First few weeks into being a new parent, and you know exactly how the ‘baby cry’ guessing game works!
I experienced the same thing. The internet and family around had taught me a lot about ‘baby cry’. Two weeks into motherhood I exactly knew rhythmic, repetitive cry signals hunger and the whiny, nasal, continuous cry is when she was tired, but there were days when despite all my best efforts of doing everything right, I just couldn’t decode it.
She would cry endlessly for hours together and no amount of swaddling,feeding, diaper changes would ease the screams.
That’s when I realised, one of the common reasons of baby distress can be colic. From the right massage techniques to continuous cuddling, here’s everything I learnt about colic.
What is Colic?
Colic is the term used to describe excessive crying in babies who otherwise seem to be healthy and having their needs met. It occurs in both breastfed and formula fed babies and is usually only impacts a baby in their first three to four months.
Signs and symptoms of colic in a baby include:
- Uncontrollable crying – which can last for hours, for no apparent reason
- Drawing knees up to to their tummy, clenched fists and an arching back
- A swollen tomato red distressed face
- Fussing at the breast or with the bottle when being fed.
- Their tummy appears swollen.
- General unhappiness and grizzling for extended periods of time.
- Passing more wind that usual.
Causes of colic
While there has been extensive medical research, the cause of colic isn’t definitively known, but few medical professionals suggest a few factors to blame, including Overstimulated senses, indigestion, wind and gut sensitivity. Since new borns spend a huge amount of time drinking/ swallowing, which in turn means they are taking in tiny air bubbles,that may become trapped and cause them tummy discomfort and pressure.
How to ease colic symptoms
You can try some tried and true methods of soothing an upset baby:
- Get close. Cuddling or carrying your baby gives them a sense of security and physical closeness that can help soothe any kind of pain or discomfort they might be facing.
- Massage.Baby massage can ease an unmanageable infant. Check with your doctor on what’s a good massage technique
- Swaddle. Wrap your baby in a warm blanket. The combination of warmth and security can help calm a cranky baby.
If you want to try something closer home, try : heating hing with ghee and apply a little around your baby’s belly button post every feed.
If you suspect gastrointestinal issues: Try using an anti gas drop. I was advised by my pediatrician not to give gripe water, so these were some of the products I used/ was referred.
The active ingredients of Dill Oil (Shatapushpa) ,Tinospora Gulancha (Guduchi) and Indian Gooseberry (Amalaki) help relieve muscle spasms associated with colic, protects the GI mucosa, expels gas from the GI tract and combats acute and chronic infections. It smells a little bit like toothpaste (however not too strong) and is a much sweeter version of a cough-syrup.
All natural and is made of Dill and Fennel oil. It helps in relieving infant colic, griping pain and flatulence. While it does not taste the greatest because of the strong fennel / jeera presence, it worked for my second one like magic.
The active ingredient is Simethicone, which works by making the small bubbles of gas in a baby’s belly join together. Once they form into a larger bubble, it can more easily be expelled.
Please remember to always read the label and only use as directed. If you’re worried about your baby’s symptoms, or they persist, make sure you consult a medical professional.
It’s not your fault
Some mothers feel that infant colic is because of them, maybe because they ate something wrong, weren’t able to burp the baby on time, the massage technique was incorrect, but even the most experienced parents have colicky babies. Don’t blame yourself – spend that time to comfort your baby and seek for support.
Keep in mind, like every new challenge of parenthood, this too shall pass: just when you think you can’t take another night of it, the crying will let up — and then it’s gone forever.