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My Baby Has Colic! Please help!

My Baby Has Colic! Please help!

It is estimated that up to 20-percent of children will go through what is commonly referred to as “colic.” This exaggerated version of the normal crying pattern can feel anything but normal to weary parents. These nonstop, inconsolable fits of crying will begin around six weeks of age and will generally resolve by around six months old. 

What is it?

With colic, infants may cry for hours at a time, several times per week. This is usually an abrupt change in temperament for the child. With time, parents may develop an ear for differences in their child’s cry. A particular cry might indicate a diaper change is needed or food is wanted, but with colic, this cry may sound different. It might even sound like cries of pain. Despite exhausting all options, your baby continues to cry or continues to stay fussy even after the crying has calmed down. The crying may come with redness of the face or tensing of the arms or legs, or with arching of the back or tensing of the abdomen.

What is the cause?

“The causes are unknown, but I can assure this is not your fault,” said Dr. Yakeyla Naylor, pediatrician with Hattiesburg Clinic.  

It is important to have your child seen by your pediatrician any time there is a change in your child’s behavior to rule out infection as a cause of the crying spells. 

It’s colic. What now?

Moms try all sorts of things to calm down their colicky babies.

“Whatever method you try, stick with it for five minutes to maximize the full potential benefit. If it doesn’t work, then try something else,” Dr. Naylor suggested.

Following are some tried and true ideas.

• Seek support. This can be challenging for any parent to endure. Get someone to help you take care of your baby for a bit of time so you can rest mentally and physically. If there is not another adult in the home to assist, seek help from a neighbor, sitter, daycare or community group of moms. Taking time away to decompress can actually help your baby.  Babies can sense our angst, and this can make them more uneasy.

• Swaddle. This hug in a blanket can provide a source of comfort for some little ones.

• Swing. There is no spoiling a baby. Hold and love on your baby while you sing, hum or just caress him or her. It makes a difference in the short- and long-term.

• Set the atmosphere. Consider white noise as a way to settle your baby. The sound of rain could also help. A hair dryer or vacuum cleaner might serve as good sources of white noise.

• Consider nutrition changes. Formula-fed babies sometimes do better with changes in their formula. This can be discussed with your pediatrician. Breastfed babies may sometimes do better with mom eliminating dairy from her diet. Some nursing moms have found it helpful to eliminate from their own diets foods such as onions, cabbage, peppers, chocolate or beans. Diet changes for breastfed moms may take two weeks to have a notable effect. 

• Consider herbals. There are some that might be helpful, but this should be discussed with your pediatrician because making a mistake may harm your baby.

You and your baby will get through it. Just take it one day at a time.

Alicia Stevens, a resident of Pearl River County, is a freelance writer, wife and mother of two who enjoys traveling with her family and friends.

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