Colic happens in approximately 20% of babies, usually within the first 6 weeks. There are a number of questions to consider:
-Is your baby regularly crying and unsettled for at least 3 hours a day, several times a week, when there seems to be no physical cause? For example, they are fed, and clean and warm, but they are still unsettled.
-Do they draw their legs up, appear in pain especially in the evening? Do they appear gassy and fussy.
If concerned visit your GP or Maternal Child Health Nurse. There may be other reasons such as reflux, infection, hernia, food sensitivity or allergy which may need investigating.
Contrary to popular belief, breast fed babies can also suffer from colic. There is on the market probiotic supplements available for breast fed babies. Drops containing L. reuteri (a probiotic) has been shown to cut down on crying time. Some babies do benefit from colic relief drops (Royal Childrens Hospital, 2023).
If baby has an allergy to certain foods mum is eating, there will usually be other signs such as diarrhoea, poor weight gain, unsettled behaviour exhibited around feeding times, and skin reactions. I recommend mum keeping a food diary. Similarly if a baby is formula fed, baby will also exhibit these signs.
No one is exactly sure why some babies are more sensitive than others. There is some research suggesting immature nervous systems as a possible cause.
Tips for dealing with a colic include- massage, white noise, motion, change of position (lying tummy down across lap, is one position I used for my own babies) swaddling, sucking, or a warm bath. Bear in mind that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Most babies overcome their colic by four months.
Useful contact information
Parentline Victoria 13 22 89 8am-12am 7 days a week
Maternal & Child Health Line 13 22 29 24 hour service, 7 days a week
Sources- raisingchildren.net.au (2023)
American Academy of Pediatrics (2023)
Royal Childrens Hospital (2023)