There are few things as frustrating for new parents as when their baby cries, unless it’s crying that can’t be soothed, or that seems more like screaming from intense pain than an expression of hunger or other modest complaint.
Welcome to the world of colic. Though not every child develops it, and though it’s temporary for those that do, this is little solace for parents faced with the experience. There are, however, techniques you can try to reduce or eliminate colic symptoms. If these actions produce no results, though, book an exam for your baby with Katy Pediatric Associates to rule out other potential causes for the fussiness.
It’s hard to know what level of crying is normal, since it varies from child to child. Generally, colic refers to crying that lasts for three or more hours per day, three or more times per week, with the pattern lasting for three or more weeks.
However, there are usually other patterns that emerge too. These include:
- Crying without an associated reason, such as hunger or a full diaper
- Crying that’s more intense than usual, accompanied by a red face
- Remaining fussy even after crying stops
- Episodes occur in a regular pattern, starting about the same time each day
- Your child’s body is tense, with stiffened arms and legs, clenched fists, and arched back
Symptoms may pause or end when your child has a bowel movement or passes gas. There seems to be a connection between episodes of colic and gastrointestinal issues. Fortunately, colic won’t cause any health problems for your child, but the effects of stress on parents can often be substantial.
Solutions to your baby’s colic
Despite the apparent connection to the gastrointestinal system, there are other factors that may be at work to produce colic. Multiple origins or combinations of factors may exist, and to date, there’s no sure-fire way to avoid the distress of colic.
There are, however, things that often succeed in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of colic, typically measures aimed to improve your baby’s comfort, adjust the way their developing digestive system works, or ease the effects of environmental overstimulation. One tip might work, or you might need a combination of several.
Sometimes, placing your baby face down seems to ease colic. Similarly, placing your hand on their abdomen can be calming. Pressure on their tummies seems to be key, and the change of position might be welcome. However, with newborns, place them on their tummies only when they’re awake and you’re watching them.
After feeding, reclining or laying positions may aggravate digestion, causing acid reflux due to the young state of their esophageal sphincter. Give your baby some vertical time immediately after feeding.
Though it’s not always easy to hold a baby screaming with colic, increased contact through the day may help ease symptoms that evening. Consider a baby carrier to keep your child close while remaining productive.
Stay in motion
Repetitive motion, like rocking in your arms, can soothe and comfort a child. Swinging chairs and car rides are other activities that may ease the effects of colic.
Changing formulas may ease intestinal discomfort or acid reflux issues. Give any attempt a few days to work, since it takes time for your child’s system to adjust.
There are many other simple options, including white noise, gas drops, or swaddling. Don’t wait, though, until you’re at your wit’s end to contact Katy Pediatric Associates. They’re available by phone at 281-492-7676, or online for appointment bookings, and their assistance may help you find your colic solution. Schedule your baby’s exam today.