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Frequently Asked Questions about Colic

 

A newborn child crying.

A newborn child crying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Colic can be a frustrating situation, and parents of colicky babies often worry about what exactly is going on. Colic is defined as a baby that cries over three hours straight at least three days in a week for at least a period of three weeks.

Colic doesn’t cause any long-term difficulties for your baby, but it can be a hard thing to deal with for the both of you.

Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions about colic:

How long does colic last?

Colic is a temporary condition. It tends to be greatest at around the age of six weeks. It tends to show great improvement when your baby is between three and four months old. By the time your baby hits five months of age, colic will usually pass.

Why does my baby have colic?

That’s actually a very good question. Researchers know that about 1 in 5 babies will be colicky. It’s as common for firstborns as it is for those born later. There doesn’t seem to be any difference between boys and girls or breastfed and formula fed babies. There are plenty of possible causes out there. Gastrointestinal causes seem possible, as a newborn is still undergoing development of the digestive tract.

Does my baby need to see the doctor?

If your baby is crying frequently enough to be considered colic, you should definitely talk to your doctor. Your doctor can rule out other possible causes, such as a urinary tract infection or an intestinal infection. If your baby is feverish, experiencing vomiting or has blood in the stool, you should see the doctor immediately. These symptoms aren’t caused by colic.

Can the wrong food cause colic?

For breastfed babies, sometimes the mother’s diet can impact a baby’s gastrointestinal system, and cause colic. Stay away from spicy foods, and foods that your baby might be allergic to. The same is true with formula-fed babies; you might talk to your doctor about switching to a formula without lactose, just in case.

 

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Shaken Baby Syndrome and Colic

 

Shaken baby syndrome occurs when, due to shaking, a baby’s brain rebounds against his or her skull. This impact can cause the brain to bleed, swell, and bruise. This, in turn, can lead to any number of problems, including cognitive delays, learning disabilities, mental retardation, hearing loss, blindness, impaired use of the arms or legs, paralysis, problems with speech, and even spinal injury. Shaken baby syndrome leads to death for around one out of every four victims. Another quarter of the victims of shaken baby syndrome will survive only to die later due to a related injury.

Shaken baby syndrome is almost never caused by accident. Half of the time, the baby is shaken by a parent. The other half of the time, it is someone else in the baby’s life such as a caregiver. Often, shaken baby syndrome occurs when a baby will not stop crying and the parent or caregiver loses control of his or her temper. Because of this, shaken baby syndrome tends to occur more among babies that have colic than other babies. It is not that the colic causes the shaken baby syndrome, obviously, but rather that a colicky baby is going to cry more, which in turn raises the chances that a parent or caregiver will shake them.

There are some remedies that you can try in order to reduce colic. From supplements such as those contained in gripe water to using CDs with white noise, parents of babies with colic have successfully used a variety of things to help their baby with colic to settle down. Again, it is important to remember that it is not the colic, but the adult, that causes shaken baby syndrome.

If you feel as though you are out of control due to a baby with colic, you should do everything that you can to avoid losing your temper. Whether it is simply allowing your baby to cry for a minute or two while you go to another room and relax, or whether it is through another method, you need to be aware of your temper level and be ready to regain control. If you feel as though you might harm your baby, you can certainly call a health care provider, or even emergency services or 911. Asking for help from another adult, such as a friend, spouse or parent can also help you to relieve your stress at the baby’s colic long before shaken baby syndrome ever becomes a danger.

Posted in Colic |
Best Suggestions for Soothing Your Colicky Baby

 

There are very few things more trying for new parents than dealing with colic. There are few things that make you feel more helpless than when your baby starts crying incessantly for no apparent reason. Worse, there doesn’t seem to be much you can do to help.

Colic is loosely defined as a condition which causes babies to cry for no apparent reason. Often, this crying begins at roughly the same time day after day. It usually starts when baby is about six weeks old, and generally lasts until baby is three or four months old. Colic affects about one in four babies. All babies cry, and they all occasionally cry without apparent reason. Your baby has colic if she:

  • Cries for three hours or more at a time, and
  • Had crying episodes three times or more per week, and
  • This continues for at least three weeks

No one is really sure what causes colic. We do know that 25% of babies have colic. In some cases (about 10%), the colic seems to be related to the baby’s diet.

While there is no sure-fire cure for colic, there are a number of things you can try. With any luck, one or more of them will help soothe your baby. At the very least, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re doing everything you can.

When your baby is colicky, try one of these suggestions:

  • Swaddle your baby. This reminds baby of the comfy womb, and is especially helpful with younger babies.
  • Change baby’s diet. If you are formula feeding, switch to a low allergy formula. If you breast feed your baby, cut out milk and milk products, broccoli, onions, cabbage, beans, and other foods that make us gaseous. You should also eliminate caffeine.
  • Gently rock or sway with baby. Most babies find rhythmic movement to be soothing.
  • Stick to a feeding schedule. It’s easy to assume baby is hungry, but if you’re not careful, this can result in overfeeding your baby, which can make her even fussier.

Most importantly, hang in there. It’s tough to have a colicky baby, but your baby will grow out of it.

 

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