Almost all babies have a fussy period during the day in which it seems nothing you do will calm them down. It usually occurs at the end of the day, when you’re feeling exhausted from the days activities. These periods of crying can be extremely trying for parents, especially if you have other children demanding your time and attention. The good news is that these periods of crying generally don’t last very long. For most children, parents will see the crying peak at about 2-3 hours at 6 weeks of age and start to decline 1-2 hours by 4 months of age. Again, this is normal for most children.
For children that the crying gets worse and intensifies and lasts throughout the day or night, they probably have colic. About 20% of all babies will develop colic. Here are some signs that your baby may be developing colic:
1. Cries or screams inconsolably
2. Extends and pulls up their legs, passing gas
3. Their stomachs may feel or look enlarged or distended with gas
4. Crying may continue throughout the day and night, usually most intensely in the evening.
Although there’s no concrete evidence to support the exact cause of colic, it’s believed to be related to the baby’s sensitivity to stimulation. They’re simply unable to “self-console” or regulate their nervous system. As their nervous system matures, their ability to self-console will improve. In most cases it will resolve by the time the baby’s four months old, however, it can continue longer.
There are no sure fire remedies to cure colic. It can often be a matter of waiting for it to get better. However, there are some things you can do that may help reduce the symptoms of colic. Before you do anything, make sure to check with your baby’s healthcare provider to make sure the colic is not related to a more serious problem or illness.
1. For babies that are breastfeeding, try avoiding certain foods like milk containing products, caffeine, onions, cabbage, or any other irritating foods. For formula fed babies, talk to your pediatrician about a protein hydrolysate formula. If a food sensitivity is causing the symptoms, you should see an improvement within a few days of making these changes.
2. Be careful not to over feed your baby, which can cause discomfort. Your baby should be eating every 2 ½ to 3 hours.
3. Try walking your baby in a baby carrier. Being in contact with you, as well as the motion, will help comfort the baby.
4. Try using white noise while you rock the baby. Rythmic motion along with a calming sound will help the baby fall asleep.
5. Introduce a pacifier. Some breastfeeding babies will refuse it, while for others it will provide immediate relief.
6. Try laying the baby face down across your knees while you rub the baby’s back. The pressure on the baby’s tummy may provide some relief.
7. Swaddle the baby to provide warmth and security.
8. Use family and friends as resources so you can get away for a short period. Any parent who has experienced a baby with colic will attest to how tryng it is. Take advantage of our Night Nursing services to provide you with a few nights of uninterrupted sleep. It will make a huge difference in the long run when dealing with colic.
Visit www.restassuredinfantnursing.com/services for more information about Night Nursing
Source: healthychildren.org and the American Academy of Pediatrics.