5 things all parents should know about colic
What colic symptoms look like
Other signs you're dealing with colic? Your baby seems to cry even when she's not wet, tired, or hungry, and often at the same time of day (typically during the evening hours).
Your baby also may clench her fingers, arch her back, and look flushed. She may even extend or pull up her legs and pass gas as she cries, all signs that she might be having gas pains.
Colic affects up to 40 percent of babies, with most showing signs when they're around 2 or 3 weeks old. For preemies, the signs emerge about two or three weeks after the original due date.
Why some babies are colicky
Some experts think colic is the way sensitive babies release stress, especially during the evening hours when it's harder to cope with the sights, sounds, and sensations around them.
In some cases, colic may be a sign of sensitivity to food in a breastfeeding mother's diet, or to the milk protein in formula.
Many parents wonder if gas might be the cause, but experts don't think so. Though colicky babies do tend to swallow excess air during crying spells or feedings, which can lead to more gas and discomfort.
How to deal with gassiness
If you breastfeed and your baby cries a lot in the evenings, try pumping your milk and using a Dr. Brown's bottle to reduce gas at the feeding times when your baby tends to be more colicky. (You may also want to keep your baby more upright during feedings, and burp him often to try to prevent gas pain.)
Ways to comfort your colicky baby
If the diagnosis is colic, give these strategies a try:
Swaddle: This mimics the snug sensation of the womb to help your baby feel secure.
Try motion: Cuddle your baby close and rock her back and forth, or put her in a sling and take a long walk. The body contact and rhythmic movements may help to settle her down.
Offer a pacifier: For many infants, sucking is extremely soothing. Consider offering your baby a pacifier, such as the HappyPaci by Dr. Brown’s. The pacifier is shaped like Dr. Brown's bottle nipples, providing your baby both comfort and familiarity.
Give a massage: Soft strokes on your baby's back, belly, arms, and legs can comfort and distract during crying spells.
Use white noise: Your baby might be lulled to sleep by the sound of the dryer, fan, vacuum, a rainfall recording, or gentle shushing noises.
Colic isn't forever
So when things get tough, keep in mind that colic isn't a disease. And although it can be incredibly stressful for you, it won’t cause any long-term harm to your baby.