‘’Colic is defined as frequent persistent periods of unexplained crying (often in the evening)’’ and the NHS says ''The cause of Colic is unknown..''
What a load of crap is all I can say! Babies do not cry persistently for no reason, they cry because they have wind (not colic), they are overtired (not colic), they are hungry (not colic), overstimulated (not colic) and a million other reasons and companies have made millions of pounds selling parents colic remedies and it really pisses me off. I am passionate about this subject, can you tell!?
Do you know who came up with Colic? Dr Morris Wessel, 40 years a go! 40 years is a long bloody time for research to have come along and for experts to realise that it's total tosh. Many people think colic has something to do with wind and digestion, but there is no research that states that. Periods of crying, don't know why - call it Colic! Same with IBS, yes I know I have irritable bowels but why!!?? No one has an answer, now question why that is....
The number one selling UK brand that sounds like Infadol (I am not going to give them the keyword search!) have even made an app to ‘diagnose’ if your baby has the dreaded colic. If your baby cries a lot between 4-10pm, pretty much you will be told baby has colic.
The colic remedy is so good at fixing colic, midwives and doctors prescribe it right? Err, no they don’t. They may tell you to try it, but they know as much as we do that colic doesn’t exist but it could be for so many reasons that the crying happens that Colic is a nice easy answer. This particular colic remedy is also very poorly tested, a BJM paper stated that the ‘remedy’ tested 26 infants aged 1-12 weeks old with no reports on how the colic was identified. The study also didn’t state it could ease or fix colic, but referred to ‘crying attacks’ - which could have been caused by anything couldn't it? I cry more than 3 times a week, more when I have a newborn sometimes - do I have Colic too??
Two other studies were done using the active ingredient Simethicone - both stating that a placebo reportedly worked better than the Simethicone based remedy. Doesn’t sound very clinically proven to me. Plus there are extra ingredients (artificial sweetener) in there that are just necessary for a baby to be digesting.
Something interested is that probiotics are being tested and have much better results than these colic remedies at soothing crying babies. ‘’Eighty-three infants completed the trial: 41 in the probiotic group and 42 in the simethicone group. The infants were similar regarding gestational age, birth weight, gender, and crying time at baseline. On day 28, 39 patients (95%) were responders in the probiotic group and 3 patients (7%) were responders in the simethicone group.’’ I know where I would rather spend my pennies! Another thing is skin on skin contact is a better remedy for a crying baby too.
Why does it seem to work for some babies? When you have diagnosed baby with Colic, you give them Infadol or similar and then you help baby to get comfortable, more cuddles, more milk, rocking to sleep - you are more aware of situation because you have been told baby has Colic. You feel more in control, baby isn’t feeding off your stress as that has calmed now you know it’s Colic. It’s just how you are responding to your baby that is easing the crying, not the 'remedy'.
Having a baby who cries a lot is horrible, there is no denying that! It's exhausting, it's emotional - it sucks ass basically. But please don't be quick to just label is colic, take a closer look at baby, the routine and see if you maybe just missed something. It's easily done!
How can I help my baby that cries a lot?
Make sure babies are getting enough sleep, that includes naps! A newborn will be able to stay awake for 45 minutes before needing to go back to sleep, that’s enough time to feed, change and put back down again.
Skin on skin and extra cuddles - make your baby feel safe!
Make sure you are getting their wind up, feed in an upright position and wind for an extra 5 minutes longer than you normally would - especially at night. Tired babies don’t like to give up their wind, so make sure they are awake when burping.
Don’t teach your baby to fall asleep feeding, as amazing as it is to see them all full and milk drunk, waking up alone in a crib when they fell asleep all cozy on Mum is a shock. Imagine falling asleep on your sofa and waking up in your front garden. It’s the same thing and will make babies cry! Feed, burp and put to bed drowsy but not asleep. This will also help baby learn to resettle when they wake between sleep cycles.
Don’t over stimulate baby after 4pm in the afternoon, keep everything calm and quiet.
Keep bedtime the same, dull lighting, warm bath, baby massage, storytime - whatever your routine is - stick to it.
White noise, works wonders! Louder than you think is normally best.
When should I worry?
When things don’t seem right, blood in poo, green vomit, fewer wet nappies, not eating as much, temperature etc - take to doctor.
If none of the above tips calm baby and they are continuing to cry, take to the doctor as it could be another reason, reflux, intolerance, latching issues, allergies etc.
Mummy instinct is the best, so listen to it! If you are worried, book an appointment today!