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 5 months old.
Many Medical people use a 3 rule diagnoses:
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 mean a stressed parent. Most 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 stressful.
A great resource teaching you how to calm your crying baby is: "The Happiest Baby" by Dr Harvey Karp
Most babies who are BREASTFEEDING need very frequent breatsfeeds; 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 the Mothers milk supply.
If baby is formula feeding, sometimes they respond better by feeding baby 2 hourly with ½ the amount in the feed which means more frequent feeds but less volume.
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. 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 the baby only cries louder.
A simple trick is to feed the baby and then use other methods to settle like the sleep/settling ideas and wait an hour between one feed and the next to allow the milk to be digested. Lots of wind in babies is easy 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. Get to know your tired signs and your baby's tired signs. Making your baby comfortable and learning how to settle them easily will help you feel more confident in your parenting.
Plunket have a 'tired signs' dvd but be warned, often it will 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.
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 advisable.
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.