No matter what you try, your baby just keeps crying?
If this sounds familiar it could be that your baby is suffering from colic. Doctors often refer to the rule of 3:
- Crying for more than 3 hours a day
- Crying for more than 3 weeks
- Crying more than 3 days in a week
This sounds simplistic but does provide an idea of just how persistent this form of crying is. For many babies, it can happen at different times of the day, or night and usually develops between the second and fourth week after birth. The good news, it does subside! Normally by about 4 months, the bouts of crying begin to lessen and my 6 months they have gone completely.
What Is Colic?
There is no real medical definition of colic, though most mums will tell you that it is very, very real! It can often be a sign of an issue with feeding, sometimes linked to intolerance in the milk protein, that can affect both bottle-fed and breastfed babies. This does not account for many of the cases though, as in most of the situations relating to colic there does not appear to be any intolerance or deeper medical conditions. There is a great definition on Wiki
Symptoms Of Colic?
As mentioned, the starting point is often the rule of 3, but there are other things that are linked to colic too:
- Fussing, at different times of the day.
- Feeding, changing or sleep do not ease the crying.
- Crying can occur at any time.
- Knees are brought up to the chest when crying, indicating pain in the stomach.
- Tries to comfort by either the breast or bottle, but then pulls away.
What Causes Colic?
Although it is still a general term for a baby that cry’s for long periods of time, there is still not a clear idea of what causes colic. Some of the issues that are thought to be a factor:
Over-stimulation – Many babies cannot adjust to the stimulation of all of their senses. You will sometimes see that when a baby is in a room with lots of people, where there is constant noise and lights that the crying will be much worse afterwards. I have seen this in Baby Classes, and the only way that the central nervous system can cope is to shut it all out. It does this very effectively by crying until exhaustion sets in. It is a brutal response from the body and can be helped by ensuring that you limit the stimulation to your baby.
Reflux – Linked to the lack of development in the Pyloric Sphincter, this causes the milk to come back up after feeding, bringing acid with it. If your baby is spitting up lots of milk after feeding, it is time to get to your Doctor for some medical assistance. There are medicines that can be given to help and in extreme cases, surgery is needed, though this is rare. Again, for many babies, they will grow out of this as the digestive system matures.
Immature Digestive System – This can really affect the premies, where the digestive system has not fully matured. They can be very sensitive to feeding, both in quantity and time. Again, as the body matures the digestive system will develop and the symptoms will eventually go.
Food Intolerance – This can happen to both breastfed and bottle-fed babies. It is often the milk protein that causes the discomfort but it can really be any foods (if you are breast-feeding). I had one mum who narrowed it down to strawberries! If you think this is an issue, then please do consult your Doctor. If you are bottle feeding there are some great formulas that can help.
- Change your feed – One of the first approaches is to try either changing your formula or cutting out dairy if you are breastfeeding. If the pain is being caused by an intolerance you will normally notice a difference in 4-7 days. As always, please do consult your Doctor or health adviser before doing this.
- Baby Massage – The techniques on the tummy can really help relieve pressure, trapped wind and ease the discomfort. I have a masterclass, just designed for baby tummy pain. It covers my top baby massage techniques so ease colic, constipation and trapped wind. All of which your baby can be dealing with as part of the symptoms of colic. Constipation often is part of colic, as the feeding pattern can become erratic.
- Baby Yoga – There are some great movements that you can do to relieve trapped wind, which can often be a cause of tummy pain. You can watch some great Baby Yoga Videos on my Youtube Channel or yoga moves specific to baby tummy pain are also part of the masterclass too. The Baby Yoga Action Song of The Grand Old Duke Of York is a brilliant one, not only does the mix of song and action distract your baby but the movements help relieve trapped wind and constipation
- Get Outside – I found when my daughter had colic that one of the best ways os soothing her was to take her outside. The fresh air and sun always helped, though I also combined this with a particular holding position too.
- Holding Pose – I was taught this position when my girls were born (I have twins), and it was one of the BEST SOLUTIONS for colic that combined with these other tips, really did help bring her some comfort and relief. It is called different things, but I know it as ‘tiger in a tree’. You hold your baby in your lap, facing out and then you tip her so she rests along the length of your arm, her body is fully supported by you throughout. This position naturally puts pressure on the tummy, which seems to ease pain from trapped wind (it is also a great way of bringing up trapped wind) and you can also add in movement by rocking or swinging.
- Colic Drops – There is no real scientific proof that these work, but I did add them into the routine in those colic weeks. Some mums swear by them, others say they do not make a difference. I think, as with most things baby-related, you can add it into your toolbox and see if they help your baby.
Bonus Tips To Try
Swaddle – Again, some babies really respond well when they are fussing to being swaddled. You can read more on how to do this, and some of the benefits too in a previous blog on swaddling your baby. Although I found it essential for sleep, I did not find it that beneficial for colic. Though again, it is easy enough to try, so worth a go when you are struggling for remedies for colic.
Swings – As I mentioned in the holding pose, movement can really help your baby when they are distressed or in pain. A baby swing is a great way of achieving this and often allows them to also sleep, which is always a blessing when you have been up for hours trying to offer comfort.
Tips For Mums
Nap – Get rest when you can is number 1. With patterns all over the place during these weeks, you will need your strength.
Help & Support – Do not be afraid to ask your partner, family and friends to help. Even if it is to drop off some meals, do the shopping. Or just be around so you can sleep for an hour. You will NEED support during these weeks. I remember these days well, and I was exhausted.
Other Mums – If you are part of any classes or groups then reach out for that emotional support from other mums. Mums are an awesome tribe that will be there for you, and having a friendly ear at 2 am can be a life-line. I know from my Baby Classes that the mums are often up during the night feeding but texting or chatting in a WhatsApp group. It helps get you through those well known ‘witching hours’.
Helping You And Your Baby with Colic
The Masterclass combines my knowledge of 15 years as a baby massage & yoga instructor with being a parent. I know first hand how Colic affects your everyday. It is all well and good people saying it is only a phase, but when you are up for hours rocking your crying baby, those weeks feel like years. I designed this class to offer you REAL SOLUTIONS TO COLIC, that you can use TODAY. It costs just £9.99 and includes full video instructions which you can watch at any time.
There is also an online complete baby massage course, that delves further into infant massage. This course has over 100 minutes of guided videos, with a fully illustrated handbook and full support via my Private Facebook Group too. This is designed for you to watch at your own pace, go back to any of the videos and work through the course when it suits you. It is perfect for parents who are not able to get to physical classes. A full body baby massage routine is broken down into manageable stages, allowing you to learn at leisure. One of my mums, who has been to my classes previously took this course recently as said that it combined all the knowledge from my live classes, it ‘was as if Rachel was in my living room’! It is a very personal touch, one that I hope connects with you too.
Feel free to comment below, ping me an email or connect on Facebook. I love being able to support parents, through the rough and the smooth.
Good luck over the next few weeks, I know how tough it is. Hang on in there, and know that you are doing an amazing job!