What Is Colic?

What Is Colic? - Parenting Guide Article, News from Nanny Options, Dublin

Colic is the term used when your otherwise healthy baby cries excessively and can’t be soothed.

All babies cry, of course, but crying is excessive if it totals three hours a day and happens more than three days a week for at least three weeks..

Whatever you call it, excessive crying can be upsetting. Trying to comfort an inconsolable baby over many hours is still hard work. At times you may feel helpless and it can be tough on any parent and may be enough to drive you to tears. But you’re not doing anything wrong, and your baby usually won’t be crying for any particular reason.

This phase of crying is very common and it will pass. It usually starts between two weeks and four weeks and will probably be over by the time your baby’s about four months old.

How can I tell if my baby has colic?

If your baby cries excessively, but is otherwise healthy and feeding and gaining weight, it’s likely that he has colic. Colic is just as common in breastfed babies as in formula-fed babies, it affects girls and boys. Colic will not harm your baby it can be more painful for parents to cope with when your baby’s continuous crying. Remember this is a phase and your baby will grow out of it.

A baby may be diagnosed with colic: 

  • regular bouts of high pitched crying
  • pulls their legs up to their tummy
  • arches their back when crying and feeding
  • Late afternoon or evening time is when the crying may start.
  • When breast feeding or bottle feeding the intake may be low but more frequent.
  • An allergy or intolerance to breastmilk or formula milk.
  • Difficulty latching on properly (tongue – tie).

If your baby has any of these symptoms I recommend that you seek advice from your G.P. or Health visitor. My top tip would be to keep a diary for at least three days regarding feeding, sleeping, activity and crying episodes and bring along to your appointment. Also a small video on your mobile may help to show Doctor when baby is having a feed.

The Doctor may confirm colic, or they may diagnose another problem.

Helpful tips when your baby has colic

  • Having your baby on a routine gives them time in-between meals to digest their food.
  • Allowing yourself time to bond with your baby and learn your baby’s signs.
  • Winding your baby after every feed and stopping on a regular basis. Hold him over your shoulder, sit him upright on your lap or place him face down on your lap. Then gently pat or rub his back to bring up wind.
  • Babies that have colic like to feed on smaller amounts more often.
  • Massaging your baby’s tummy area gently with to help move trapped wind.
  • Using a soother can give them comfort.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, try to keep your baby as upright as possible.
  • If your breastfeeding keeps a diary on your diet.
  • If your bottle-feeding, make sure they are not swallowing air from the bottle. Try to sit your baby upright and tilt the bottle enough so that the milk covers the entrance to the teat.
  • Starting solids under advice from you doctor.
  • You could try an anti-colic bottle.
  • Ask your health visitor about anti-gas medication.

If you do use anti-gas medicines, try each medicine one at a time so you know what works and what doesn’t work for your baby. If you’ve tried something for two weeks and not noticed a difference, it’s fine to stop using it.

  • During feeding time be in a quite environment.
  • A bath in the evening always helps with the wind down a get rid of any excess wind.

In time colic will pass as their digestive system matures.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.

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