Colic is a word that strikes fear into the hearts of many new parents. If you've never experienced it before, it can be a real shock to the system.
Colic is defined as excessive and sudden crying in an otherwise healthy and well-fed baby. It usually starts around two to four weeks of age, peaks around six weeks, and typically resolves by the time the baby is three to four months old. But those few months can feel like years when you’re trying to comfort a baby with colic.
In this post, we’ll be discussing what causes colic, how long it lasts, and some ways to soothe your baby if they are suffering from colic.
What Causes Colic?
Unfortunately, there is no one definitive answer to this question. There are many theories, including digestive issues, an immature nervous system, and even parental stress. However, the truth is that nobody knows what causes colic.
What we do know is that it's a real thing, and it can be incredibly distressing for both parents and their baby.
How Long Does Colic Last?
As mentioned earlier, colic usually starts around two to four weeks of age and peaks around six weeks. It typically resolves by the time the baby is three to four months old. However, this is just a rough guideline, and every baby is different. Some babies may experience colic for longer, while others may not have it at all.
How to Soothe a Baby With Colic?
While coli sounds frightening, there are many things you can do to help your baby feel better, such as:
Swaddling can help your baby feel more secure and comfortable. Make sure you wrap your baby snugly but not too tightly. There are lots of YouTube videos that can help you learn how to swaddle your baby safely and what technic works best for you and your little one.
2. White Noise
Many babies find white noise soothing. Try using a white noise machine - or simply turn on a fan or vacuum cleaner for a cheaper alternative. If you don't have anything handy, use your voice to make white noise.
3. Colic Hold (aka football hold)
When baby's belly is upset and during colic, use the colic hold works wonders and can make the crying stop almost instantly. Place baby's belly in the palm of your hand, face them forward and gentle rock them. The weight of their body on your hand will gently massage their belly and help relief them.
4. Warm Bath
A warm bath can be very soothing for your baby. Make sure the water is not too hot and keep a firm grip on your baby at all times.
If your baby has gas, try burping them as this can help to relieve some of their discomfort. Aim for two burps after each feed. If your baby has difficulty burping, try to burp them on your lap. This technique, less known than the shoulder burp, is very convenient and gentle on babies.
6. Tummy Time
Tummy time is a great way to help a baby with excess wind. Tummy time can be intimidating on newborns and very young babies, this video can help you find the method that works best for you and your little one.
A pacifier can provide comfort and distraction for your baby.
If you are breastfeeding, you may want to try eliminating certain foods from your diet to see if this helps. If you are formula-feeding, get some advice from your pediatrician about trying a hypoallergenic formula.
Give your baby gentle tummy massage - as demoed in this video by La Petite Creme founder Fanny.
It's important to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to colic. You may need to try a few different things before you find what works for your baby. And remember, this too shall pass. Although it might not feel that way right now, colic is a temporary condition, and it will get better with time.