What is colic?
Colic is defined as excessive crying for at least 3 hours per day, 3 days per week for 3 weeks in a baby who is well-fed and otherwise healthy. Common signs of colic are passing gas, clenched fists, drawing up legs, crying in the late afternoon and evening, inconsolability, wanting to feed and wanting to be held. It's estimated that 1 in 5 babies experience colic.
How long does it last?
Signs of colic in babies usually appear by two weeks of age and peak at six weeks. Fortunately, it doesn't last long—most infants outgrow colic by four months of age.
What causes colic?
While digestive and developmental issues have been suspected, the cause of infant colic remains unclear.
What are ways of soothing a colicky baby?
While there is no one sure way to go about soothing a colicky baby, the following activities may help you.
- Swaddle them. Wrap your baby securely in a blanket, then hold them close and rock them gently.
- Turn on calming sounds. White noise like a vacuum cleaner, a fan or a recording of a heartbeat may remind your baby of being in the womb.
- Walk with them. Or take them for a ride in the car. The swaying motions may remind them of the movements felt in the womb.
- Avoid overfeeding. Wait at least 2 to 2 ½ hours from the beginning of one feeding to the next to avoid making your colicky baby more uncomfortable.
- Offer a pacifier, your finger or thumb. Sucking has been shown to help soothe many babies.
Should parents switch to a formula for colic?
Because breast fed babies have similar rates of colic as formula-fed babies, mothers who are breastfeeding should continue breastfeeding.
If you think cow's milk allergy could be causing your little one’s colic, talk to your baby’s doctor about switching to a hypoallergenic formula like Nutramigen® with Enflora™ LGG®*. These types of formulas have extensively broken-down protein and the LGG probiotic, which together help manage cow's milk allergy symptoms and help your baby feel better fast.
Experiencing the signs of colic can be frustrating for both you and your little love, but with these tips, hopefully you both can find some quiet and comfort soon.
*LGG is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S.