What’s Colic and How to Deal with It?

How To Treat Colic

Does your baby cry for hours together, every day and every night, and the crying has worn you down to a point where you feel like joining in? If your answer is yes, this article is for you to know how to treat Colic and how to get rid of it.

What Is Colic?

Colic is frequent bouts of crying for a prolonged period for what appears to be abdominal pain in infants. In case your baby cries for more than three hours a day on a regular basis, it is possible that your baby may have Colic.

It begins a few weeks after birth and can last until two to four months. It worsens between four to six weeks of age. Colic(1) ends for 50% of cases after three months, and in 90% of cases, after nine months of the baby’s birth.

Having said that, there’s no clear reason for Colic. Even though babies may cry a great deal, Colic is neither dangerous nor harmful, and according to experts, Colic has no long-term effects.

Symptoms of Colic

The following symptoms may appear in an otherwise healthy and well-fed baby if the baby is suffering from Colic.

  • The most major symptom of Colic in a baby is intense crying every day. It often occurs between late afternoon and evening.
  • Crying that may seem more like screaming or an expression of pain.
  • Clenching of fists, drawing up of legs to tummies, arching of backs.
  • Red or flushed face.
  • High-pitched screams.
  • Crying for no apparent reason (e.g. they are not hungry and neither do they need a nappy change).
  • Irregular sleeping patterns interspersed with sporadic episodes of crying.
  • Increased bowel activity. The baby may pass gas or spit-up.

Babie s with Colic often need to be held and comforted more.

Difference Between Colic and Ordinary Crying

There is no clear explanation of how Colic differs from normal crying if at all it does. But experts unanimously agree that one noticeable difference between Colic and ordinary crying is that the baby is almost inconsolable. Crying turns to screaming, and the ordeal lasts for at least three hours, and sometimes much longer.

How to Treat Colic?

CURE 1: Home Remedies

Colic is a common occurrence in infants. It isn’t harmful, so medication is not usually recommended. It is a natural phenomenon and parents should learn to keep their patience. But, if in case the crying is too much, or it gets more stressful, there are things you, as a parent, can do to try and avoid possible triggers. There are also things you can do to try to soothe the baby and reduce crying.

If your baby has Colic, try some of these simple home remedies to cure your baby’s colic.

Here are some things you can do to get rid of Colic.

1. Soothing Baby with Motions

baby in arms
Image:ShutterStock

Try rocking the baby in your arms or in the cradle. You can also do this while sitting in a rocking chair. Move around the house with the baby in your arms or in a sling. The movement can help calm and soothe your upset baby.

2. Sounds to Calm the Crying Baby

Repetitive calming and soothing music can distract your baby and relieve tension. Therefore, playing soothing music is a good idea; it will not only soothe your baby but will also help you relax. Check to see what music works for your baby best and use that.

3. Holding Them Upright After Feeding Them

Holding your baby upright on your shoulder after feeding them helps them burp. This helps in relieving gas and also prevents air pockets from forming in the stomach. The best way of doing this is:

  • After you feed the baby, lay it against your shoulder.
  • Support your baby’s neck and shoulders carefully.
  • Gently rub or pat on its back till you hear a burp sound.
  • Do this after each feeding.

4. A Warm Bath

A warm, gentle bath is a natural remedy for colic in babies. This remedy has been in use for ages.

Give your baby a warm bath so that they can relieve some tension and distract them from the pain.

Fill up a tub with warm water. Lay your baby in the bath and gently massage the abdomen of your baby. This helps relieve gas.

Colic will not have a permanent impact on your baby.

5. The Classic Knee Pushing Exercise

This simple exercise can help relieve gas in the baby, resulting in relieving the distress and calming your baby. The best way to perform this exercise is:

  • Lay your baby on its back.
  • Hold your baby’s knees together and gently push the legs back towards the tummy.
  • Hold the legs in that position for a few seconds.
  • You can do this exercise even while massaging the baby.
  • Do not persist if the baby offers a lot of resistance.

6. Take Baby Out

Take your baby out for some fresh air and sunlight in a stroller. This may seem uncanny, but it helps with Colic as it distracts the baby and can help cheer your baby up.

7. Breastfeeding Mother Should Watch Her Diet

women diet
Image:ShutterStock

If you are breastfeeding your baby, keep track of what you eat and drink as what the mother eats is passed on to the baby during breastfeeding, and it may affect the baby. Therefore it is important to regulate your diet suitably.

Colic usually reaches its peak at 6-8 weeks after birth.

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CURE 2: Essential Oils

1. Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla or Chamaemelum Nobile)

Lack of sleep can lead to colic in babies. German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile are gentle essential oils that can be beneficial for babies who have trouble sleeping. Some researches show that Chamomile helps relieve anxiety and depression.

Why Does This Work?

Chamomile has a soothing effect and has been used to treat insomnia in babies and adults since ages.

How to Use?

Chamomile, along with Lavender, can relieve symptoms of Colic. Or, a gentle massage with the oil may help you get rid of colic. Make sure to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil like olive oil as the essential oil is very concentrated.

How Much to Use?

Take a few drops of the essential oil and dilute it with a carrier oil. Take the mixture in your palm and massage your baby’s chest with it.

[Also Read: Lavender Oil for Babies]

2. Dill (Anethum Sowa)

Dill is a calming, antispasmodic oil that can help soothe indigestion, which again, is one of the leading causes of colic in babies.

