Colic is not a disease, nor a digestive disorder. It’s defined by crying – hours of inconsolable crying. Generally speaking, a baby with colic is one who cries virtually non-stop for three or more hours each day. A colicky baby typically will cry this way at least three days a week, often at the same time each evening.
Many people think colic is caused by gas, cow’s milk, or something in the nursing mother’s diet . But the truth is no one really knows what causes colic. There may be many contributing factors, including the baby’s own temperament. Some experts speculate colic may be the way some newborns adjust to their new environment.
Dealing with baby cry and colic
While it’s heart-wrenching to watch a baby cry for hours on end, you can take comfort in knowing that it’s harmless. Colic usually starts some time during the baby’s first month, and stops by three months – five months at the latest.
In dealing with colic, you should first rule out any concrete reason for the crying. The baby could be hungry, or have a fever, illness or injury. If there’s a chance that something tangible is causing the colic, it’s worth a trying a change. For instance, you might switch the baby from milk-based to soy-based formula, or nursing mothers might cut out spicy foods or caffeine. Perhaps you’ll see some improvement.
Techniques to dealing with colic
There are dozens of innovative techniques that parents have used to calm their colicky babies. Some of these are sure to help, at least temporarily.
- Rock the baby, in your arms, a cradle or baby swing.
- Put him in the car seat and go for a drive.
- Try a pacifier, or let the baby suck on your finger.
- Swaddle the baby in a blanket.
- Burp him frequently while feeding.
- Don’t hold the baby flat during feeding, and keep him in an upright position for awhile after.
- The baby may be soothed by the sound of the vacuum or the hum of household appliances.
- Play soft, soothing music.
- Some parents put the baby in an infant seat on top or near the dryer or dishwasher. Don’t leave the baby alone up there, though.
- Carry the baby close to your body in a front-carrier or sling.
The stress on parents can be enormous, and your tension can make things worse for the infant. Make sure to give yourself breaks by trading off with your spouse or relatives. Remember, it’ll all be over in a matter of weeks.