What are the early evenings like at your place? If you have a baby who cries for long periods every afternoon, you’ll understand why they call it the witching hour! Regular long periods of crying are actually fairly common in babies, and they might be suffering from what’s known as colic. But what is it? And what can you do?
We’ve teamed up with Children’s Panadol to provide you with lots of quick and helpful information covering many aspects of children’s health and development. We hope you’ll find them a great resource as you take care of your family every day.
Colic – what is it?
About one in three babies develop colic. Colic refers to periods of unexplained, distressed crying related to painful muscular spasms in the colon (bowel). The cause is unknown. Babies pull up their legs, arch their backs and go red in the face. The crying usually lasts for more than a few hours a day, and for more than three days in a week. Colic typically starts in babies when they are two to three weeks old and lasts until about four months.
It’s difficult to know who finds colic harder, the parent or the baby. Although a colicky baby is obviously in distress and uncomfortable, colic is not usually a serious medical problem. Seek advice and support from your Child Health Nurse or family doctor to check that the cause of your child’s prolonged crying isn’t a more serious medical problem.
Tips for managing a colicky baby
- Wrap your baby and try carrying them in different positions. Constant movement often soothes colicky babies.
- Stand up, and hold your baby resting face-down over your arm at waist level, with their head at your elbow and your hand under their hips. Pat your baby’s bottom gently and rhythmically with your other hand as you sway gently back and forth.
- Gently massage your baby’s abdomen in a clockwise direction.
- Discuss your baby’s feeding patterns with your Child Health Nurse. They may be drinking too quickly or feeding too often.
- Try to feed baby before they get too hungry or distressed.
- Sometimes changes to your diet, if you are breastfeeding, or a change in the baby’s formula, can be helpful. Discuss this with your Child Health Nurse.
- Consult your pharmacist or a natural health practitioner regarding over the counter remedies that may be helpful. You may also like to discuss this with your family doctor if you’re concerned.
This is an excerpt from The First Five Years, which is a handy and easy to navigate book, specifically developed to help parents. It contains a comprehensive collection of practical parenting information and useful tips for your child’s first five years. If you’ve ever wanted a quick guide to refer to in the middle of the night, or to help you decide when it’s time to see a doctor, this is a resource which will help you on your way. You can view it online or download it for free at The First Five Years.
(This is a sponsored post for Children’s Panadol)