Sometimes referred to as fussy baby syndrome, colic in newborns typically begins around two weeks after birth and continues up until the infant is four to five months old. The only way your baby can communicate their pain is through frequent and sometimes continuous crying. For new parents, actually determining what the problem is can be difficult.
Although the exact causes of colic are unknown, some doctors believe that immature digestive systems accompanied with an intolerance to lactose could be the reason whilst others suggest that a build up of gas in the intestinal tract, muscle spasms and even acid reflux could be to blame. Other schools of thought include an imbalance in hormone levels, hypersensitivity to sound and light or even immature nervous systems that require a period of adjustment before the infant feels comfortable.
Of course, it is always better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to the care of newborn babies. To that end, you should always consult with your doctor first to ensure that nothing else is causing your infants discomfort. If your doctor confirms that colic is indeed the problem, there a number of colic remedies that you can try.
The feeding patterns for your baby are the first thing to look at. If you are feeding your little one cows milk, try changing to breast-feeding if possible otherwise, trying a hypoallergenic formula, or adding Lactase may be the answer. If you are breastfeeding, you should avoid drinking either caffeine based beverages or cows milk yourself. Using bottles with plastic liners might cut the quantity of air swallowed and regular burping prevents the infant from getting an upset stomach. Colicky babies that spit up milk frequently, regurgitate or always shriek after feeding maybe lactose intolerant or suffering from infant acid reflux disorder.
Because many newborns have a difficult time adjusting to their new, sometimes over stimulating environment, you can try changing to something a little more peaceful and relaxing. Swaddle your colicky baby in blankets and put them in a front carrier rather than lying on their back looking at the ceiling. Alternatively, put the infant close to soft vibrations such as next to the tumble dryer or in the car. A gentle massage or a warm water bottle on the belly can help as can warm baths, pacifiers and infant swings.
There are other colic remedies recommended by paediatricians that are also worth a try. Colic gripe water is a natural herbal mixture that is well known for reducing digestive discomfort. Alternatively, homeopathic drops and herbal teas with chamomile or mint can also be effective
If after about four months, your baby still seems to be suffering with colic symptoms, is not feeding regularly or does not appear to be gaining any weight, you should seek advice from a paediatrician. This also applies if, as well as crying, your little one also has a fever, has frequent diarrhea or has bloody stools.