What is colic?
It could be characterized by long period of crying at a baby younger than 5 months of age that is healthy and well fed. In case your baby cries more than three hours continuously for more than three days a week, it is very likely for the little one to be colicky. This shouldn’t be seen as a disease and there are no long term effects. It is just a period that will be tiresome for both the babies and the parents.
How to recognize colic?
Usually the first signs appear when the baby is 2 weeks of age. It is normal for the babies to cry in case there is something wrong, like they are hungry, wet, tired or frightened, but the colicky babies cry for longer periods of time with no apparent reason. Usually this happens during the day, in the late afternoon or in the evening when the parents are the most exhausted.
In case your little one is colicky you might see that his belly is a bit enlarged. Also you could observe that he is pulling and extending his legs and passes gas while crying.
How long does colic last?
Although the crying seems like it will never stop, you should be more optimistic. The peak is when the baby is of 6 weeks old, but around 3 months the signs start to fade away and they should totally disappear by the time he reaches 4 months.
This seems to be a long period of time and you should try to learn to comfort the baby (although this usually doesn’t work) and in case you feel like you can’t take it any longer, ask for help.
Also keep in mind that you can’t do everything and so you may need some breaks not to harm your own health.
Why are babies having colic?
This is one of the questions that scientists couldn’t answer until now. There are 20% chances that your baby will become colicky even though he may be breast fed or formula fed, boy or girl, firstborn or later-born. It is a mystery why some babies get it and others don’t but there are many different theories. According to some of them there might be more than just one reason.
According to one of these theories, the little one could become colicky because the digestive system is sensitive or immature. It is known that the stomach of babies has little enzymes that would break down the food and this is why digesting milk or formula could result in painful gases.
Also while crying the babies swallow a lot of air and this also leads to gases. In case the little one is colicky because of his or her tummy, you can see a worsening of the signs after feeding or before bowel movement.
The long periods of crying could offer relief to the overwrought babies. Also, studies have shown that babies can be easily overwhelmed by colic pain in case there have been difficulties when they were born.