Many Medical people have come to the conclusion that Colic is not a disease but a time of unexplained crying in a healthy baby from the age of 2 weeks and until about 16 weeks old.
Many Medical people use a 3 rule diagnoses:
My Advice on dummy use, this can sometimes help baby settle BUT...
Many Natural Practitioners also agree that nobody truly knows what colic is, but many believe it can be prevented by an awareness of each individual baby’s medical and birth history, as well as the baby’s eating, sleeping and crying patterns.
This often can be a stressful time for parents. Many parents with a crying baby need to ensure they get a break and take turns to look after the baby and themselves because it can become very distressing. Spending time with your baby in a relaxed and stress free environment can help you to get to know your baby cues. Lots of cuddling and touching that is not related to tasks like feeding , nappy changing or bathing. Just time spent talking, seeing how your baby responds to you can release lots of oxytocin this helps you bond together and feel happy. Taking your baby outside makes you feel good and also gives your baby lots of sensory stimulation which will help your baby feel relaxed. Trying some gentle touch or baby massage is a wonderful way for babies to connect with a parent.
A great resource teaching you how to calm your crying baby is: "The Happiest Baby" by Dr Harvey Karp
Most babies will want to feed 8 -12 x off each breast in a 24 hr period so they are happy and relaxed with regular weight gains of 200-250gm in the first 16 weeks of life.
Most babies who are breastfeeding need very frequent breastfeeds; especially in the mornings and also 1-2 hourly in the evenings between 4pm and 10pm approx. If they are not fed they will cry and scream the house down. These feeds are low in volume but high in fat and are important for growth as well as for maintaining a mothers milk supply.
If your baby is having breastmilk via a bottle feeding or for formula feeding, sometimes they respond better by pace bottle feeding your baby 2 hourly with ½ the amount in the feed which means more frequent feeds but less volume. This helps you cue into what your baby wants which will be better for their digestion.
The good news is that most babies after this period of frequent feeds then have a longer sleep maybe 3-4-or even 5+ hours which means more sleep for parents.
A windy baby is much harder to settle, this also can make it stressful for parents. If the feeds are too frequent or the flow very fast at these colicky times and the baby does not have any breaks in between each feed then the baby’s immature gut can become very uncomfortable and bloated, then your baby only cries louder.
The gut is known as the 2nd brain so if we can keep a baby happy and relaxed then they will digest their milk easier.
A simple trick is to feed your baby in a relaxed manner via the breast but also allowing the baby to come off the breast when they are ready. If you are bottle feeding then try pace bottle feeding. Then use other methods to settle your baby like the sleep/settling ideas such as cuddling, rocking, shushing then wait an hour between one feed and the next to allow the milk to be digested. When you stay relaxed it is often easier to solve with a bit of knowledge and awareness.
ColiCalm works to help settle digestive upsets.
An overtired baby at the end of the day will make the crying even louder. An over tired mother will not cope with this crying very well. Take time to get to know your baby in the first 6-8 weeks in a relaxed cued in manner. Making your baby comfortable and learning how to settle them easily will help you feel more confident in your parenting.
Many parents get taught tired signs but this can be very stressful when your baby doesn't respond or fit into the tired signs advice. Be reassured it will often take you a good 6 weeks to 3+ months to really get to know what your baby's tired signs are.
A baby that has had a difficult birth (for example C/section, forceps or ventouse or a very fast birth) can leave the digestive system in tension, trapping wind or maybe with stress in other parts of their body. Any strain through the umbilical cord - for instance - if it was around the baby's neck, can add tension in the abdomen.
Babies have immature gut linings and this changes as they drink breastmilk and develop. If mothers or babies have been exposed to antibiotics then it can be advisable to give you and your baby some probiotics so they can digest their milk a little easier.
The baby’s head normally re-moulds itself after birth whilst the baby is crying and feeding. If the birth has been long, difficult or a caesarean birth then the re-moulding process may be incomplete. Consulting with an osteopath or a chiropractor maybe some thing to consider.
Massage can be therapeutic for both baby and parents alike.
Acupressure; gentle massage with pressure to the area between the thumb and index finger of either hand sometimes helps to calm a crying baby.
Massaging the abdomen gently at nappy changing times can be quite relaxing to babies. If your baby does not like this try giving a gentle back massage at tummy time and see if this will help calm your baby.
Applying warm compresses or holding your hand firmly over the child's abdomen can also relieve cramping.
Use olive oil for massaging.
Most babies love movement especially the gentle rocking that they experienced inside the womb. Most Parents find it hard work to keep the movement going. So investing in a sling or front-pack is an easy way to help your baby stay calm and settled.
But if this is not suitable try a bouncer or a pram/stroller in the house that you can rock or sometimes a rocking cradle or swing.
Our babies are used to the noises in the womb, which they say, can be louder than a vacuum cleaner to a baby. Sometimes our houses have over stimulating noise or the opposite ,we try to being to quiet. Reassuring sounds to a baby can make them feel calm and relaxed.
Many babies love the calming effect of water. Sometimes climbing into a deep bath with your baby can help them to stop crying especially after a feed and a massage. Or feed them while you are both in the bath. Sometimes even just running the tap so they can hear water is enough to calm them.
Homeopathy, Flower essences, Herbal teas have all shown benefits to help babies and parents stay calm and relaxed in times of stress.
Rescue Remedy is a must to have in the cupboard to give to the whole family. Babies can have rescues remedy rubbed into the soles of their feet if you do not want to give it orally.