Why wont my baby stop crying? Why wont my baby settle? Is it reflux? Is it gas pain? Is it Infant Colic?
The first few months of becoming new parents for some can be a very distressing time dealing with what is medically termed ‘Infant Colic’. Signs and symptoms include “episodes of crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, occurring more than 3 days in any week for 3 weeks in a healthy baby aged 2 weeks to 4 months”. The effect on families can be very distressing and it is important to have a good support network to help you through the emotional episodes.
In my experience, I spent waking nights crawling the Internet searching for answers. I did not even know what I was looking for, something I had not been given any warning or information leading up to the birth of my first baby. The term colic continued to pop up and I soon realised I was dealing with something different to the normal expected baby crying cues. She would constantly cry between feeds, a loud screech in pain and never seemed to feel relaxed and calm. A constant attempt to try soothing her became a regular routine for our household. When I attempted to find out what exactly causes colic (visiting GP’s and reading up on websites) they all came back with the unknown.
Some theories, holding little solid evidence, suggested indigestion, trapped wind or dietary sensitivities to proteins and sugars found in the milks. Recent research performed at the Department of Neurology, Division of Child Neurology, University of California, San Francisco has identified a different relationship; The relationship between migraine and infant colic. The review concluded cases of infant colic are associated with increased odds of migraine. This research suggests if colic were a type of migraine disorder, it would allow implications of a safe treatment intervention for families diagnosed with this type of behaviour in their babies.
Getting closer to a true diagnosis of infant colic commonly experienced in babies of today, is a breaking step forward for supporting mothers who spend agonising hours in frustration and tears trying to soothe an innocent hysterical baby. I know how hard it is, not to mention so very stressful to stay in control of the situation, try take a few deep breathes, be 100% engaged in your babies needs, patiently knowing this is just for now.
How to Comfort your Baby through Colicky times
I found the following techniques taken from Health Direct my go-to-guide for ways to soothe your baby during timed of colicky episodes. Please remember, each baby will respond to different methods, so just be patient and see what works best for you.
Holding your baby during a crying episode can sometimes help, as can wrapping them snugly in a blanket or baby sling.Hold your baby in different positions, such as on your shoulder, cradled in your arms or lying tummy-down along your forearm.Sit your baby upright during feeding to prevent them from swallowing air.Don’t drink too much tea, coffee and other caffeine containing drinks if you are breastfeeding. Some women also find that spicy food and alcohol can aggravate colic.Use a ‘fast flow’ teat if you are bottle-feeding, as holes in bottle teats that are too small may cause your baby to swallow air as they feed.Always burp your baby after a feed. To do this, sit your baby upright or hold them against your shoulder, making sure you support their neck and head. Gently rub their back and tummy until they burp. They may vomit a small amount of milk when you do this.Babies like movement, so pushing them around in their pram or pushchair or going for a drive can be comforting. Rocking them over your shoulder or carrying them around the house may also be helpful.Some babies find ‘white noise’ soothing. This is the background sound of a washing machine or vacuum cleaner.Gentle stomach or back rubs or a warm bath may also help to relieve colic.