Parenting during the first few months of a baby’s life, can be quite challenging. Parents usually take the first few months establishing a bond with the baby, as well as coping with the added responsibility of taking care of a newborn. However, there are instances that caring for your baby may be really difficult.
An infant who is crying inconsolably for hours may have colic. Colic is paroxysmal abdominal pain that occurs in three month old infants or younger. A baby with colic may cry loudly, with the legs pulled up against the abdomen, and fists clenched. An infant’s face may also be red and flushed, and the abdomen is tense. You may notice that your baby may have colic at approximately the same time everyday. It usually lasts up to 3 hours a day and occurs at least three days every week.
Colic is common and it affects around 25 percent of babies. It usually starts a few weeks after birth, and improves by the time the baby turns 3 months old. However, there are babies who may suffer from colic for a few more months. But it generally ends for 90 percent of babies by the time babies turn 9 months old.
The cause of colic is still unclear, but overfed infants are susceptible to having it. Infants who are formula fed are also more likely to have colic because they tend to swallow more air during a feeding. A formula that is high in carbohydrates may also cause colic. Research has also shown that it may also be caused by allergies, an immature digestive system, maternal anxiety, lactose intolerance and differences in the way that the baby is fed.
Colic is bothersome for babies and it can be frustrating for parents however, there are ways to soothe a baby with colic. Babies will benefit greatly from small feedings whether they are breastfed or formula-fed. Babies should also be burped often. Placing the baby in an infant seat, or in an upright position, for half an hour after a feeding can also help. To make feedings more satisfying, have your baby empty one breast completely before you switch to the next side. This will allow your baby to get more hindmilk. It is richer and more satisfying than foremilk, which is present at the beginning of a feeding.
Pacifiers can also help in soothing your baby. Cuddling is encouraged because babies need comfort, and they greatly respond to affection. Using baby slings or baby carriers are helpful in supporting your baby’s weight. Keeping your baby in motion is also essential. You can either rock your baby in your arms, or use an infant swing. Your baby may also benefit if you take him for a ride. Be certain that you buckle your baby properly in the car seat in order to be safe. Breastfeeding mothers also need to watch their diet by avoiding foods, which promote gas formation.
A soothing music may also help a colicky baby. Your baby may be comforted by the sound of lullabies or any soft music. There are studies that show that babies are comforted by the sound of a heartbeat, which is why music boxes are commercially available to simulate the sound. However, a tick of a clock may also do the trick. You can also be creative and record environmental sounds such as ocean waves and gentle rain. These may help in calming your baby.
If you feel that your baby is not sleeping and not feeding as usual, it may be best to contact your health care provider. It is important that your doctor can evaluate whether your baby has colic, or if he needs to do more tests to determine any other illness. Babies can be difficult to comfort during colic episodes. And although it may be a difficult beginning for a parent-child relationship, it will soon come to pass. Parenting can be demanding at times, but it is definitely very rewarding.