Colics are a common problem that affects up to one in five babies, either bottle or breastfed. While seeing your baby in such discomfort can be really distressing, it’s reassuring to know that having colic doesn’t mean they’re unwell or that you’re doing something wrong.
Although the reason babies develop colic is not fully understood, there are a number of suspected causes, including:
Swallowing excess air during feeding – as your baby swallows, their tiny tummy fills up with air causing painful gas
Developing digestive system – your baby is new to feeding, and they may not be able to fully digest their milk
A response to something in their milk – your baby may develop a temporary gut sensitivity to certain proteins and sugars found in breast milk or formula milk
Despite the fact that further research is required in order fo fully understand what causes colic, there are still simple ways to spot it and treat it in your baby.
The symptoms of colic are distinctive and often occur soon after feeding and late in the afternoon and evening. At other times your baby may seem happy and content.
- intense crying, usually for several hours
- clenched fists
- face becoming flushed
- arching their back
- drawing knees up to tummy
By four months your baby’s colic will probably have stopped, though it can carry on up to six months. While it can be difficult to manage at the time, there is no evidence that colic has any long-term effect on your baby’s health.
If your baby has any of the symptoms of colic, it’s important that you talk to your healthcare professional, pharmacist or a medical doctor. It might be a good idea to keep a note of how often your baby is crying and the amount of time between feeding and the onset of symptoms. They will then be able to determine whether your baby is suffering from colic and let you know the options available to you.