What is Colic in Babies?
Crying is very normal in babies as this is how babies express their discomfort and attract their parent’s attention to tend to their needs. But if you notice your baby, crying uncontrollably without any apparent reason, then you should not be ignorant, as he may have colic.
Colic is not a serious ailment or disease that you need to be worried about. But if your baby is under six months of age and has crying bouts that may last up to three or more hours, for three or more days in a week, and at a stretch for three or more weeks, then your baby may be suffering from colic.It usually appears two to three weeks after the birth and disappears by the time your baby is three to four months old. Though colic may scare you, the good news is, it will gradually subside on its own.
What Causes Colic in Infants?
There is no specific reason that may cause colic in a baby; however, there may be certain triggers for it. Following are the reasons that can cause colic in infants:
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux
In this condition, the contents of the stomach of babies, like stomach acid moves upwards to the oesophagus. This leads to sharp pain or colic in babies.
2. Immature Digestive System
A newborn baby’s gastrointestinal system is still developing and thus whatever is fed to the baby passes on quickly to the intestine and does not break down completely. This may result in the formation of gas that may cause pain and colic in newborns.
3. Intolerance or Allergies
Some infants may be allergic to certain foods. Sometimes babies are lactose intolerant and thus can be allergic to breastmilk. Hence, if they are breastfed they may develop colic.
4. Sensitive Babies
It is also believed that in sensitive babies crying is a way of releasing physical tension. Therefore, colic is more common in babies who are easily stressed by strange noises and sounds.
5. Ingesting Gas while Feeding
Babies, during their feeding sessions, may ingest a lot of gas. The gas can make the babies uneasy and result in colic.
6. Mother’s Diet and Lifestyle
Some experts are of the opinion that colic may also result from the various diet and lifestyle choices of the mother made during pregnancy. For example, women who smoked during her pregnancy or smoke when they are breastfeeding are more likely to have colicky babies.
7. Imbalance of Healthy Bacteria
It is also observed that babies who have colic have different intestinal microflora in comparison to babies who do not have colic. Therefore, there is an imbalance of healthy bacteria in babies who suffer from colic.
Though most cases of frantic crying in babies are generally associated with colic, however, it is not necessary that incessant crying is only indicative of colic. There are other ailments such as a hernia, stomach infections, and other diseases that can make your baby cry profusely. What is important for a parent is to identify the signs and symptoms of colic.
Signs and Symptoms of Baby Colic
To identify colic in your baby, you may look for the following signs and symptoms:
1. The Crying Pattern is Different
You may usually find a considerable difference between colic crying and normal crying. A colicky baby may give out high-pitched and loud wails.
2. Crying Bouts at the Same Time
You may notice that your baby gets colic bouts almost at the same time every day. It is observed that babies tend to get colicky mostly around late noon and it may increase as the evening progresses. When all your attempts to soothe your baby by feeding or rocking go in vain, it might signify you what the problem is—yes, it is a symptom of colic.
3. Changing Postures
Colicky babies generally arch their back, clench their fists, and curl their legs while crying. Change in your baby’s posture in this manner is an evident indication of colic.
4. Physical Signs
You may also look for physical signs, such as a flushed face, frequent burping, and a tighter tummy in your baby. Infants who have colic tend to inhale a lot of air and thus they burp more than usual.
It is recommended to get in touch with your doctor if you recognise any of the above-mentioned colic signs and symptoms in your baby, It is important to seek medical advice in certain cases of colic.
Medical Treatment for Colic in a Young Child
Colic, in general, does not require any medical treatment; but it is the ailment that is causing colic that needs to be identified and treated. Following may be some of the measures that may be prescribed by your doctor to treat colic pain in infants:
Probiotics or good bacteria are beneficial for your baby’s intestines as they keep it healthy. An added dose of probiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to ease out any abdominal discomfort that your baby may be experiencing. The added dose can be administered through formula milk or even through breast milk.
2. Gas Relief Drops or Medicine
Your doctor may give drops or colic medicine for babies to ease out colic in your baby. Giving gripe water to babies is also recommended to relieve gas in babies.
3. Change in Formula Milk May Be Recommended
If colic is a result of lactose intolerance or allergy, then the doctor may prescribe a non-milk based formula for your baby. The hydrolyzed formula gets digested easily and is also lighter on your baby’s tummy.
Refrain from using or administering any kind of over-the-counter medicines for colic.
At Amrita Medical Center, our staff is happy to answer any of your questions and help you decide if the right fit for you. We even offer same day appointments for your convenience. Contact us here!