Colic... A Simple Guide

If you have a crying, fussy baby, you're not alone! Colic is a common condition that affects many infants, and we're here to provide some guidance and support. From understanding the symptoms and causes of colic to exploring strategies for soothing your little one, we've got you covered. So, let's jump right in and help you navigate through this colicky journey with ease.

What is colic?

Colic is a term used to describe uncontrollable crying and fussing in a healthy infant, typically starting around two weeks of age and can last until three to four months. It's worth noting that colic is a behavioural rather than a medical condition. However, it's always important to consult a healthcare provider such as your pharmacist to rule out other possible causes of discomfort, just to be on the safe side.

What are the symptoms of colic?

Common symptoms of colic include intense crying and fussiness for at least three hours a day, three days a week, for at least three weeks. It is often experienced at the same time of day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Babies may also have a hard, bloated abdomen and clench their fists, draw their knees up, or arch their back while crying.

What causes colic?

The exact cause of colic is not fully understood, but it's believed to be related to the immaturity of the baby's digestive system, leading to discomfort and gas. Other factors such as an infant's temperament, feeding issues, and maternal stress can also contribute to colic.

How long does colic last?

Colic typically begins around two weeks of age and resolves on its own by three to four months of age. If your baby's symptoms persist beyond this timeframe, it's important to consult a healthcare provider to rule out other underlying issues.

How is colic diagnosed?

Colic is often diagnosed based on the "rule of three" mentioned before: Crying and fussiness for at least three hours a day, at least three days a week, for at least three weeks in an otherwise healthy infant.

Can colic be treated?

While there is no specific cure for colic, various strategies can help soothe a colicky baby, including swaddling, gentle rocking, white noise, and changes in feeding techniques. Your local pharmacist can help and recommend treatment options.

Is there a link between colic and diet?

Some studies suggest that breastfeeding mothers consuming certain foods, such as cow's milk, caffeine, and cruciferous vegetables, may have infants with more colic symptoms. If you suspect a dietary link to your baby's colic, consult a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for guidance.

How can parents cope with a colicky baby?

Coping with a colicky baby can be challenging, so parents need to seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Taking turns soothing the baby, practicing self-care, and seeking professional help if feeling overwhelmed are important steps in coping with colic.

Don’t forget that your local pharmacy is on hand to offer trusted advice.

Also read: Stress Awareness

Are there colic remedies that are safe for babies?

It's crucial to consult with your pharmacist before trying any colic remedies or over-the-counter products for a colicky baby. Natural remedies, such as gentle tummy massage, warm baths, and placing a warm towel on the baby's tummy can sometimes work wonders, but their safety and effectiveness should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

When should I seek medical help for colic?

If your baby's crying is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in the stool, or poor weight gain, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, if you're feeling overwhelmed or experiencing significant stress, don't hesitate to reach out for support from a mental health professional.