Colic is a condition in which your baby cries for by long durations almost regularly every day for fixed period of time. It generally begins in the first month of life and continues till 4 months of your baby’s age, but in some babies it may go on to 12 months of age.
Multiple reasons that can make your baby cry for long hours.
Your new born baby can cry because of many reasons. Sometimes crying may be due to obvious reasons while at other times they may just cry out of nowhere.
Some of the obvious reasons of crying are hunger, need for sleep, discomfort due to cold or hot or due to dirty diaper. Very young babies also tend to cry when they are disturbed, when they are roughly handled, like at bath times or when they get a shock, perhaps from the fear of being dropped or from a loud noise or bright light.
Consult a pediatrician: Crying is just a way of communicating needs for a baby but at times your baby may resort to crying out of no reason. She may cry uncontrollably for long durations. That may be indicative of colic. You can identify it with the help of your pediatrician.
Measures to follow if your baby is colicky.
Be patient: It is quite obvious for parents to feel guilty and helpless when they are not able to soothe their crying babies. But it is very important for a parent to come to terms with her feelings to remain confident for child care.
Check your emotions: A parent of a colicky baby may feel anxious, upset, fearful and incompetent. Some parents may also feel a surge of anger or guilt. All of this is quite normal. You need to deal with these feelings in you, first hand, to deal with the crying baby.
Stay confident: You need to understand that the baby is not crying because of a reason. You need to believe that you are completely capable of child care and baby’s crying is just a phase that every parent has to deal with. If you have fulfilled all her needs, then there is no reason for you to feel guilty or stress yourself by thinking that you are incapable.
Take a break: If your baby’s crying is making you uncomfortable, take a break. Parents can take turns to take care of the baby. A bothersome, worried, exhausted or angry parent makes the baby more uncomfortable and if both the parents are in the same state of mind at the same time, the baby is sure to have a hard time.
Let the process take its course: When you are refreshed, your calm and comforting attitude relaxes the baby. Remember that colic is just a stage in the development process and if your child suffers from it, she may overcome it by the time she is 3-4 months old.
Your response is important in controlling your baby’s cry.
None of the parents ever want their babies to cry. But crying is the only way for little babies to communicate and grab your attention. As we have discussed crying can be because of many reasons and a parent needs be responsive to the baby’s cry.
Understand her needs: Initially, you may not be able to understand your baby’s needs, but gradually you would be able to identify and relate the sound that she makes while crying to her needs. Quick responses to crying make your baby feel being cared, secured and also comforts her, besides fulfilling her needs.
On the other hand, a non-responsive attitude of parents towards crying of the baby makes her feel ignored and unwanted for. At a later stage in life, this will make her introvert and detached from parents and people around.
How can you soothe your crying baby?
There are a lots of remedies you can try to soothe and calm your baby. As a general rule, most babies respond to movement, sound and closeness to the mother.
You can use the following techniques to soothe your baby:
Physical contact with your baby: Lift the baby to the shoulder and rock or walk along. The combination of physical contact, upright posture and motion is an effective soothing technique that makes your baby calm.
Swaddle your baby: Swaddling the baby restricts the baby’s body movements and prevents her from throwing out her limbs in jerk while she cries. Moreover swaddling gives her warmth which has a soothing effect on the baby.
Train your attitude: Talking softly, rhyming, singing or playing rhythmic sounds are also very helpful in soothing a crying baby. Continuous, repeated rhythmic sounds engage the baby and help the baby calm down. Learn to project the right attitude when you are interacting with her. That makes all the difference.
Take your baby out: You can try taking her for a walk or stroller ride, or a car ride. Swinging the baby in the cradle is also equally helpful. Any of the gentle rhythmic motions, even rocking the baby in your arms, helps the baby calm down and fall asleep.
Massage your baby: Massage helps a great deal in relaxing the muscles and your gentle, rhythmic touch on the body makes the baby feel secure and calm her down
Burp the baby after feeding: You must burp the baby regularly after feeding. Burping prevents accumulation of wind in her tummy that causes abdominal aches. Gas formation is one of the major factors that contribute to colic. A regularly burped baby has less severe colic symptoms and discomfort, and hence less crying.
An alternative way to soothe her.
You can try a combination of things mentioned above, so as to engage the baby. This is a more effective in soothing the baby faster.
If none of these methods work, you can just let the baby cry for a short while and be on her own. Sometimes, the babies respond well when they are just put down and after a few minutes, they may fall asleep. The key to dealing with a crying baby is your patience and perseverance. Maintain that throughout while handling the baby and you can find yourself more confident in child care.
At times, your baby cries inconsolably. Colic is one of the main reasons for this but there can be other reasons also. Be patient and consult a doctor, if necessary.