Crying is a normal part of infancy. If you had no other way to express your feelings or needs to others, like being hungry or tired or uncomfortable, you would probably cry as well. However, when a baby cries for an extended period of time, (more than three hours), and often, (more than three days per week), without being able to be soothed, colic may be to blame. Luckily, babies with this condition may experience relief by a visit to Advance Health and Wellness. (And parents will, too!)
Babies have spent their entire lives up to birth encapsulated in warmth and comfort, having their needs met almost instantaneously inside the womb. Then, without warning, they are ushered into a cold, expansive space, where they must “ask” for their needs to be met. The only way they can do this effectively, is to cry. In most babies, being fed, held, or changed, will soothe away the tears and cries. In colicky babies, however, none of these comforting actions actually comfort them. You may notice your baby clenching its fists or tensing up the muscles in their stomachs and legs. They may also arch their backs or pull their legs to their chests. These are typical symptoms of colic.
While it can be very upsetting to new parents or caregivers, colic is not cause for concern regarding the overall health and wellness of your baby. It does not signal other health issues and is not caused by anything you are doing wrong. You are not a bad parent because you are unable to stop your baby with colic from crying.
Though not a sign of colic specifically, gassiness can make crying worse.
Colic is also not a result of any type of illness or pain. If you believe your baby may be crying because they are in pain or sick, it is best to call your doctor. Remember, crying at length (for three or more hours, three or more days per week, without being able to be calmed) is the number one sign of colicky babies.
However, if your baby is vomiting, has diarrhea, is experiencing a fever, or has mucus or blood in the stool, it is not a symptom of colic. If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms, alone or together, it is important to consult a doctor or nurse practitioner immediately, as these can be signs of a more serious problem.
While it is not related, there is also a condition known as “adult colic”, which is a range of gastrointestinal issues. The main symptom of this condition is abdominal pain. Those with this condition may simply have muscle cramps in the stomach, or they may be in so much pain that their everyday routine is interrupted. A professional may want to observe the degree of pain and other symptoms to make a diagnosis of adult colic.
Colic in babies does not generally have a “cure”, but it can sometimes be helped by treatments and therapies like those available at our practice. Cases of adult colic can also see relief through targeted treatment.