Why Does This Work?

Dill is used to resolving digestion problems, including loss of appetite, intestinal gas (flatulence), and liver problems. It also helps with urinary tract disorders as well. Dill also treats fever and colds, cough, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, infections, spasms, nerve pain, genital ulcers, and sleep disorder, which are all reasons that lead to colic in babies.

How to Use?

To get the best results, dilute it in any normal carrier oil, blend it thoroughly, and massage your baby with the mixture.

How Much to Use?

To make a mixture, dilute dill oil with a carrier oil in a ratio of 1:3.

3. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Radiata)

Eucalyptus Oil
Image:ShutterStock

Eucalyptus is a natural expectorant that can help unclog your baby’s respiratory congestion and help it breathe effortlessly. A clogged respiratory system may lead to discomfort in a baby. The fact that eucalyptus helps with the respiratory system makes it a favorite during cold winter months.

Why Does It Work?

The oil that comes from the eucalyptus tree is used as an antiseptic. It has a number of medicinal properties. It cures colds and respiratory problems, fungal infections and wounds, and much more.

How to Use?

Gently massage your baby’s chest with a mixture of eucalyptus oil and any carrier oil.

How Much to Use?

Just a few drops that are sufficient enough to massage the baby.

Note: Eucalyptus Radiata is a different species than the commonly found Eucalyptus Globulus. Children and infants should use Eucalyptus Radiata. While Eucalyptus Globulus is safe for adults, it should not be used on children under the age of two. Contact your pediatrician before using eucalyptus to ease respiratory symptoms.

4. Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Tea tree oil has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties and it also works as a disinfectant. Since rashes and infections can also be a cause of Colic, tea tree oil can help alleviate it by treating rashes.

[Also Read: Oatmeal Bath to Treat Diaper Rashes]

Why Does It Work?

The oil possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

How To Use It?

Making a mixture by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to an unscented oil or baby oil, and massaging the baby with the mixture can help with diaper rash and fungal infections.

[Also Read: Home Remedies for Diaper Rash]

How Much To Use?

Tea Tree is a strong oil and can be harsh on the skin of your baby, so it is important to make sure that you use just a minimal amount of it with any other baby oil.

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See Also
how to get rid of Cramps

CURE 3: Herbs

1. Asafoetida

Asafoetida
Image:ShutterStock

Asafoetida (Hing) is an Indian home remedy for Colic in infants. It has multiple health benefits. It cures stomach aches, improves oral health, promotes proper digestion, works as a natural enzyme, and treats Colic aches.

Why Does It Work?

Asafoetida has anti-flatulence properties, aids digestion and relieves gas.

 

[Also Read: How to Get Rid of Baby Hiccups ]

How and How Much to Use?

Add a pinch of Asafoetida to one teaspoon of water and warm it up. Rub this mixture around the baby’s navel while it’s still warm. If your baby has started eating solid foods, mix some asafoetida in their water or food.

2. Basil

Why Does It Work?

Basil, an aromatic herb, that contains large amounts of eugenol, which has antispasmodic and sedative properties, can help deal with gastrointestinal problems. Since gastrointestinal problems are one of the reasons of Colic in babies, curing it may help get rid of Colic.

How and How Much to Use?

To get the best results of Basil for Colic, take a few Basil leaves and add it to some water. Boil it and then cool it in room temperature. Give a few teaspoons of this mixture to your baby to drink.

Alternatively, make a paste of the leaves and apply it around the navel. Keep it on until it dries off and then remove it with water and a cloth.

Colic will not last forever, and it will go away with time. It’s just a few months of stress that parents have to go through.


FAQs

1. What is Colic in babies?

Baby Colic, is defined as the constant crying or an attack of crying for no apparent reason.

2. How long does Colic last?

Colic ends for 50% of cases around three months and in 90% of cases by nine months of age.

3. Is Colic worse at night?

When babies cry the intake of air is more than normal, this can happen while feeding too, and this becomes gas. Sometimes this gas makes it more painful for the baby at night, as most of the digestion in our body takes place at night.

4. Is Colic dangerous?

No. It is not. Even though the babies cry a lot, it is neither harmful nor will it have long term effect.

5. Does Colic go away?

Yes, it does. It will disappear at the age of 3 or 4 months.

6. How common is Colic?

Colic is very common. It affects about 40% of children. It is most common at six weeks of age.

7. Is Colic hereditary?

There is no study confirming the fact that colic could be hereditary. Parents who have not had cramps have had colicky babies and vice versa. So, if your baby has colic, gas, or any other type of intestinal discomfort, it is just coincidence, and nothing genetic.

8. Is it okay to let a newborn cry?

It’s okay to put the baby down in a safe space for a few minutes to give yourself a break.

9. Does Colic come on suddenly?

Colic does begin suddenly; it is mostly loud and non-stop crying.

A baby with Colic is not only discouraging to see but it is also an ordeal for new parents. This can be very frustrating. But this is a natural phenomenon and there are ways you can help mitigate the symptoms of it. Seek help from your partner, parents, relatives, or hire a caretaker. It’s okay to hand over your baby to someone else whom you trust for a while. You, as parents, should take care of your health too, as your health has an indirect effect on your baby’s health. You too need to relax and get rid of the stress. But if things get out of hand, seek a doctor to assure good health for your precious child.

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