Take a look at the MAM range for help with colic. Our bottles are designed to help babies feed comfortably and to minimise the symptoms of colic. 

Even the easiest newborn babies are hard work. However, if your baby cries more than he or she should, you are no doubt at your wits’ end, wondering “what is the treatment for colic in babies?”

Colic is a complex and poorly understood condition that many newborns suffer from. If your baby has frequent, prolonged, intense crying sessions and/or seems overly fussy from about three weeks old, it could be colic.

 

This condition is extremely stressful for the parents. Comedian Michael Ian Black writes and speaks extensively about his personal experience with a colicky baby saying, “There is a picture … of me during this time in our lives … Elijah and I stare at the camera, the same blank, expressionless look on our faces. His face looks like that because he is a baby. Mine does because I am dead.” If you have a colicky baby you can probably relate to this.

 

Michael Ian Black and many other parents survived the ordeal of a colicky baby and so will you. Just read on for the best advice in understanding and coping with this difficult time.

The article will answer the question ‘What is the treatment for colic in babies?’ as well as sharing some other helpful information.

Symptoms of colic

New parents quickly learn that there are six main reasons that a baby will cry: they’re hungry, they have a full nappy, they’re tired, in pain, uncomfortable from being too hot or too cold, or they have been overfed. 

However, one of the key symptoms of colic is crying for no apparent reason. Others include:

Mother with her Child

What is the treatment for colic in babies?

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  • Crying at around the same time every day, usually in the evening

  • Clenched fists and curled up legs

  • Crying for three hours or more than three times a week (Non-colicky babies will only cry for around two hours a day)

  • Going red and flushed in the face while crying

  • Sounding like he or she is in pain

  • Bloating in the tummy

  • Tight tummy muscles

  • Not responding to any soothing strategies

Familydoctor.org also points out that your baby will probably swallow air when crying, resulting in gas and bloating. This means that a little gas or going poop can often alleviate your baby’s suffering.

 

It is important to note that symptoms of colic can also be symptoms of other infant health issues. Don’t hesitate to check in with your doctor if you are worried.

Causes of colic

So colic tends to be a description for a collection of symptoms. Your baby may have all or some of them.

 

What’s less clear is why some babies have this condition.

 

Babies are very delicate and mysterious creatures. Current research methods can only take us so far into understanding why some get colic. This does not leave us completely clueless, however. These examples are the most likely culprits making your little one feel so rotten:

  • Your child’s digestive system is still developing

  • He or she has a lot of gas

  • Hormonal issues that may cause tummy pain or crankiness

  • Sensitivity to light, noise or over-stimulation

  • Your baby’s developing nervous system is causing her distress

  • Infant migraine

  • Fear, frustration, or excitement

  • The healthy bacteria in your baby’s gut is not balanced yet

  • Food allergies or intolerances.

  • Overfeeding, underfeeding or infrequent burping

  • Family stress or anxiety

​Whatever the cause, make sure you remember that colic does pass eventually. The problem usually works itself out by three to four months of age.

What is the treatment for colic in babies?

​There are a few different ways to try to relieve colic in babies.

Dietary changes

There are some things you can do to help a colicky baby.

One of the major tips provided by such sources as webmd and Michigan State University is to consider your diet if you are breastfeeding. There is a good chance that colic is caused by digestive troubles. For this reason, try to regulate your diet. Michigan State University also provides the following tips:

  • Eat at least three meals a day with additional small snacks. Try to avoid skipping meals.

  • Limit foods and drinks with caffeine. Examples include chocolate, coffee, tea and soft drinks.

  • Drink plenty of water each day. If you are thirsty, you are not drinking enough.

  • If using artificial sweeteners, check with a registered dietitian on how much can safely be consumed each day.

  • Try to lose your baby weight slowly and avoid calorie restrictions.

  • Some babies also may become fussy with the consumption of gas-producing foods (broccoli, cabbage, beans, etc.). Substitute other vegetables and lean proteins into your diet.

  • Some foods may cause an allergy in an infant also, although this area needs additional research. The most common allergy-causing foods are cow’s milk, eggs, wheat and peanuts. If you notice an allergy you could reduce or eliminate these foods for a period of time.

Medication/treatment for colic

Medication is also a useful option and there are many choices out there on the market to help with colicky babies. For a great list of the best medicines available in Australia, check out babylistessentials.com.au.

 

Brauer Baby & Child Colic Relief has a lot of positive customer reviews and Infant’s Friend is a great brand to look for if you want to support Aussie owned.

 

Vitamin D drops and probiotics are also at the top of many doctor’s lists these days. They may recommend this when you ask what is the treatment for colic in babies.

 

These products can help soothe upset tummies but be aware that probiotics can sometimes take a few days to settle. Always consult your GP before you start your infant on any new medication, just in case.

Soothe your baby

Outside of diet and medicine, there are a techniques to try to soothe your little one:

Hold your baby close: A baby carrier can be a good option. Otherwise, simply holding your baby close can soothe her and calm her down. In fact, holding your baby through the day has even been shown to lessen fussiness later in the evening.
 

