Approximately 10 to 20% of babies suffer from colic every year. Some experts believe that it is closer to 1 out of 4 infants that will experience colicky symptoms. As a parent, it’s heartbreaking to feel helpless when your baby won’t stop crying. Don’t fear, we’re here to offer you tips to reduce your infant’s symptoms and signs of colic.
What exactly is Colic?
Colic is defined as uncontrollable crying that lasts for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, and for more than three weeks. Although pediatricians do not know exactly what causes colic, most believe it is associated with digestion issues. Most children who suffer from colic will develop colic during the first six weeks of life. Here are some common signs of colic:
- Burping often or passing a lot of gas. This is likely because of swallowing air while crying. It doesn’t cause colic.
- Having a bright red, flushed face
- Having a tight belly
- Curling up their legs toward their belly when crying
- Clenching their fists when crying
Even though colic is defined by uncontrollable and unsoothable crying, there are ways that you can reduce symptoms and signs of colic.
Small Feeds Closer Together
As soon as a baby starts to cry, it’s natural that you want to offer them a bottle or breast to soothe them. However, a colicky baby might not respond to this. Since digestive issues can cause symptoms to worsen, it is best to offer your child small amounts of food more often so that they can have time to digest what they have consumed before eating more. In addition to feeding them more often during the day, ensure that you hold your infant upright for at least 15 minutes after each feed.
Eliminate Dairy and Other Allergens
An intolerance to dairy and other allergens has been found to cause colicky symptoms and other digestive issues in children. If you are breastfeeding, try eliminating common allergens from your diet for a time. The top 8 allergens for infants are dairy, soy, gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, and fish. If you are formula feeding, your pediatrician may recommend that you use a dairy-free or soy-based formula. Always speak with your pediatrician before you change your child’s formula.
Sometimes a simple change of location or position can help settle your crying infant. For example, you can try going outside or simply walking into another room. Go for a car ride or put them in the stroller and go for a walk around the block. When you move to a new location, try to find a place with low light and minimal stimulation. Putting on a travel sound machine, soothing music, or a fan can also help soothe your infant.