Colic is a health condition characterized by long and repeated bouts of crying seen in otherwise healthy infants. The causes of colic are not known, and though some believe that there is no such thing as colic, acute abdominal pain is believed to cause the symptoms.
While all infants cry, babies are said to be colicky if they cry for more than three hours a day for at least three days in a week in the first three to four months.
Colicky babies may display the following symptoms:
- High pitched crying for long periods in spite of constant comfort
- Irritability and fussiness
- Clenched fists
- Passing gas
- Arched back
- Sleeplessness and exhaustion
- Diagnosis – Typically, infant colic subsides after a few months. A thorough medical examination is necessary to eliminate all possible causes. Take your child to a health professional immediately if you suspect that the child is suffering from colic.
- Dietary changes – Colic is sometimes attributed to certain foods or ingredients. Cow’s milk is not suitable for some children who are lactose intolerant.
- Use of soothing techniques – Try different methods such as pacifier, baby swings, back massage, etc. to soothe the infant.
- Medications – Some parents believe gripe water and colic drops may help to reduce the child’s symptoms.
- Use of Sedatives – Tranquilizers, alcohol, or any drug can adversely affect the child’s development and need to be avoided.
- Alternative therapies – Several herbal and alternative remedies are available but the FDA does not regulate most of them. Hence, parents need to exercise caution.
- Parent Care – Parents of colicky babies require some care and attention themselves. To reduce the stress and frustration, parents may take turns to handle the child. Support by family members and friends may be a good alternative.