Movement: Sometimes a little activity can help. Try:

  • Holding and bouncing

  • Walking around

  • A bouncer or swing

  • Going for a walk with the pram

  • Taking a drive around. Just make sure that you are not too tired to be driving safely.

White noise: It is said that white noise emulates the sound that infants are used to from being inside the womb. A fan or a vacuum cleaner or even a white noise app on your chosen device can be a life saver. There are some cuddly toys which play white noise and heartbeat sounds.

Swaddling: A tight swaddling is also reminiscent of the womb for a baby. Wrapping him up tight can keep him calm and stop him fussing.

Massage: Gas is as uncomfortable for babies as it is for us, if not more so. A little tummy massage can help work the gas bubbles out. It is a relaxing way to soothe your little one with some physical contact.

Calm: Keep your baby’s environment calm and soothing. Avoid bright lights and starling loud noises. And while you’re calming the baby, remember to stay calm yourself. Colic is hard on parents so it’s understandable if you lose your cool, but babies will pick up on your emotions. If you’re not careful you will be in a cycle of you and your baby setting each other off. Stay calm and cool as best you can.

If you’re wondering what is the treatment for colic in babies, it tends to differ for every family. Listen to advice but remember not everything works for every child.

Colic: How to help yourself and your family?

Colic is EXTREMELY HARD on parents. Don’t beat yourself up if none of the treatments for colic work for you. This does not make you a bad parent. There is nothing wrong with you and odds are you are doing everything you possibly can.

 

With that said though, it is vital to think about yourself and the rest of your family. You have to take care of yourself as well.

Here’s what you can do for YOU and for the rest of your family:

  • Take a break: This may be the best tip for parents of any baby. There is no shame in leaving your baby with your partner, parents, or other trusted caregiver and going for a walk, some lunch, or whatever helps you unwind a little. Even if you are on your own there is nothing wrong with leaving the baby safely in her cot and spending a moment in another room to regroup.

  • Find your happy place: Meditation is scientifically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. Think of a happy place, take a few deep breaths and count to ten, use a positive affirmation, whatever works for you.

  •  

  • Reach out: Talk to your friends or family or find a group online. There are many supportive parents’ groups, full of people with similar challenges.

  •  

  • Be open with your family: This also goes for the rest of the family. While it is not right to put too much burden on older siblings, make sure that they are part of the discussion. Keep everyone in the loop and you will have a much smoother journey through what might just be the hardest time of your life.

Where to get help for a colicky baby if you need it

The first stop for health and colic advice should be your GP. If possible, take the time to write up a little diary. Note how long your child cries for and write about any changes in your baby’s behaviour. The doctor will most likely ask you about all the symptoms already covered, so reading this article should put you in good stead.

 

Don’t forget to mention your own mental health though as well as your baby’s. If you feel bad all the time, let your doctor know and follow their advice. For after hours problems, don’t be afraid to call a hotline such as tresillian.org.au or even beyondblue.org.au. Don’t let the problem get too big that you don’t feel in control.

 

What is the treatment for colic in babies? A purpose-made bottle is a good place to start. Take a look at the MAM range for help with colic. Our bottles are designed to help babies feed comfortably and to minimise the symptoms of colic. 

Diagnosing colic

Did you find all of the above a little vague? Are you still wondering “sure, but how do I really know if my baby has colic?”. That’s understandable. It is not an ailment that is easy to define.

 

There is, of course, only one real answer to get a diagnosis of colic and that is to see your GP. The first thing your GP will want to do is rule out any other complications. They will probably give your little one a thorough exam to check height and weight, look for spots of rashes, listen to baby’s lungs and heart, assess baby’s movement and responsiveness, and even do some lab tests if necessary.

 

Once your doctor rules out other causes they will often do what is called the “rule of threes”. They will expect you to be seeing three hours of sustained crying that started at around three weeks of age and occurs at least three days a week for around three weeks. A practitioner will also probably ask you about the sounds of your baby’s cries. A colicky baby cries in a much more intense and high pitched way than a non-colicky fussy baby and your doctor will want to know this.

The ancient adage that “this too shall pass” is better suited to colicky babies than almost anything. Your baby will not be like this forever.

 

And finally, if you need help, and it’s fair enough if you do, find help! Stretching to the cost of a nanny or carer a couple of times a week will get you through this period. A therapist or sympathetic GP is another person who can help by focusing on you, not just your baby.

For mothers who are feeding their baby formula or expressing milk to bottle feed, there are also a few tips.

 

A specially designed bottle can help stop your little one from swallowing too much air. For the best anti-colic baby bottles, take a look at the Mam range. Mam bottle teats are especially designed to feel familiar and comfortable for your baby. They also have a special vent system to adjust to your baby’s unique feeding patterns.

In addition, Mam bottles have a special self-cleaning function. When feeding your little one with your Mam bottle, make sure to sit her upright to reduce how much air she swallows as much as possible.

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*Field study, Austria 2011, tested with 73 mothers of colicky babies / Market research, USA 2010, tested with 35 mothers of colicky babies.