“Crybaby” is a term often given to people who easily cry, stemming from the fact that all babies cry. Since babies do not have the ability to articulate what they want or need, they often shift to crying to tell you several things, whether they’re hungry, in pain, or is just generally irritated. For new parents, especially the moms, a child’s incessant crying can be frustrating, especially if it doesn’t seem like there’s something wrong. Such a condition in a child is known as infant colic.
By definition, infant colic is when the baby cries for more than three hours a day, three days a week, and for more than three weeks. The baby has to be well-fed and otherwise healthy. Largely unexplained, infant colic usually starts several weeks after birth and will oftentimes disappear by the third month. Colic is often one of the most weathering and annoying part of parenthood. Fortunately, it doesn’t last long and in a few weeks or months, when your baby has gotten happier and more comfortable, it disappears just as mysteriously as it begins.
Keep in mind that it is in the nature of a baby to cry; they don’t have any other means of expressing themselves. For an otherwise perfectly healthy baby, signs of colic usually include the following:
- Predictable episodes of crying. A baby suffering from colic often cries at about the same time every day, usually during the afternoon or evening. A crying episode lasts from a couple of minutes to more than three hours. There is usually no reason for the crying and it can start suddenly. After the episode, the baby will usually pass gas or have a bowel movement.
- Intense crying episode. Unlike a normal crying episode, a baby with colic will have intense crying. The face will most likely be flushed. What’s more, he or she will almost be inconsolable, no matter how much you try and do your best to pacify him or her.
- Change in posture. The baby will usually curl up, with fists clenched. Abdominal muscles will tense.
Getting Rid of Colic
Putting everything into account, colic isn’t really cause for grave concern. Colic goes away on its, usually after 3 months. Still, there are prescription medications for sale in the market but most of then haven’t really been too helpful in getting rid of colic. On the contrary, they can have some serious side effects. There is a study conducted in January of 2007, however, that suggests that probiotics—those that maintain the balance of “good” bacteria in the digestive tracts—can soothe colic problems. There is still a lot more research needed, however, to really determine the exact effect probiotics have on colic.
Even though your doctor may not be able to put a complete stop on colic, there are many ways you can do to deal with the problem better. Consider the following tips:
- Feed your baby. If you think that the reason why your baby is crying is because he or she is hungry, then try a feeding. Be sure to hold your baby as upright as possible. Induce a burping often. Sometimes, smaller feeding distributed across many frequent intervals is good. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, it is a good idea to have one breast be emptied completely before switching to the other as this will give your baby more hindmilk. Hindmilk is potentially richer and more satisfying to the baby the the foremilk that is found at the beginning of your breastfeeding.
- Use a pacifier. Oftentimes, a pacifier will do just that: pacify your baby. Since sucking soothing to a baby, it’s okay to offer a pacifier to your baby to calm him or her down, even if you’re breastfeeding.
- Try the five “S”. The five “S” are Swaddling, placing the baby on their Side, making a Shhh-ing sound to the baby’s ear, Swinging the baby, and giving the baby something to Suck on. These five may assure your baby that everything will be alright and calm him or her down.
- Keep your baby in motion. Rocking your baby gently often has a calming effect, much like how you feel at ease of feel sleepy whenever you rock yourself to and fro in a hammock. Another procedure would be to lay your baby on his or her stomach on your knees and then sway your knees slowly. You can also use a vibrating crib or seat to get the job done.
- Use gentle warmth or touch. A warm bath may also calm your baby down. You can also give him or her a soft massage, especially around the tummy area.
- Consider changing your diet. If you’re breastfeeding, try to see if certain changes to your diet has any effect on your baby’s colic. Try to minimize or even eliminate certain foods like citrus, spicy foods, or those that contain caffeine.
- Sing to your baby. A good lullaby sang by you may have a soothing effect on your baby. Your presence as well as your voice will assure him or her that you’re there for him or her. Even if the lullaby can’t stop your baby’s crying, at least it can keep you busy and keep you calm while waiting for the moment to pass by.
Colic can be frustrating, especially if the episodic pattern happens to be late at night. In such cases, you might suffer sleep deprivations and interruptions in your sleep pattern. You might also feel a sense of inadequacy or depression at the thought that the child’s cries might be because of you. However, keep in mind that colic is oftentimes a natural part of a baby’s growth. Babies with colic often grow up into normal and perfectly happy children.
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