Signs of Colic in Babies - SmartMom

7 Signs of Colic in Babies

It is common knowledge that babies need to be burped every so often to avoid an episode of colic. Colic is a paroxysmal stomach pain that infants below the age of three months suffer from. The pain can persist for hours, and it is a disheartening dilemma for both the parent and the infant.

The exact cause for colic is not fully determined. There are some theories, however. One is overfeeding and the other is swallowing too much air while being fed. Formula-fed babies are more susceptible to colic than breastfed babies.

Since the mode of communication for babies is crying, a parent has a hard time differentiating an I-want-some-milk-now-mommy cry to I-am-having-a-mean-case-of-colic-mommy-for-the-love-of-God-do-something! cry. To help better care for your little one, check out the signs of colic in babies below. 

Crying – During an episode of colic, the crying persists for hours. It can last for 3 hours per day and happened 3 times per week. You can try soothing him with a rub, a hug, a gentle sway, a little feeding, and all those tricks that used to work for you, but still, nothing can seem to pacify your baby because he is in pain. He will quiet down for a short period, and then the crying starts again.

Pulls the legs up – When your baby is colicky, you’ll notice her pull her legs up against her belly.

Baby’s face becomes red – A cry can be so strong that your baby’s face becomes flushed.

Fists are clenched – You’ll also notice your child’s fists are clenched when she is crying.

Belly is tense – If you touch your baby’s belly, you’ll see that it’s tense and tighter than usual. Do not try to apply a strong pressure to her belly thinking that it will ease the pain away.

Sucks vigorously – If you offer a breast or bottle for feeding, your child will suck vigorously for a couple of minutes and then the crying starts again.

Difficulty in sleeping – Colic usually attacks during the middle of the night. You’ll have a harder time putting a colicky baby back to sleep. She won’t stay asleep for the same amount of period she’s used to. She will wake up, get fussy, and cry.

What can you do?

  • Even though colic is a usual part of a baby’s life, you cannot dismiss it as something insignificant. It is important to treat it with utmost importance, otherwise, a colic cycle may pursue.
  • Burp your baby after every feeding. It doesn’t matter if she’s formula-fed or breastfed.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, avoid gassy foods such as beans, broccoli, sodas, apples, cabbage, and milk.
  • Hold the baby upright during bottle feeding so that air bubbles can rise.
  • Do small but frequent feeding to prevent stomach distention
  • Do not apply heat on your baby’s belly during a colic episode to ease the pain. If the baby is suffering from appendicitis, applying heat will be detrimental.
  • Change the bottle to those with collapsible bottle liners to minimize the amount of air swallowed.
  • Change the baby’s formula. Allergy to certain formulas may stimulate colic.
  • Take the baby out for a car ride to soothe his pain

Sometimes, the signs can be misinterpreted as a colic attack. Some signs for colic and intestinal obstruction or infection are similar. If the baby is suffering from constipation, narrow stools, and the presence of blood or mucus in the stool along with the other signs mentioned, it’s time to visit the doctor.

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