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Colic usually develops within the first few weeks of your baby's life, and it is a confusing condition for parents. Because the symptoms are similar to a myriad of other concerns, it can be hard to know when your baby has colic and when it's something more serious. Here's what you need to know.
Colic in babies may be defined as crying for over 3 hours per day, more than 3 times per week, for more than 3 weeks. A colicky baby is usually healthy, but cries a lot more, often for no clear reason. Researchers estimate that 1 in every 10 babies has colic.
While colic can be baffling and distressing for both you and your baby, it is not a disease. However, it can be hard to cope with a new baby at the best of times, so when your baby is constantly upset, it is only natural to feel stressed.
The general signs of colic are similar to the symptoms of other conditions, so do pay close attention to the specifics. Take note if your baby:
If your baby stops crying after feeding, changing or being soothed, it is not colic. It's normal for babies to cry when they need something, and to stop crying once the need has been fulfilled.
No one knows the exact cause of colic, though doctors believe certain things may trigger colic in babies, such as:
Although colic in babies does not usually have an underlying cause, colic can sometimes be an indication of an illness that causes your baby pain or discomfort.
Since babies cannot speak, an infection or illness may make your baby distressed. Heart or brain issues, as well as external and internal injuries, can also present colic-like symptoms. If you cannot seem to find the cause of your baby's distressed behaviour, or you suspect your baby may have an underlying condition, it is recommended to speak to your doctor.
It's only natural for parents to look for any remedy, such as gripe water, in order to try soothing a colicky baby. However, it can be hard to know which remedies are safe or effective.
Gripe water is a liquid made with a variety of herbs to help soothe your baby. It is marketed to parents as a treatment to ease gas, colic, and other baby ailments such as teething pain and hiccups.
There are many formulations available. Some of them may contain sugar or alcohol, and a mixture of different herbs, such as:
While gripe water is easily available from pharmacies, health food stores, and grocery stores, do note that it is not considered a medication hence they may not have undergone the same rigorous testing that is performed on medicines. As its formulations vary widely, you may want to consider other options for your baby's colic.
If your baby has colic and your doctor has ruled out any underlying problems, there are some some natural home remedies you can try to comfort them when they become colicky. These include:
Some people might suggest remedies for colic that pose risks to your baby. You should avoid:
Most cases of colic in newborns can be relieved with natural home remedies. However, you should take your baby to the doctor or A&E should you notice the following symptoms:
At the end of the day, be assured that your baby will outgrow colic, and will not cry forever. The challenging times will eventually pass. If you have any concerns at all, take your baby to see a doctor or paediatrician. They will be able to rule out any underlying illness and give you advice on how to manage colic.