Nothing is worse to a new mom than hearing her baby crying. Normally, babies can be calmed down with a feeding or a change of diaper, but what happens when they can't? When a baby can't stop crying, no matter what, it's a condition called "colic" and it makes for some pretty miserable nights and days. Even though the condition is said to affect nearly 1 in every 5 infants, it is still greatly a mysterious condition. It appears that it can be caused by abdominal pain.
What is colic?
Colic is defined as blocks of frantic crying that cannot be soothed. The baby is healthy, growing well, good appetite and good sucking reflex but they keep going through periods of extreme crying that can't be soothed.
Please note, however, that sometimes you can feed the baby too much and that will cause them to be uncomfortable after eating. It is a myth that they will quit when they are full and overfeeding can be missed if baby gets colicy every time you give them a bottle, talk to the doctor about how much you're giving and the crying episodes.
What are some of the symptoms?
The biggest symptom is frantic crying for no reason. All possible solutions have been tested and nothing has worked. The baby has a clean diaper, no diaper rash, isn't sick, no fever, isn't teething, is fed and full (but not overfull) and isn't overly tired- but still can't be consoled.
These symptoms are specific to overall healthy babies, growing healthily and with no feeding problems. All other causes need to be ruled out first.
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What are some of the causes?
It appears to be caused possibly by abdominal pain, it could be caused by trapped gas or even possibly by food intolerance, but that is not proven.
What are the best home treatments?
There aren't many options for treatment, infant massage, swaddling gently but tightly, laying on their back in a darkened room and baby gas drops are a few recommended treatments.
When should you see the doctor?
If the baby's crying seems to come with a rash or any sign of allergic reaction or severe abdominal distress or if it seems to get worse with certain foods, you should see a doctor. Lactose intolerance and related conditions can be ruled out at home, but work best when done with the guidance of the pediatrician. Lactose intolerance can lead to similar symptoms.
Colic normally only lasts a few months, but while you're going through it, it feels like an eternity. It's a very common condition but can be misdiagnosed and confused with many other problems so it's usually best to speak with a doctor before using home remedies and to rule out allergies and intolerances.