Colic is a horrible thing. It's awful for baby and just as difficult as a helpless parent. While there are no quick, easy solutions, it's best to remember that it's common, not harmful and will pass. Feeding experts Tommee Tippee provide some helpful tips on how best to deal with it.
All babies are cranky sometimes, but if your little one cries for hours and it seems like nothing you can do makes a difference, they may be suffering from colic. Looking after a colicky baby can be very frustrating for parents, not least because everyone seems to have an opinion on how to stop it. So, what is it and what can you do if your baby has it?
First and perhaps most difficult of all, is not to take colic personally. It’s not your fault that your baby has it, even though it may feel that way. Colic is a common problem that tends to begin when a baby is a few weeks old and normally stops by the time they are 6 months. It's defined as excessive and frequent crying in a baby who is otherwise healthy.
Signs of Colic
Here are signs to look out for, if you think your child is suffering from colic.
- Intense crying that lasts several hours and can’t be soothed by feeding, changing or rocking, especially late in the afternoon or evening.
- Baby becoming red and flushed in their face when they cry
- Baby clenching their fists, drawing their knees up or arching their back while crying
If your baby is feeding and gaining weight normally, then these signs may show they have colic. If they are struggling to feed or show other symptoms that you’re concerned about, then you should get professional medical advice.
It’s important to remember that although these signs may be upsetting, colic crying outbursts are not harmful to your baby.
What causes colic?
No one really knows for sure what causes colic, but many link it to indigestion, trapped wind or sensitivity to certain ingredients in baby’s feed. Despite what you may hear, it’s just as likely to happen in babies who are breastfed as those who are bottle-fed.
Colic isn’t about hunger. So popular wisdom to provide a more filling feed or to start weaning early may not help. Think of your own experience. If you have an upset, bloated or crampy tummy, would you want to eat more?
Remember that babies’ tummies and digestive systems are still developing, and most parents will be able to distinguish the sound of a hungry baby from other causes of distress.
What can you do to prevent colic?
Wind can be a factor, so helping your baby to get rid of trapped wind may help. Burp your baby after every feed by holding them over your shoulder and gently patting their back.
Try a new bottle
Using a different bottle can also help reduce colic symptoms. The new Tommee Tippee Advanced Bottle helps prevent colic by stopping air entering milk during feeding. It has a clever venting system with an anti-colic straw that takes excess air from the teat to the base of the bottle.
Tommee Tippee asked 210 parents who tried using the Advanced Anti-Colic bottle and 80% of them agreed that it had successfully reduced their child’s colic symptoms.
There are over the counter remedies that claim to combat colic. Some parents swear by them, others find that they are less effective. It’s always best to ask advice from the pharmacist and to check that they are suitable for your baby.
Another possible reliever is a massage. This is based on the theory that a build-up of gas can cause pain in your little one’s tummy and gentle movement can send it on its way. It’s best to get some advice from a professional baby masseuse before you try this though.
Be kind to yourself and your baby
Colic does get better. That’s a hard thing to accept when your baby is distressed and you’re trying everything you can to quiet their tears.
As with any concern about your baby, if symptoms persist or become severe, speak to your health visitor or GP. But don’t doubt your parenting skills. Caring for your baby can be very challenging at times. That doesn’t mean you’re not doing a great job. Hang in there.
If you're looking for a new bottle for baby, then Tommee Tippee have some great solutions like the Tommee Tippee Anti Colic Complete Feeding Kit.
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