What Is Colic?

The stats show that nearly twenty babies out of one hundred suffer from colic. What is it? How can the infant be comforted?

The stats show that nearly twenty babies out of one hundred suffer from colic. What is it? How can the infant be comforted?

Most colic seems to appear in the evening hours. A peaceful environment can suddenly be shattered by a baby's screams and everyone in the household realizes that it might last for hours. The first thing to do, of course, is to make sure that the baby has been properly fed, and doesn't require a diaper change. If the mother is breastfeeding, she will want to analyze her diet to see if something she is eating may be causing discomfort in the baby.

It is vital, when you suspect your baby may be colicky, to rule out physical, and certainly any medical problems before anything else. When those things are determined by your physician not to be the cause, it will be time to experiment with something that might work for soothing your baby.

Sometimes a short ride in the car will help. Physical contact with the baby might be all that is needed. In my own case, the only thing that worked was the baby hearing the vacuum cleaner. It is thought to imitate the sounds the baby heard in the womb before birth. I made a cassette recording of the vacuum when I realized it quieted her down almost immediately.

An infant swing could possibly be the charm that stops the crying. Or perhaps just walking around with the baby. Some parents have had luck with weak fennel tea, but it is essential to speak with your pediatrician before trying any home remedy of the sort. My own doctor had recommended the fennel, but others may not suggest the same.

So what is colic, exactly? There are many theories. Since no one knows the answer with certainty, it may be different causes for different babies. It could be a milk protein intolerance, a gastrointestinal, or central nervous system problem. It was long thought that pain of some sort was involved, but it hasn't been proven. In fact, in clinical tests, it has been shown that often there is NO pain involved.

A food allergy could cause colic-like crying, but it is not thought to be a cause of most colic in infants, just that the crying in those minority of cases is associated with an allergy. There will, with an allergy, appear other symptoms of the allergy, and can thus be treated.

If there is a gastrointestinal problem, it will generally appear with excessive spitting up. The spitting up will also be present with a milk intolerance.

Having a colicky baby as an inhabitant of the house is extremely stressful. There is comfort in the fact that babies generally outgrow it by 5 months, often before. Don't be afraid to ask your physician for advice. He or she will want to rule out medical causes for the crying before anything else.

If the thought should cross your mind that your parenting skills are lacking because you can't calm the baby, this is not the case. It also does not reflect on your parenting if you need a short break from the crying occasionally. Be sure the baby is safe with a responsible adult and take a walk or drive. Listen to music. Everyone has his own way to reduce anxiety.

Enjoy your baby. The time will come very soon that the episodes of colic will be far in the past.

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