What Causes Colic in Babies? Signs, Symptoms, and Remedies

When it’s your first baby, you are cautious about everything. And if your baby is a bit cranky, things turn more difficult. Some might suggest that your child is colicky. But what’s that and how would you cure it? What causes colic in babies?

What is Colic?

Babies need to cry. The first thing we expect after a baby comes out of the mother’s womb is to cry. But what if your baby keeps on crying and does not stop even after consoling him for a while. This could not be because he is hungry or sick, wet or tired or even cold. Around 15-25% of the babies cry excessively and without any justified reason. Padaetrician refer this as Colic. This is not what disease or something that needs to be diagnosed, it’s a trait your baby owns.

It’s been a month, your baby is home, and suddenly you see her erupting into wails that shatter ears, no matter what all efforts you put in to soothe her, but your child resists all. Colic is not diagnosable. All you can do is wait. The babies wail and cry for hours and usually late at night. Sometimes you are frustrated but then worried too. True that it is too difficult to calm a baby crying but calming a colicky baby is way too harder.

Doctors choose the three rule technique to diagnose a colicky baby:

  • Wails that last for 3 hrs continuously.
  • Repeats 3 days a week.
  • Stays for at least 3 weeks in the row.

However, this does not mean that your baby will not cry more. There is no rule for a colicky baby to cry. Some cry for longer hours. But to soothe your pain, the baby colic as starts from the 6 weeks would eventually end up by the end of the 10th week. It would seem a miracle, but all of a sudden, colic stops. Meanwhile, you can choose to stay calm and have a bit of patience to let the time pass.

What Causes Colic in Babies?

The prime cause behind a baby being colic is unknown. Several medical experts believe that there are no proven reasons for the same. No genes are responsible, not the pregnancy and even it does not question your skills of parenting. Having said all of the above, few theories that pave the way for the occurrence of colicky are:

1. Senses overstimulated

It is believed that the newborns can tune to the sound as well as the sight that surround them. This enables them to both eat and sleep without being disturbed by the environment. But as your baby completes one month, you would find this trait of your baby disappearing, and now your baby responds to the stimuli more often. And because your baby is a lot more sensitive now, he might turn overwhelmed at all the objects surrounding him and at the end of the day he is flabbergasted. To ease the stress, they have been carrying all day long they cry. But as the baby starts deciphering the environment, colic ends.

2. A digestive system that is mainly immature

Your baby is just a few days old, and for the earlier weeks, you have restricted him to breastfeeding. But as soon as he is exposed to the whole set of foods, his digestion might be, at first stage struggle. The gastrointestinal system is new, and not all brand would succumb to it. This might so cause the food to pass down without being broken into smaller pieces. This induces gas, and hence the baby cries.

3. Acid Reflux

Several experts believe that infant GERD can trigger colic. Most of the times, an esophageal sphincter that is lowered leads to infant GERD. The muscle is responsible for pushing back the stomach acid to the esophagus causing irritation and uneasiness. Some of the symptoms include poor eating, spitting up, and excessive irritability while you feed your baby.

4. Allergy to Food and Sensitivity

Sometimes kids have an allergy to the proteins in milk, and this gives rise to colic. Some babies are intolerant to lactose, and so they are prone to colic. Frequently, it’s the diet of the mom during the pregnancy or the breastfeeding that induce the reaction to colic. So, this sensitivity might cause pain in the tummy of the babies giving rise to colic behavior.

5. Exposure to Tobacco

Another significant cause that gives birth to the colic behavior of the infant is the exposure to Tobacco. This might not be a direct exposure but even if mother smokes during her pregnancy, the baby born might be colic. Though there are facts that probe the above, the reason is still questionable. Smoking anyhow is bad for health. So refrain your baby from being exposed to smoke.

This is not the end of the causes of Colic. Few doctors believe that it is perfect for a baby to have colic behavior whereas few consider it the outcome of a bacteria imbalance in the gut. One of the most debatory reason behind the infants colic behavior is an imbalance in levels of melanin and serotonin in the brain. Colicky babies have a higher concentration of serotonin which contracts the muscles of intestines. Whatever may be the reason, a colicky baby is too hard to soothe.

Signs and Symptoms of Colic

The three rules are not enough to determine whether your baby is colicky. Few other signs and symptoms indicate your baby is inexplicably crying and it’s not usual. Your baby is colic. Let’s see what the symptoms you need to track in your baby to find if your baby is colic are:

  • The time your baby cry is invariably similar, usually late evening or afternoon.
  • Unexplained wails.
  • While the baby cries, his legs are up in the air, he clenches his fists and shows a more significant movement of arms and legs.
  • Your baby closes and opens his eyes wides and at times even furrow his brows while he holds his breath.
  • Increased bowel movement with gas passing.
  • Altered sleeping and eating habits.

Remedies of Colic

Not only does a wailing baby leads to frustration and exhaustion but also the mom has a feeling of guilt as she is not able to soothe her baby. Having all of the major both explained and unexplained causes of Colic, we put light on what precautions you can take to prevent your child from being colicky or even if your baby is born colic how can you ease the discomfort caused both to the child and the mom.

If you seek over stimulation

  1. Respond to her reactions: Indeed crying is the most prominent way a baby communicates her needs. She wails hard and loud, and the only way to ease her pain is to respond. A prompt reply to your baby’s cry can soothe her wails and calm her down.
  2. Practice Calmness: The best way to soothe a colic baby is to change her environment. Pleasant songs, dim light, and a soft voice create calmness all around.
  3. Induce Excitement: Restrict the number of visitors that come near your baby. Try altering the environment and add excitement giving your baby a whole new set of experiences. See how your baby responds and make frequent alterations.

If you seek issues related to gastrointestinal

  1. Significant Pressure at the baby’s tummy: Few babies who are colic find it soothing when someone applies little pressure on their tummy. It eases both the baby and the mom. Lay your baby upside down and try rubbing his back all along.
  2. Burp your baby: If you are convinced that your baby is inconsolable due to gas, then taking significant steps to help your baby burp is highly effective.
  3. Opt for probiotics: Most of the times, a drop of probiotics are preferred mainly to ease the baby from tummy pain. But make sure you consult your doctor before feeding anything to the baby.
  4. A look at what you eat: It’s not always the baby, but the mom too might induce several foods that lead to acidity in the baby. A breastfeeding mother should take utmost care about what she eats and how the same effects the health of the baby.

Several moms’s opt for gripe water. Undoubtedly it’s natural and safe, but there are no proven facts to a probe that gripe water can ease the symptoms of colic. What you do or give your baby, always consult a doctor. Be it natural or a home remedy, a doctor’s advice is always the first take.

Several other remedies could be:

  • Be a little closer to your baby. Be it cuddling or wearing the baby, being close to her induces a sense of comfort and warmth in the baby and she is less prone to colic behavior.
  • Sometimes a white noise machine eases the behavior of the baby. The humming voice of the vacuum cleaner largely affects the colic nature of the baby.
  • A soft music or a lullaby might also ease the symptoms of colicky. You can try different sound like hmm or she to see how your baby responds to your efforts.

Whatever be the reason and no matter your efforts ease your baby’s discomfort, it is always advisable to talk to a doctor. It’s always better to be safe.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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