Expert / 22 March, 2024 / My Baba

Understanding Colic: A Guide To Soothing Your Baby

If your baby is frequently crying without any clear reason, it’s possible they might be experiencing colic. For any parent, coping with a colicky baby can be extremely challenging. Dr. Brown’s provides comprehensive insights into understanding colic, shedding light on its nature and offering practical guidance on assisting your baby through this distressing condition.

What is colic?

Colic is pain and discomfort in a baby’s tummy. It’s a common condition in young babies, usually starting at about two to three weeks and invariably disappearing at about four months old: although it can last up to about six months for some babies.

Some studies show that it can affect up to 20 to 40% of breastfed and bottle-fed babies.

What causes colic?

It’s unclear what causes it but it’s generally thought to be the result of an immature digestive system, a temporary lactose intolerance, or feeding problems including swallowing air or trapped wind.

What are the symptoms?

Colic is identified by long bouts of crying over a period of days, which usually starts in the late afternoon and sometimes stretching into the evening and beyond. Baby will normally have a very high-pitched cry and will arch their back, drawing knees up to the tummy in discomfort and pain. Cries can then subside, lulling you into believing the pain has gone away, only for the crying to start up again.

How can I prevent colic?

Whilst it can be very difficult to prevent entirely, there are certain steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of your baby developing colicky episodes, or reducing their frequency if they do occur.

Top Tips for preventing & relieving colic:

  • If you’re bottle-feeding opt for vacuum-free, fully-vented bottles. These will prevent your baby from gulping in air when drinking milk. This is a major cause of colic.
  • Regardless of whether you breast or bottle-feed, keep your baby in an upright position during feeding to prevent trapped wind.
  • Burp your baby well after feeding. After the first burp, give it another 5-10 minutes of winding. You may be surprised to find there’s still more there.

Coping with colic

As there is no definitive cause of colic, there is no proven cure. But the first step is ensuring your baby really has colic in the first place – so get your baby checked by a healthcare professional.

Sometimes what’s written off as colic is actually a milk allergy or some other true gastric disorder, like acid reflux. If your baby is on formula, you should ask if making a change in brand might help.

Secondly, get help! Swap with your spouse, another family member or a friend. When trying to comfort your baby, baby-wearing can help. Get a baby sling or wrap and wear your baby as much as you can. Motion and noise can help settle them down: try some of those tricks everybody tells you about like, take baby for a drive, vacuum, play some music or sit with baby on the washing machine during the spin cycle.

Don’t try and settle them by feeding, sometimes a baby can overfeed and you get into a vicious circle of feeding and wind. Try to have intervals between feeding and watch for signs your baby is hungry as opposed to just crying.

There are over-the-counter remedies that can relieve symptoms for some babies. Get advice from your GP or pharmacist about the best one for your baby. Baby massage is recommended, as does feeding your baby as upright as possible to prevent trapped wind.

Always seek medical advice if your baby has a temperature, vomiting, blood in their stools, a high-pitched abnormal cry, feeding problems or symptoms other than just excessive crying.

What’s special about Dr. Brown’s?

Dr. Brown’s is a long-established, tried and tested bottle brand. The specially designed Options+ Anti-Colic Bottles can help prevent colic – and we all know prevention is better than cure! These bottles are clinically proven to reduce windy colic due to the unique 100% vacuum-free vent system. This system reduces the amount of air swallowed during feeds by cleverly channelling air away from baby’s feed, lessening gas bubbles in the stomach, and slowing down food intake.

Originally devised by a doctor in the USA, now 92% of UK Health Professionals recommend Dr Brown’s Options+ bottles for the relief of colicky symptoms. Research carried out by Mustard Research Ltd amongst a sample of 200 UK Healthcare Professionals in May 2017

Sponsored content in collaboration with Dr Brown’s
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