Colic. The word parents have either never heard of or the word that fills parents with fear! We’ve been struggling for over two weeks now with Isla in the evenings and one of the main explanations that keeps cropping up is colic.
Colic is a strange one in the sense that it provokes so many different opinions and advice strategies. it is usually defined as:
‘excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed’
It affects up to 1 in 5 babies and is a poorly understood condition. Apparently it usually starts in babies in their first few weeks of life at stops by 4 months or 6 months at the latest. It’s a bit strange in our case because Isla was 11 weeks old when it really kicked off (if it is colic!). She did have a few episodes at around 4 weeks and 6 weeks of uncontrollable crying in the afternoon but nothing like it has been for the past few weeks…
When a baby has colic it looks like they are in distress but the crying/screaming are not harmful to them and they should still feed well and gain weight. We’ve noticed that Isla’s face goes a bit red and she clenches her fists and arches her back sometimes – apparently these are signs of colic. Babies can also draw their knees up to their tummies during a crying outburst too.
Colic is apparently just as common in breast fed babies as it is in bottle fed babies. Isla is bottle fed and I had a few people tell me that this makes her more susceptible to colic but it would appear they were wrong!
The thing is with Isla, she’s always brought up her wind pretty well so I don’t think that can be what’s bothering her so much. We use Dr Brown’s bottles, which are fab, and know the techniques that work best on her for burping. We’ve also been using Infacol before every feed for a week now with no difference. Might need to try Colief if it doesn’t kick in soon!
The crying comes out of no where between 6 and 8pm and can continue for up to 2 hours at the moment. A few times it has started in the afternoon as well. I do try to make sure she isn’t overstimulated throughout the day as I know this can be a contributing factor.
It is utterly heartbreaking to hear your baby crying in the way they cry when it could be colic. It’s like a whole new level of crying and nothing you can do will help or soothe them. We’ve been utterly exhausted trying to help Isla out in the evening. On occasion, we’ve both had to walk away for 5-10 mins because it’s just too much. Some nights, literally nothing will work. We will take her for a walk in her pram, take her in the car, rock her, walk around with her…you name it, we try it and it doesn’t help! As long as baby is in a safe place, it’s totally ok to leave for 5 mins, refresh and go back and try again.
These are some common tips for helping a baby with colic though:
Tuning into baby’s signals – recognise pre-cry cues and try and distract before it starts with a feed, change, sleep etc
Make sure baby is relatively upright during feeding and prevent air swallowing in bottle fed babies
Try anti colic bottles (Dr Browns and Tommee Tippee ones look the best)
Try Infacol, Colief, gripe water before feeds
Burp baby after every feed (don’t know why you wouldn’t anyway!)
Massaging baby’s tummy clockwise to help trapped wind
Let baby have a dummy for comfort sucking
Quiet things down before bedtime to prevent overstimulation
Try white noise (we’ve got a sleep sheep and an app on my phone)
Hold baby close to you
Give baby a warm bath (this makes Isla much worse!)
Once Isla does get to sleep, she’s pretty good. She will go from 10 or 11pm to around 4 or 5am which confuses me…do colicky babies sleep for this long a period or do they wake up?
At a ‘Life with Baby’ class, run by health visitors, that I went to this week, I brought it up but there wasn’t much they could say to help. They just went over all the signs and the soothing techniques above. It looks like it’s just a case of waiting it out. I know babies go through developmental leaps too which can’t help matters and probably contributes to the issue.
I guess it sums up how loose a term colic is and how it’s not actually that well understood if we’re not even 100% sure it’s what our baby has just now! All the signs do point towards it though…