According to 2019 HSE reports, approximately 1 in 5 babies will develop colic. It can start when your baby is 2 weeks old and can last up to 6 months.
Colic is defined as “excessive and frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy” (HSE, 2019). Surprisingly, the reason why babies get colic is still not known.
How to recognise if your baby has colic
- Periods of crying where they are harder to console than usual - over 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week and over a period of 3 weeks or more
- Drawing their legs up, arching their back or clenching their fists going red in the face
- Seeming to settle and then having another spell of crying
- Crying is more common in the evening time. Sometimes a baby with colic can cry for many hours during the day or night.
Although your baby may appear upset with colic they should still be able to feed well and gain weight at a normal rate.
How to help your baby with colic
Unfortunately, there is no one treatment for colic, different things will help different babies. As you get to know your baby, you will learn what works best for you.
7 top tips that may help
- Anti-colic bottles such as the NUK First Choice + or NUK Nature Sense bottles are designed with an air vent. This vent makes it possible to drink as if from the breast without a pause, thus helping to prevent your baby swallowing air and reducing the risk of colic.
- If you’re breastfeeding, try to empty the milk in one breast during a feed before changing breasts. You create two types of milk when breastfeeding and the second half of your milk has more fat in it. Fat slows down digestion and helps to release food slowly, helping with digestion.
- Never underestimate the power of skin to skin contact to calm your baby. Hold your baby close during a crying episode.
- Sit your baby upright during feeds and make sure to wind or burp after feeds. A soother can soothe your baby when they aren’t feeding.
- Gently massaging your baby's tummy before they are likely to cry may help. Do this in a circular motion. Do not massage after a feed.
- A warm bath can also be helpful, as well as gentle rocking. Other movement and motion, for example, a walk in the buggy or pram, or a car journey can also be of benefit.
- White noise or music. 'White noise' - like the low-frequency noise of a vacuum cleaner - a radio not tuned in properly or 'white noise' music or apps. Avoid over-stimulating your baby with loud noise, bright lights or a crowded room.
For more information on colic and your baby drop into your local CarePlus Pharmacy
Some information from this article has been sourced from the HSE