What is colic?
Your baby cries, is agitated (won’t stop wriggling) and passes wind. According to statistics, up to 1 in 5 babies, both breastfed and bottle fed, between the ages of two weeks and six months suffer from colic. There can be several causes of crying but when there is no obvious cause, and no failure to thrive, fever or illness, the inconsolable periods of crying are labelled colic. Possible causes of colic in babies may include:
- an immature nervous and digestive system,
- parents’ anxiety perceived by the baby,
- food intolerance or allergy,
- an unbalanced microflora,
- or overly frequent changes in infant formula
Typical signs of colic
- Your adorable little baby, who up until now has amazed you with their calm nature and regular growth, starts to cry repeatedly throughout the day and several times during the night;
- Your baby is irritable and is inconsolable and unhappy;
- What’s more, this unhappiness is causing your baby to produce high-pitched screaming; the likes of which you could not have imagined in your wildest dreams!
Combined with your tiredness, you are finding it harder and harder to cope with this sudden change in attitude. In a word, you are scared! This is normal. Be sure to have them checked with your healthcare professional, what your baby is experiencing may be colic.
What can you do?
Here are some tips you can use to help your baby.
- If breastfeeding, work with your health professional to continue.
- If you are bottle-feeding, limit air intake via the teat as much as possible – try an anti-reflux system and make sure you burp your baby properly.
- Don’t change infant formula without seeking the advice of a healthcare professional and make sure you use the correct scoop and quantities of powder and water.
- Discuss with your doctor about possible treatment options.
- Massage your baby’s stomach gently in a clockwise direction, place a warm heat-pack wrapped in a towel on their tummy (warmth is excellent for relieving pain);
- Give your baby a warm bath.
- It is important to note that sucking calms intestinal pain and your baby will want to feed all the time. The risk is your baby overfeeds, resulting in more stomach discomfort.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breast milk is best for babies and provides ideal nutrition. Good maternal nutrition is important for preparation and maintenance of breastfeeding. Introducing partial bottle feeding could negatively affect breastfeeding and reversing a decision not to breastfeed is difficult. Professional advice should be followed on infant feeding. Infant formula should be prepared and used exactly as directed or it could pose a health hazard. The preparation requirements and cost of providing infant formula until 12 months of age should be considered before making a decision to formula feed.