Colic in Babies: Tips & Support for New Mums
Author: Charmaine Morgan
Colic in babies can be extremely worrying and exhausting for new parents. When babies excessively cry and cannot be settled, they are sometimes described as having ‘colic’.
Here at Mini & Me, we meet a lot of Perth Mums who have babies with colic, so we want you to know you are not alone! This article aims to answer some of the common questions regarding colic, and some tips we have picked up from our amazing network of Perth Mums over the years. Please note this article is not medical advice, and it is recommend you speak with your doctor straight away, if you have any concerns or issues regarding your newborn’s health and wellbeing.
The Health Direct website has a list of signs and symptoms which are not colic, and you should immediately see a Doctor. Please read more on them here. And if you are unsure, you should call the healthdirect line on 1800 022 222 for advice.
What is Colic?
When your baby cries and is constantly unsettled. It can happen anytime from newborn through to around six months. Colic is a common condition in Australia, affecting about one in five babies.
What Are the Signs of Colic?
Of course, all babies cry, however babies with colic will generally cry for over three hours a day. You may also notice they are hungry, but soon after feeding will appear hungry and agitated again. You could also see them clenching their fists and/or drawing their legs up into themselves (suggesting stomach pain). The most common sign parents report is highly agitated, crying babies, for long periods of time, which cannot be settled.
What Causes Colic?
Unfortunately, the short answer is: we aren’t sure! Colic appears across the board in both girls and boys and in both breast and formula fed babies. There is no conclusive medical cause for colic in babies, and if your baby is crying excessive, it is recommended you get advice from your Doctor.
Some experts believe it may be linked to allergies upsetting their stomachs. Reflux is another common theory. Acclimating to outside of the womb is also suggested, as babies get use to everything (sites, sound, smells, feelings) in outside world. Hernias, nappy rash and ear infections are also possible causes, as these may all lead to your babies’ unsettled behaviour.
How Do You Treat Colic in Babies?
As there is no known cause for colic, there is no proven treatment either. As mentioned, you should discuss any symptoms and possible treatments with your doctor. These are some tips from Mums which might also help:
- Swaddling them and putting them down in a cool, dark room
- Using a Dummy
- White Noise Machine to relax them
- Air purifiers to keep the air clean and free of allergens
- Soothing techniques such as massage and warm baths
- Investing a good wrap carrier, this way your baby is upright but your hands are still free to do things around the house
Please note there is no scientific evidence that these methods can improve colic in babies and any products or methods should only be used in consultation with your doctor.
Look After Mum Too
A crying baby can very stressful for both parents, so it is important you take care of your own health too. It really helps to talk to your partner, friends, family and Doctor about how you are feeling. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating and drinking enough for you and baby. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, and know you are not alone in this. If you need some extra help, we encourage you to call HealthDirect on 1800 022 222 or Lifeline Australia on 131 114 who are there to offer advice and support.
Being a parent to a newborn is the most amazing, challenging and rewarding job in the world. Having a baby with colic certainly adds to this challenge, and we hope you have found some help to get you through this trying time.