As a doula, I have supported many newborns and their families, and a very common challenge that parents face is a baby with colic. Colic is a term used to describe excessive crying in an otherwise healthy baby. It usually begins around two to four weeks of age and can last up to four months. While the exact cause of colic is unknown, there are some common signs and symptoms that parents can look out for.
Signs of Colic in Babies:
A lot of crying: A baby with colic can cry for several hours a day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. The crying can be intense and inconsolable, and the baby may arch their back or clench their fists.
Difficulty feeding: A colicky baby might have trouble latching or may pull away from the chest or bottle. They often swallow air while feeding, which can lead to gas and discomfort.
Changes in sleep patterns: Colicky babies may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. They may wake frequently throughout the night and have trouble settling back down.
Gassiness: Colicky babies may have excessive gas and bloating, which can contribute to their discomfort.
How to Support a Baby with Colic:
Try different feeding techniques: Experiment with different feeding positions, like holding the baby more upright or using a nursing pillow to help with positioning. Burp your baby frequently during and after feeding to help release any trapped air.
Soothe your baby: Try different soothing techniques to help calm your baby, such as swaddling, rocking, or gentle motion. This is a great time to bring back your birth ball. Some babies might also find relief from a warm bath or a gentle massage.
Create a calming environment: Limit stimulation in your baby's environment, such as loud noises or bright lights. Consider using a white noise machine or playing calming music to create a soothing atmosphere and routine in your evenings.
Take care of yourself: Caring for a baby with colic can be exhausting and stressful. Be sure to take breaks and ask for help when you need it. Remember to prioritize self-care and seek support from family, friends, or a professional if needed. There is an excellent resource in Berlin called the SchreiBaby Ambulanz who can help you during this difficult time.
It's important to consider that while colic can be really frustrating for parents, it is temporary and usually resolves on its own by four months of age. If you are concerned about your baby's crying or discomfort, be sure to talk to your midwife or doctor to rule out any underlying medical issues. With a lot of patience, you and your baby will make it through this.