First Time Parents Guide: What Is Colic? How Do I Help My Baby?
To a new parent, few things are as distressing as the sounds of a crying child. In early childhood, a certain amount of crying is healthy and to be expected - it can be your baby’s way of letting you know something’s wrong, or getting affection, or simply blowing off steam. (Those first few years can be stressful for your little one, too!)
But what do you do when your child cries hard, for long intervals, while seemingly obviously distressed, and there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do about it?
If your new baby cries a lot and nothing you’re doing seems to make a difference, he or she may have a condition called colic. To find out more, and what you can do to help, read on.
What is colic?
Colic isn’t a diagnosis, or even a well-defined condition, but a cluster of behaviors that frustrate parents and doctors alike. It refers to prolonged, excessive crying in babies with no other evident health-related issues.
If your baby cries in periods of three hours a day or more that happen at least three days a week, and this persists for at least three weeks in a row, this would likely be classified as colic.
Colic is not uncommon, occurring in about one in five babies. And there’s not much you can do about it except provide what comfort you can, practice patience, and let it pass.
If my baby has colic, how can I help?
When your baby suffers from colic, the most important thing you can do is maintain your own patience and soothe your baby as much as you are able while they are crying. Your baby may seem utterly inconsolable, and you may wonder if the crying will ever stop (You may feel horrible like you are failing as a parent, colic is really hard to bear). But if you continue to give your comfort and affection freely, your baby will understand that he or she is safe, and the colic will pass sooner than you fear.
In the interim, make sure your baby isn’t overstimulated - bring him or her into a dark and quiet environment, and eliminate any strong smells (especially tobacco smoke) or other factors that may be causing distress.
At 3-12 weeks of age, the stage at which colic is most common, your little one’s digestive system is going through dramatic changes, so it’s likely that gas, acid reflux, or food sensitivities could be accelerating the colic symptoms. Check with a doctor if you have any concerns about your baby’s diet and digestion, just to eliminate anything serious.
Colic is stressful, but this, too, will pass
As a parent, your most sacred responsibility is to help your child grow. Although you will always want to take away your baby’s suffering, sometimes you just have to push through it together. Episodes of colic can be frustrating for all involved, but with some patience and perseverance, such challenges can bring you and your family closer together.
A strong character comes from making sure your most important life choices are aligned with your deepest-held values. That’s why Ruby & Poe offers all-natural, ethically sourced baby products, so that you can make sustainability a part of your family’s life, right from the beginning, without sacrificing comfort and quality. Curious? Have a look around!