Infantile colic refers to trapped gas and winds in a baby and the bloating and pain that this causes.
In the early stages, symptoms include cramping, moaning, groaning, straining and crying. If not treated correctly, symptoms tend to worsen! Colic usually goes away at around 4-6 months.
Why does gas and wind build up or get trapped?
Trapped gas in an immature digestive tract
Not burping completely - leaving that "deep one" behind
Excessive swallowing of air when feeding - latching issues
Overfeeding or comfort feeding
Formula that does not agree with baby
Allergen to cows milk
Enzyme not present to digest milk
Tongue or lip tie can cause extra gas to be swallowed
Colic symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Colic is common in infants, occurring in up to one in five babies. Many more babies have milder but still noticeable symptoms of cramping and crying. It usually starts when a baby is a few weeks old, peaks at about 6-10 weeks of age, and usually stops by the time they are 4 months of age, although can continue until six months. The introduction of solid foods usually helps these cases.
Signs and Symptoms of Colic in Babies
Cramping, moaning and groaning, even when sleeping
Crying for no apparent reason
Fussiness or irritability even when not crying
Crying occurs more often in the afternoon and evening
Going red in the face from all the straining
Clenched fists, knees tucked up to their tummy, or arching their back
In severe cases - prolonged periods of intense crying or screaming
Rumbling tummy and a lot of wind
Most Common Causes of Colic
Abdominal pain due to trapped gas or indigestion
Usually quite random and a function of an immature digestive tract
This can occur due to overfeeding, underfeeding, or infrequent burping
Less Common Causes
An imbalance in the digestive tract’s bacterial community
Food allergies e.g. cows’ milk allergy
Lactose intolerances e.g. milk protein
Reflux secondary to trapped winds and gas
Parental or family stress or anxiety
Although colic does not cause health problems for a baby, it is painful and uncomfortable for the baby and can be a major burden to families. Colic is associated with exhaustion, stress, and depression in parents and is a risk factor for shaken baby syndrome. Colic is also a cause of stopping breastfeeding early, disturbed sleep (insomnia) and feelings of guilt and helplessness in parents.
Treating the cause of colic
Good burping techniques
Helping intestinal gas to release (farts)
If this doesn't work, start thinking about less common causes
Soothing strategies for a baby with colic include:
Using a pacifier
Colic remedies like Gripe water, Colic-calm, Bennet's and many others. May bring short term relief
Holding, swaddling or cuddling the baby
Distraction and movement - Walking around, gently rocking, etc
Playing gentle, low-volume audio in the background (e.g. heartbeats, soothing sounds, white noise)
Limiting visual stimulation - go a lie in dark room with baby on their tummy on your chest
The two best ways parents can help treat colic
1. Deep and active burping techniques for difficult to burp babies.
2. Exercises that unlock pockets of trapped gas.
Visit our How We Help page for more info about how we can teach you the most effective ways to quickly help ease the pain and cramps. The best way to cure colic fast is also the natural way!