Colic in Babies is Not a Disorder – Know the Causes and Symptoms

You will know your baby is colicky when she cries uncontrollable all day and night, and when she’spractically inconsolable.

Your otherwise healthy baby will be considered colicky if she/he cries non-stop for 3 hours that continues more than few days and even weeks. Colic in babies occursin infants younger than 5 months old. However, colic isn’t a disease in contradiction to what most of us feel. Although it doesn’t cause any physical or internal harm to the baby, it does affect the baby’s and parents’ mental state.

No one enjoys a crying baby; especially when the baby cannot express her problems and needs, we almost feel helpless.

Colic in Babies is Not a Disorder

What is Colic?

Colic is a combination of indescribable behaviours or you can say growth sprouts that set your child on a crying spree – often time it starts exactly at the same hour and continues through the night/day. These bouts are common in 1 out of 5 infants. You can try many things to cope with this; it is extremely difficult to pacify a colicky baby and is quite exhausting too.

On the brighter side, colic in babies does not last long. The peak time of colic is 6 weeks and it starts to gradually decrease by the time the baby is 10 – 12 weeks. At the end of 3 months most infants will be miraculously cured from colic. However, it lasts a little longer in preterm babies.

Colic usually stops gradually or vanishes all of a sudden; the process varies in each child. Since, it is a hopeless situation, all you can do is musterlittle patience and be prepared for the wailings.

Causes of Colic

There is not one particular cause for colic and it still remains a big mystery. However, colic in babies is not a result of heredity, lack of nutrition or parenting skills and it’s not anyone’s fault. Some possible theories linked to colicky babies include:

  • Oversensitive to Stimuli – They become sensitive to the sounds and all the new sensations around them. The new world overwhelms their stress level making them cry. Colic ends when the baby learns to filter the sounds or stimuli of environment.
  • Immature Digestive System –The brand new gastrointestinal system in babies find it hard to digest food in the beginning. As food passes too quickly to breakdown, it results in pain and gas in intestine.
  • Acid Reflux in Infants – GERD is a result of underdeveloped esophageal sphincter, the muscle that keeps the stomach acid flowing upwards into the throat and mouth.
  • Food Allergies – Although, breast milk is safest for babies, sometimes what the mother consumes such as certain foods, cause an allergic reaction in the baby. 
  • Tobacco – Some studies reveal that colic can occur in infants whose moms smoke during or after pregnancy.

Symptoms of Colic in Babies

The 3 common symptoms of colic are related to crying… If the baby crying;

  1. Is non-stop and lasts for 3 hours or more
  2. Continues more than 2 – 3 weeks in a row
  3. Occurs at least 3 -4 days a week

Apart from these, other signs of a colicky baby are;

  1. Crying at the same time of the day (generally late afternoon or early evening)
  2. Crying for no reason (even if you have just fed or just changed the diaper)
  3. Varying facial reactions while crying – cringing eye or wide eyes, furrowed brows or even brief holdsof breath
  4. Your child may pull his legs up and clench his fists
  5. May generally fidget with his hands and legs
  6. Increased bowel activity like passing gas often or spitting up milk
  7. Fussy and cranky breastfeeding habits
  8. Disturbed sleeps, will most often wake up cranky. Will ask for milk, yet reject the nipple after few sucks.

What Can You Do to Cope with Colic?

  1. Respond promptly to the baby’s cries. She cries to communicate her problem. And your immediate response may soothe her.
  1. Limit visitors or steer clear of any external stimuli that can irritate the baby’s senses.
  1. Create a calming environment, exactly how your baby felt inside your womb. You can dim the lights and keep noises to minimum. You can also add some “white noises” to make her fall asleep.
  1. Burp your baby, if you feel the reason behind colic is acid reflux or gastrointestinal issues.
  1. Apply pressure on baby’s tummy. Colicky babies find relief when pressure is placed on the abdomen.
  1. Watch what you eat. Eliminate foods that cause reactions in your baby. Such foods include cabbage, cauliflower, citrus and other allergenic foods like nuts, fish, dairy and eggs.


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