
6. It will get better!
“This too, shall pass.” It normally stops by 4- 6 months.
7. Look after your own health
Take time to fill your cup and remove yourself from the room if you feel you are becoming overwhelmed. Take any help you can, surround yourself with a good support network and rest when you can.
Look out for symptoms of postnatal depression and speak to your health professional if you need help.
8. Speak to your trusted health care professional
They can tell you which natural medications that may help with colic or gas are available.
9. Consider removing certain foods and drinks from your diet
Some breastfeeding mums have found removing some foods/drinks out of their diets has shown some improvements in their infant’s symptoms.
Speak to your health care professional before removing any foods such as dairy. Coffee can cause some issues for babies, read more about that here.
Did you know our Healthy Mummy Smoothies are dairy free? Grab your tub HERE!
Some symptoms can indicate a more serious problem. You should get medical help immediately if your baby:
- Has a weak, high-pitched, or continuous cry.
- Seems floppy, pale, blue, blotchy or unresponsive.
- Isn’t feeding.
- Is vomiting or has blood in their poo.
- Has a fever.
- Has a sunken or bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on the top of the head).
- Has a fit (seizure) or any breathing problems/difficulties.
* If you are concerned about your infant in anyway or you are struggling to cope, see a health care professional immediately. *
If you’re a new mum who would LOVE to connect with other new mums about all things baby health, losing the baby weight, becoming active after baby and staying on top of your health – be sure to check out our NEW MUMS FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP.
The Healthy Mummy has multiple private and JUDGEMENT-FREE groups you can access (for free) and exchange tips, tricks and experiences with other new mums.
It’s also a great place to get access to (and share) family-friendly recipes and Healthy Mummy Smoothie creations (which are known to help boost breast milk supply and compliment healthy nutritional intake while breastfeeding).