Colic in baby: What is colic and how can you help your baby?
If there’s one thing that frazzles every new parent, it’s hearing his or her newborn baby cry. And if that infant cries louder and more excessively than normal, for no apparent reason and for longer periods of time, then chances are that baby has colic.
Colic is a term used to describe uncontrollable and undeterminable crying in seemingly healthy babies. It typically starts when a baby is about 3 weeks old, lasting for more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 weeks in a row.
Colic peaks at 6 to 8 weeks and gradually subsides by the 3rd month. It’s neither a disease nor is it a serious or life threatening condition, but it’s a terrible thing to go through not just for the uncomfortable baby, but for the worn out parent as well.
What causes colic, and why some have it and some don’t, is one of the great baby mysteries. A number of experts believe that colic is merely a developmental stage wherein the newborn adjusts to life outside the womb.
Others look at it as either a bacterial imbalance in the gut, or a chemical imbalance between seratonin and melatonin. Whatever the cause, the good news is that colic is temporary and that there are a number of sanity-saving baby-calming tactics to help new parents overcome this nerve-wracking ordeal.
• Follow (any one or a combination of) the Five S’s: swaddle her snuggly, make shooshing sounds in baby’s ear, swing baby back and forth, make her suck on your nipple or pacifier, or make her lie on her side or stomach.
• Don’t be afraid to console your little one as much as you can. There is no such thing as “spoiling her too much.”
• Try different holding and carrying positions and see what soothes her the most. You can also try a different atmosphere – go for some fresh air if you’ve been indoors too long, or do the opposite if you’ve been outside awhile.
• Get moving by getting into the backseat of a car and going for a ride. The car’s movement are often calming and soothing.
• While some babies like noise and movement, there are some who prefer decreased stimulation and will do well tightly swaddled in a darkened, quiet room.
• Place a hot compress on your belly and let your baby lie on top of you. Careful not to make the compress too hot though, so be sure to test the temperature out first.
• Try gently massaging your baby into a calm state. Alternatively, try giving your little one a warm bath to distract her from her colic. Just be sensitive to how she responds.
• Burp your baby a little more often than usual. If she has colic, chances are she’s extra gassy from all that crying. Colic can be extremely frustrating, overwhelming, and depressing especially for first time moms and those dealing with postpartum, so it’s important to remember that colic is nobody’s fault.
Relax, take a break, and step back if you have to. Ask for help and leave your baby with your hubby, lola or yaya who are oftentimes more than willing to lend a hand. After all, a parent’s mental well-being is equally as important as baby’s when it comes to dealing with colic successfully.
Console yourself with the thought that all of this crying is temporary, and that colic won’t define your baby’s personality. Once you overcome this bump in your baby’s development, it will be smooth sailing from there. Well, at least until he or she reaches puberty.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mel Lozano
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