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Infant colic is a common condition, affecting infants in their first months of life. However, it is not a serious medical condition and usually resolves by the age of 3-4 months. Colic is usually recognised by bouts of inconsolable crying, often for hours at a time, for no specific reason.
Colic most commonly occurs in the late afternoon and evening when your baby may cry out as though it is in pain, draw her knees up to her chest and go red in the face. Her tummy may appear swollen or bloated as if she’s swallowed a lot of air, and she might pass wind more than usual.
According to NBB Expert Paediatrician Dr Chilton “Colic has never been about pain in the abdomen or anywhere else for that matter; it’s not about heartburn or ‘wind’. It certainly isn’t about the baby’s stomach. Neither is it anything to do with mother’s mental state, nor the food she eats while is breast-feeding, nor the brand of formula if she’s not breastfeeding.”
“The reason it’s so hard for parents to figure it out for themselves is the cause is counter-intuitive and, no question, the baby looks like he or she is in excruciating pain. The baby doubles up, knees in chest, and screams like there’s a knife twisting in his gut. But it’s not about pain, it’s about over stimulation of the poor baby’s sensory nervous system.” Say Dr Chilton.
A colicky baby can be distressing for everyone in the house. Listening to long periods of crying can leave you feeling tired, stressed and emotionally drained. Despite the intensity of your baby’s cries, it is important to remember that colic is not a serious medical condition.
If your baby experiences diarrhoea, vomiting or a raised temperature (over 38°C/100°F) or if you are uncertain whether your baby is suffering from colic, seek guidance from your doctor immediately.
Despite medical research, no one is certain exactly what causes colic. You can try the following methods to help baby:
Allow plenty of cuddles, distressed babies can’t sooth themselves and need your help to do so. New research shows it is not advised to let babies “cry it out”.
If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare professional.