Understanding Colic in Babies: The Causes and How to Deal with It
Many new parents have heard the term “colic” but may not fully understand what it means. When a baby is crying excessively for no apparent reason, it is often referred to as colic. However, before assuming that your baby is colicky, it is important to know what the condition really entails. In this article, we will delve into the causes of colic, what to expect, and how you can deal with it.
What is Colic?
Colic is not a disease but rather a very common condition which occurs in infants. It can be described as a period of excessive crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Colicky babies may cry for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, and for more than three weeks in a row. The condition usually begins around the age of two weeks for full-term infants and disappears when the baby is about three to four months old.
Does Excessive Crying Mean Your Baby has Colic?
It is normal for newborns to cry frequently, but if your healthy baby is crying excessively for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of colic. Pediatricians often use the “rule of threes” to determine if a baby has colic or not. The criteria for colic include crying bouts that start when a baby is at least three weeks old, crying bouts that last for more than three hours a day, and crying bouts that last for more than three days in a week for more than three weeks in a row.
What Causes Colic?
The exact cause of colic remains unknown, but there are several theories surrounding why babies have colic. Some experts believe that an imbalance of bacteria in the gut may play a role. Others suggest that it could be a natural developmental stage that some babies go through as they adjust to life outside the womb. Another theory is that colic stems from an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin, which may be found in colicky babies, could be responsible for the intestinal muscles contracting.
How to Deal with Colic
If you suspect your baby has colic, it is essential to discuss the matter with your pediatrician. Pediatricians often recommend using the “Five S’s” to soothe a colicky baby: swaddling, swinging baby, shooshing loudly in baby’s ear, laying her on her stomach or side, and allowing baby to suck on a pacifier. However, some babies may not respond to these interventions, and it is all based on trial and error. It is essential to try one intervention at a time to see if it calms your baby. It is important to remember that colic can get better on its own. Sometimes, you may just have to wait for the fussiness to improve. This could happen after three to four months.
Dealing with your Colicky Baby
Having a colicky baby can be challenging for parents, and sometimes it can be frustrating to deal with. Parents can often feel guilty or resentful for feeling that way. However, it is normal to feel such emotions, and no one would like to be put up to the challenges of a colicky baby. At some point, the crankiness will pass, and your baby will get back to his or her normal habits.
In conclusion, colic is a common condition that can occur in infants. If you suspect your baby has colic, it is important to discuss the matter with your pediatrician and explore available options for soothing your baby. Remember, colic can get better on its own, and it is essential to remain patient and hopeful that your baby will get back to her or his normal habits with time.