Colic and babies are the worst mix, and it's probably one of the most stressful things as a parent you have to go through with a baby. I personally had the hardest time with my baby who had colic especially because he didn't respond well with me, but was better with his father and i felt pretty useless. I had researched a lot about colic, and received information from my GP but i still hadn't the slightest idea of how to handle a baby with colic. Today's blog will touch on what Colic is, how baby's with colic behave and some tips on how to deal with these behavior's.
What is Colic?
Raising Children Network describes Colic as "Colic is crying and fussing that happens a lot, or lasts for a long time. It usually starts when babies are a few days or a few weeks old." In my experience with Colic, and I am not sure if it's the same for every baby, but colic fits for my son occurred mainly in the afternoon/evening and lasted a range of different times. He would cry for long periods of time, and it wouldn't be because he was hungry, or thirsty, or tired or any of the usual stuff. We couldn't work out why he was so upset and why he wouldn't settle til bed time. It did take some time before we could work out a way to settle him, but he would still cry for a long period of time before then. Visiting my GP when my son was about 3 weeks old, we finally had some clarity and my son was diagnosed with colic. My GP recommended some natural medicines that you can buy from the shop to try and help with colic. She mentioned to me that colic is related to wind, and that these natural medicines help babies to bring their wind up. So we utilised the medicine the GP gave us and we adopted a few different techniques with regards to feeding and burping in order to help reduce wind and possibly reduce his colic fits. It was no walk in the park but with persistence we were able to get through it one day at a time.
Behavior's that come with Colic
I don't know what happens with all babies, but i do know what happened with my son, and it was unpleasant to say the least. Most afternoons and evenings from about 4:30pm on wards my son would begin crying unexpectedly. His body would stiffen and he would stiffen his legs screaming and crying in what looked like excessive pain. He would cough and arch his back. They almost came in waves some nights, where he would settle for a few minutes and then it would start up again. To begin with these fits would last up to three hours some nights, and the stress it would put on me and my husband was tremendous.
We found that our son would settle only with my husband, and it would often make me cry and feel really quite useless. There were so many nights where i would try to settle him from those crying fits, and it just did not work he only wanted my husband. For me that was hard. I looked after him all day, i changed him, fed him, clothed him and did everything for him and when he most needed me, he didn't want me. That sucked! I just wanted to comfort him and help him feel better. But i was happy someone could help my son feel better even if it wasn't me.
Medicine: There's a handful of different natural colic medicines available at the chemist or at the shops. We tried infacol and infants friend. Infacol didn't work, and infants friend did. However if my second baby does end up with colic i will have to try something else, like Gripe Water or Pro-biotic drops as infants friend has been recalled in Australia. We followed the directions on the bottle, and whilst i know a lot of mum's would probably disagree with me, we put the drops of infants friend in our son's bottle as he didn't like the taste of straight infants friend. It made a small difference which we were thankful for, and any help was good help in our eyes.
Burping: In order to help our son with his colic, we increased his burping. With each feed we burped him every 10-15mls. We also burped him after his bottle was finished. To best bring his wind up as he was a problematic burper, we found that holding him upright under his neck, sitting him up on our one knee, and burping him from the bottom of his back and upwards to the back of his neck was what helped to bring up a good amount of burps. We had to burp him a little harder than normal, and we found sometimes it didn't always get all of his wind out. We sometimes had to resort to the burping over the shoulder, rubbing up and down his back, and also gentle little tummy squeezes from the low of his tummy and upwards to just below his ribs. These were the only ways we could burp him. He didn't learnt to burp himself for a while so these were the best techniques to help bring up his wind.
Anti-Colic Bottles: These were an absolute dream for colic. The minute we switched to anti colic bottles, our son immediately took to them and we found he was bringing his wind up better. The bottles we used were Tommee Tippee brand and we found that they were just the best suited to him. He latched well onto them and the milk itself in these bottles had less bubbles, which helped to create less wind.
Cuddles: During our son's crying fits, we found that he wanted to be held. So during his upset stages and crying fits, we held him very close to us, bounced him gentle on our knee, and patted his tummy softly. It seemed to help him stay calm. We also kept some night time kids TV shows on which helped to distract him from his pain. This was the only way to help him calm down during those extended periods of crying.
Thickening: Milk thickening. We were advised by our GP to try to thicken his milk slightly, this was not only to help with his colic but also for his vomiting which our son unfortunately had too. Thickening his milk we found lessened his vomits, and it also helped with his wind surprisingly. Once we started to thicken his milk he seemed more content, full and crying much less.
Food: Now this is a controversial one, but surprisingly when my son started eating his colic went away. It could have been because he grew out of it or it could have been because he was eating. I am not entirely sure, but i will be trying it with my second baby if he gets colic. I started feeding my son when he was 4 months, after getting the okay from my GP to start him on food. And his colic seemed to have settled tremendously after we started him on food. Chat to your GP or medical specialist before going ahead with food, just to be sure that it is safe and okay for your baby, as every baby is different.
After combining the natural medicines recommended by our GP, and the other little tips we used to help our son, his colic started getting better. The length of time he was crying for started dropping each day. It went from three hours to two, then down to one, and down to just half an hour within a couple of weeks. After about five weeks, his crying fits were only lasting about 10 minutes, all together and he was bringing his wind up much better. His stiffening and arching of his back had gotten much better but were still occurring, just not as bad which was good. By four months old his colic went away, and things got a lot easier after that.
Do you think its Colic?
Are you experiencing the same kind of thing as i did? the first thing i would suggest is to see your GP and have a chat. They will more than likely have a feel of your baby's tummy, and have a listen with a stethoscope. My GP also tested his reflexes and gave him a bit of a squeeze to see his legs stiffening. It's important to see your GP before going and buying medicines or trying things as it may not even be colic and could be something else. Keep an eye out for all the signs of colic, and make sure to visit your GP if you think baby could have colic.
One of the things that pushed me into seeing my GP was my mum. She said that the crying fits weren't normal, and i don't believe they are. I did a bit of research online after speaking to my mum, and i read about colic and my son seemed to have all the signs. So taking him to the GP was the right call. There are other tips online i am sure, that can help deal with colic, the ones in this blog are just the ones we used. They may or may not work for you, but if your baby is experiencing colic, it own't hurt to try these things or other things to help your baby have some relief. Do some research, find what works for you, visit your GP and try to keep an open mind. Dealing with colic isn't easy, and it definitely helps having someone, (whether it be family, partner or friends) be there by your side to get through it one day at a time.