What is colic and why does it happen?

The causes of colic are mostly unknown but it tends to be associated with an increased difficulty to digest food. In newborns and infants this may be a difficulty to digest some components of either breast or formula milk.

In older infants in can also be associated with cow’s milk allergy. 

If you are breastfeeding your baby may be struggling with something you have eaten that has come through in your milk suck as especially spicy foods.

Colic is characterised by a sudden onset of crying and distress in your baby that appears to be inconsolable. All babies cry as this is their only way to communicate their feelings but how can you tell if your baby has colic?

Your baby may have colic if:

  • They are clenching their fists while crying
  • They go very red in the face
  • They are difficult to soothe
  • They are very gassy and their tummy rumbles
  • They arch their back and bring their knees up to their tummy

What can I do if my baby has colic?

  • Skin to skin contact or hold your baby close so they feel safe
  • Wind your baby well after feeds
  • Hold you baby upright after feeds
  • Gently rock baby over your shoulder
  • Use some white noise
  • Give your baby a warm bath
  • Keep feeding your baby as usual

Other things you can do:

  • Adjust your diet if breastfeeding, ie cut out dairy products, spicey or very pungent food for a couple of days
  • Anti -colic drops
  • Certain kinds of infant massage

Remember to remain as calm as you can, although it is distressing this can be very normal for newborns. If you are concerned about your baby please speak to a healthcare professional, such as your paediatrician or your midwife.

If you sign up for our postnatal care package at Hera Family Care we can support you with any concerns you may have.

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