Babies, especially infants, have different reasons for crying, but among the most evil and the most ambiguous reasons for the baby to cry is Colic. Colic is a condition under which an otherwise healthy baby experiences certain episodes of uncontrollable crying for more than three hours in a day, more than three days in a week for more than three weeks. These bouts of crying are not like the usual cry like in case of being hungry, sleepy or in need of a change. Rather these cries are much higher pitched and shrill, which take place mostly in the late afternoons and evening. Colic is not a disease but just a combination of baffling behaviors and is common to the ratio of 1 in 5 babies. Any of the particulars the age, the sex or whether being breast fed of bottle fed does not affect the condition. But even though colic is not a disease, it causes acute discomfort to the baby and tests the patience of the parents to the limits.
When Does Colic Start?
If a baby has colic, then he/she would start with bouts of crying around the age of two weeks. If the baby is premature, then the crying starts at around the same time after the due date of the baby.
How Long Does Colic Last?
Once the baby has started experiencing the symptoms of colic at the age of two weeks, the condition peaks at the age of around six weeks, where there seems to be no solution to the problem. But eventually these symptoms of colic do start to taper off by the age of 10 -12 weeks. Typically, a colicky baby seems to be miraculously cured at the end of three months. Some infants might take a little longer, but the effect of colic does wear off.
What are the Symptoms of Colic?
When a baby is experiencing colic, then he/she usually starts crying without any reason and continues to do so for very long periods of time, inconsolably. Generally, such episodes occur at the same of time during the day and persist for a number of days. Such crying stops as abruptly as it starts and does not point to any specific reason. The baby may clench fists and fold the legs to show the extreme discomfort that it is going through and cannot be consoled easily.
How to Get Rid of Colic?
So far, the cure for colic is not known, just as the exact cause of the problem is not known. This period that the baby has to undergo must be endured with patience. You cannot possibly, get completely rid of colic, but certain steps might be taken to decrease the intensity of the discomfort.
The insistent condition of colic does not subside until it has run its course; at best this condition can only be tuned down a little. There are certain measures that may be tried on the baby to try to calm or pacify it. These measures are solution to the probable cause of colic. Since there are different reasons that may cause colic, these measures must be tried one at a time rather than all at once, as that might overwhelm the baby and increase the intensity of discomfort. Some of the probable causes of colic are gastrointestinal issues or over-stimulated senses (sensory overload).
Measures to be Taken to Get Rid of Colic Because of Gastrointestinal Issues
When your child has just entered the world and all his/her body systems are adapting; therefore, there might be a chance that the baby is feeling uncomfortable because of some gastrointestinal issues, as the digestive system might not have completely developed. The following measures can be taken to soothe the baby in such a case. Apply pressure to the baby's tummy to ease any discomfort, plus the touch of a mother can always soothe the baby suffering from any discomfort inducing colic.
- Try some anti-gas drops for infants to relieve the baby of the gastric symptoms and to get rid of colic.
- Probiotic drops can also be given to breed the healthy bacteria, which would help in better digestion and potentially get rid of colic.
- Gripe water, a natural colic remedy made of herbs and sodium bicarbonate can also be given to the baby to get rid of colic which is potentially caused by gastric troubles.
- If the baby is breast fed, the mother should watch for what she eats and prefer foods that are easy to digest. In case the baby is on formula, try switching the formula from one brand to the other and see if there is any difference in the colic.
Measures to be Taken to Get Rid of Colic Because of Over-Stimulated Senses
Babies have a built-in mechanism that helps them tune out the excess noise in their ambience, which helps them sleep better. But there can be a chance that certain babies have overstimulated senses and are extremely aware of the new sensations coming to them. Therefore the following steps can take care of to get rid of colic if the probable cause of colic is over-stimulated senses of the baby:
- Create a calm environment for the baby to adjust easily, like sing and talk in soft voices or dim the lights.
- Limit the visitors to a minimum to help the baby adjust better to the existing environment.
- Respond promptly to the baby's cries and make the baby feel being attended and cared for and not left alone.
Other Basic Remedies for Getting Rid of Colic
- Getting close to the baby, helps in making him/her feel protected and gives the feeling of the constant touch just like when the baby is in the womb; thus helps in soothing the baby during the crying.
- Offer a pacifier to the baby, the sucking action might relieve the baby and soothe any ravenous bouts of hunger that may have caused colic in the first place.
- Changing the place, getting the baby out of the house would change the constant ambience and that is probably all the child wants.
The above listed measures can always be opted for, but the first and the foremost step must be to contact the pediatrician in case of any discomfort to the baby. The professional can always be a better judge of the problem than a mother and will be better able to advice on how to manage and get rid of colic.