Colic in Babies: Natural Remedies to Soothe Your Colicky Baby
What is Colic?
During the first few weeks of bringing your baby home, your baby may suddenly burst into a distressing cry that goes on for hours for no apparent reason. Is this excessive crying accompanied by clenched fists and a reddened face? And does it seem impossible to soothe your crying baby? Then you might be dealing with colic.
Colic is a common condition that causes a healthy baby to cry for hours for no apparent reason, even after feeding, changing or soothing. This excessive crying is not an indication of any health issues, and colic neither harmful nor dangerous to your baby.
Normal Crying vs. Colic
While crying may indicate many things, this distressing pattern of excessive crying is easily identified by the rule of 3 pattern - crying for more than 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks. It usually occurs at the same time of the day, often in the early evening.
Unlike normal crying, colicky babies often appear distressed or in pain, and it is very difficult to soothe them. You may also notice the following signs:
Face may redden
Limbs are tightened, arched back or clenched fists
High-pitched crying or screaming
Very difficult to soothe them
What Causes Colic?
While it may be distressing to hear your baby cry for an extended period of time, colic is very common and affects up to 30% of infants during the first few months of birth. In most cases, colic comes and goes away on its own with no ill effect on your baby. Even today, there are no known causes of colic. However, some experts have theorised that colicky behaviour could arise from overstimulation of a baby’s senses, digestion problems or even food allergies.
The first step in dealing with colic is to rule out other possible causes of discomfort. If you notice any of the following symptoms accompanying your baby’s intense crying, call your doctor right away.
Low energy level
Has loose stools or blood in stool
Losing weight or not gaining weight
For peace of mind, you can also schedule a paediatrician visit for the doctor to examine your baby and determine that you are indeed dealing with colic. Use this opportunity to discuss possible coping strategies or remedies to manage your colicky baby.
How To Effectively Treat Colic?
Since nobody knows the exact cause of colic, the only remedy is to try and comfort your baby until the colic has passed. The good news is that most babies outgrow colic by the time they are 3 to 4 months old. Here are some soothing strategies that you can try.
Try the ‘Colic Carry’
This method may help relieve gas and stomach discomfort for your little ones. Lay your baby face-down with her tummy on your forearm and cradle the head using your hand. Gently rub your baby’s back a few times and the light pressure on the tummy may help relieve uncomfortable gas.
Soothe with Sound and Motion
You can soothe a crying baby with rhythmic noises from a white noise machine, as it reminds them of the womb. Babies also tend to be comforted by their mother’s voice, so try repeating words like ‘shh’ or ‘ahh’ to calm your baby.
Studies have also shown that swinging or rocking motions are very effective to calm a crying baby and even induce sleep, as it mimics the gentle movements experienced in the womb. Try cradling your baby in your arms and walking around, or you can even use a rocking chair. It helps to swaddle your baby so that they feel an additional sense of security and comfort during this stressful period.
Choose a Bottle That Helps Your Baby Swallow Less Air
Colicky babies tend to have a lot of gas build-up in their tummy because they swallow too much air from crying. When you are bottle-feeding, switch to a 100% vacuum free bottle for air-free feeding to reduce any excessive air. Dr. Brown’s™ Options+™ Anti-Colic Bottle is clinically proven to minimise burping and gas that often make colicky babies uncomfortable. Its patented anti-colic internal vent system reduces uncomfortable gas build-up and aids in digestion for a good night’s sleep.
Designed alongside medical professionals, the breast-like nipple shape offers a more natural bottle-feeding experience and eases the transition from breast to bottle and back again. This uniquely-engineered bottle nipple ensures a steady and natural flow rate that is comfortable for your baby and is specially designed to reduce colic and discomfort.