In this post, we will look at the many signs of colic to try and better understand this common and disruptive condition. Colic can affect as many as 1 in 5 babies starting at around 2 weeks old and lasting until 3-4 months of age. Despite it’s widespread occurrence, there is no obvious and agreed cause.
As a new parent it is helpful to be able to identify the signs of colic so that other conditions can be ruled out. The definition of colic (according to Wikipedia) is episodes of crying for more than 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks in an otherwise healthy baby, aged between 2 weeks and 4 months.
7 Warning Signs Of Colic To Look Out For:
- Crying for extended period of time (3 hours or more) in late afternoon/ early evening for no apparent reason.
- Cry can be high pitched in tone and baby seems distressed.
- Baby has their legs pulled up to their tummy.
- Baby is red-faced from crying.
- Baby has their fists clenched.
- Baby displays a wrinkled brow.
- Baby is extremely difficult to soothe and the crying is continuous.
Signs Of Colic – Video
Any baby will cry, as it their only means of communication, so some degree of crying is entirely normal. It is estimated that the average baby will cry for up to 2 hours a day. However, when a baby is showing signs of colic and every attempt to calm their crying has failed, it can leave already sleep-deprived parents feeling anxious and stressed.
There are several theories as to what causes colic, although none of these has been proven.
Signs of Colic – Possible Causes Of Colic:
- Immature gut – Babies’ guts are learning how to digest milk for the first time. Sometimes this process causes excess wind, which can give baby uncomfortable tummy cramps. This theory does seem plausible when compared with some of the signs of colic such as pulling legs up to the tummy and clenching fists, indicating pain or distress.
- Recovery from difficult birth – being squeezed down the birth canal places huge pressure on baby’s skull. Although this is normal, in some instances, especially if the birth has been protracted, this may cause baby to feel irritable and overwhelmed by their new world.
- Developing nervous system – a new baby may show signs of colic because his brain and nervous system are still developing. This can mean that once he has started crying he finds it difficult to work out when to stop!
- Breastfeeding problems – one theory suggests that a baby may display signs of colic because of poor attachment and switching breasts too early. This means that baby is not draining the breast effectively and only getting the low fat, low calorie milk. This passes through the tummy quickly and he is soon hungry again. When a baby drinks a large quantity of the low fat, low calorie milk he can suffer from excess gas, which is uncomfortable & causes him to cry for long periods.
In the majority of cases, colic will resolve itself by the time the baby is around 4 months old. However, it can be a demanding and trying time for new parents if they are suffering from little sleep and can make them feel as if they are doing a bad job. The key thing to remember is that colic is a phase and it will soon pass.
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