Here are some frequently asked questions regarding baby colic:
Q. My baby keeps having lots of crying bouts and each time he brings his knees up. Is there a reason for this?
Yes, your baby is instinctively bringing his knees up to help ease and lessen his discomfort. He could possibly have trapped wind, muscle tension, constipation or colic. Colic is where the abdominal muscles go into spasm (tighten) and it can feel very uncomfortable and painful; it’s a bit like having a ‘stitch’.
Q. How common is baby colic?
Evidence shows 5 – 25% of newborns show signs of possible baby colic.
Q. How long can baby colic last for?
Baby colic can last up to 3 – 4 months. However, I suggest you don’t assume that it would last that long. If you choose to take a holistic approach to helping your baby, trying a number of ways to help your baby, you may find that it goes a lot sooner.
Q. My baby has colic and I am breastfeeding; should I be watching what I eat?
I would suggest that you check to see if any of the foods you are eating could be causing discomfort. Wheat and dairy intolerances are quite common and your baby’s colicky symptoms could be a sign that they are reacting to these foods. Cut out acidic foods like onions and tomatoes, spicy foods, wind-forming foods e.g. broccoli, cabbage and sprouts and beans as they could be causing discomfort. Reduce, or cut out tea, coffee, and alcohol as these too could be causing irritability, over-stimulation, gas (wind), and general discomfort in your baby.
Q. Should I see my doctor or health visitor if I think my baby has colic?
Yes it is important that you do discuss your baby’s symptoms and the possibility of your baby having colic with your doctor and health visitor so that all possible medical reasons can be checked out, and also so that they are aware of your current situation. Some health professionals are more informed on how to help colic than others: so do look into different ways to support you and your baby.
Q. Is massage good for my colicky baby?
Massage could be very beneficial for your baby and empower you. Learning a colic massage routine could help to relax and soothe your baby; ease tight muscles, help disperse trapped wind causing pain and discomfort, and help you both to bond further during this demanding time. See if you can join a local baby massage class or have some private instruction.
Q. What is Baby Yoga and could it help my colicky baby?
Yes doing some simple baby yoga exercises could be very helpful for releasing and easing your baby’s discomfort. Baby yoga is movement with song. Gentle exercises can help to dispel wind, stretch out tense muscles and encourage movement in the colon; and singing really helps to lift the spirits for both of you. It’s worth joining a class or having some private instruction.
Q. I bottle feed my baby; could this be causing baby colic?
It is possible that your baby could be showing signs of an allergy or intolerance to the formula you are using. There are alternatives available and it may be worth discussing these with your health visitor or doctor. There are cows' milk-free or low-allergen lactose-free formulas that could make a difference. It is also worth checking you have the right teat on your bottle, as you want something that simulates the nipple and doesn’t let in too much air.
My baby wakes so much at night I feel I am now suffering from sleep deprivation. I am exhausted all the time, I don’t feel myself and I am beginning to feel run down. Is there anything I can do to help myself right now?
It’s really good that you’re aware of how you’re feeling and are open enough to ask for some help. It’s important to stay connected with yourself in motherhood and be able to acknowledge your own changing feelings, especially during challenging times. Broken nights are bound to take their toll, as your mind and body are not having the chance to refresh and recharge properly at night. If you can find ways to have a break from time to time, you could do something in those times that could help to relax and recharge you. Something like having a relaxing massage or some reflexology could help you to unwind and recharge in many ways. A simple soak in the bath with essential oils could also give you time to de-stress and relax. Unwind to a guided relaxation CD, spend some time in nature or just curl up and have a sleep! To get those breaks you may need to ask someone like your partner, relative or friend to help. Or even consider paying someone professional to care for your children while you take that much needed break. Be confident that this is a really healthy step to take during this demanding time for you, and everyone can benefit from you feeling less stressed and more rested.
Q. Would a dummy help my colicky baby?
There are pros and cons to using a dummy which are worth considering before you make a decision; see ‘Articles’ on the website where you will find information on dummies there to help you.
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