FAQ : Why is my baby always cranky? Why does my baby seem to be wanting to nurse while in pain?
What exactly is Colic?
Colic is defined as inexplicable bouts of inconsolable crying in babies less than 3 months old. For a baby to be diagnosed as colicky, her crying outbursts need to last for at least 3 hours, 3 days a week and for 3 weeks at a stretch. In most cases, the diagnosis takes place before the baby has been observed for the above mentioned time frame, making colic an overused diagnosis in case of many babies. Another important thing to remember while making the diagnosis is that the baby should be otherwise healthy and gaining weight.
It is very difficult for parents to see their baby cry for an unfathomable reason and when almost every attempt to comfort the baby fails. A lot of times though, certain strategies might work temporarily. E.g. Rocking the baby, Walking with the baby, Baby-wearing etc. But these techniques often fail as well.
Reasons and Treatment for Colic :
The reasons for colic are unknown. It is true. We don't yet know the reasons for colic in babies. Which is why, there is no proven treatment or cure for colic either. However, many medication and behavioural strategies are suggested that may or may not work on different babies at random.
Colic in Breastfed babies :
Usually, gassiness is less among breastfed babies as when a baby directly latches onto the breast, a vacuum is created which prevents any air to be swallowed by the baby while nursing as opposed to while drinking EBM or Formula milk from a bottle. But there are some situations in which breastfed babies may develop colic like symptoms.
Some other situations that bring about colic-like symptoms in babies are - reflux, allergies (to some particular food the mother might be consuming) and some culture-induced practices like limiting feeds, sleep training, separation from the mother on a regular basis etc.
Strategies to comfort a well-fed, yet inconsolable baby :
Most fussy babies are more settled when they are kept close to the mother. Skin to skin helps a lot. Also, tending to the baby before the baby becomes inconsolable is most effective. Giving unlimited access to breasts calms babies while trying out a variety of positions to see what is most preferred by the baby. Some more strategies are as follows.
Once again, please remember that it is assumed that the baby is gaining weight well, is fed well and yet showing colic like symptoms. Never replace a nursing session by using any of the above strategies. Breastfeeding, more often than not, is a solution to most problems.
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