Coping with Colic

P1020228After publishing my breastfeeding journey with Monkey recently, I have been reminiscing a bit back to those early days of Monkey’s little life. With the arrival of baby no.2 approaching faster by the day I guess it’s no wonder really! I am nervous of going through the baby days again as I didn’t find it very easy first time round. There was the initial breastfeeding struggles, which led on to a much longer struggle. You see, Monkey had Colic and coping with a colicky baby can be really hard. I’m not sure any newborn baby is easy, but I am really hoping we don’t have Colic to contend with again this time!

I have been remembering the things we did and methods we used and thought I would share them, in case anyone else is going through the same struggles and needs some help Coping with Colic.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means I would receive a small commission if you were to purchase any item by clicking on the link provided.  Any commission goes toward the upkeep of this blog and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

What is Colic?

One of the worst things about Colic is that there is still so little known about it. What causes it, why it happens, or what can solve it. According to the NHS Choices website, Colic is defined as “the medical term for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed. It is a common yet poorly understood condition, affecting up to one in five babies.” 

It usually starts by around 6 weeks old and goes by the time they are 4 months old in most cases, 6 months old at the oldest. One thing we were told is that it can be caused by an immature digestive system, which causes pain when digesting milk, but that is not always the case. For us it felt very much related to his digestive system with trapped wind or constipation so a lot of the advice below is related to that.

How do you know if baby has Colic?

As I have said, Colic is the term used to describe a baby who cries excessively, and for seemingly no reason. They very often are red in the face, and can  clench their fists, bring their knees up and arch their backs. All of these are signs of Colic. The best thing though if you have a baby who cries excessively (for no obvious reason, not hungry, not tired, etc.) is to see your GP as they can rule out any other problem, such as reflux and let know if it is Colic.

What can you do about it?

It can be so frustrating when trying to get help for a baby who seems unhappy or in pain, to be told, “yeah it sounds like Colic, they’ll grow out of it” and basically be sent on your way. Yes you know then it is probably nothing serious, but that doesn’t help you cope with the exhausting and endless hours of screaming.

There are things that you can do to try and help your baby. If you are formula feeding there are bottles designed to help with Colic, though as we were breastfeeding, I can’t say how good these are or whether they work. So what else can you do?

Burping

It is important to burp every baby after you feed them, but this becomes even more important if they have Colic as you don’t want to exacerbate any trapped wind problems. We would spend quite a bit of time rubbing Monkey’s back after feeding to help bring up any gas he had swallowed while feeding.

Baby Massage

Baby massage can definitely help. If you ask your health visitor they should be able to show you what to do (I am no expert and it is a while ago for me now so I won’t try and describe it here) and it definitely helped Monkey sometimes. It is not a miracle and doesn’t eliminate the problem (I don’t think anything does). By gently massaging baby’s tummy you can help their digestive system and help ease their pain.

P1010239

 

Something else that worked sometimes was laying Monkey tummy down across our knees and slowly opening and closing our legs so he moved back and forth. It feels odd to do, and, well as you can see in this pic, it definitely looks a little odd, but it can also help massage the tummy, and the rocking motion is soothing for them.

Bicycle Legs

Another suggestion from the health visitors was to bicycle Monkey’s legs. I guess it makes sense in many ways, as an adult they often to say to walk if you are feeling bloated or constipated as a way to get things moving and babies can’t do that so it helps them do the same. The idea is basically to cycle their legs as if they are on a bicycle for a few minutes and then to gently lift their legs towards their tummy. This would often lead to Monkey squeezing out some wind. It became quite a fun little thing to do as Monkey got older and we called it scary feet because we did it really fast p(a Monsters Inc. reference, anyone? No, just us? ok :)) and it became a fun thing to do, that Monkey loved, and so we continued even after the colic, as for some time it was guaranteed to elicit some gorgeous giggles!

P1010313

Be careful not to over stimulate your baby

This is probably going to sound like a weird one, but we found Monkey was over-stimulated quite easily. Basically all this means is that he was so curious about everything around him that he wouldn’t be able to sleep if there is anything going on. So noise, light, etc just transfixed him and kept him awake. Long enough of being over-stimulated somehow made the colic worse. Not for us the cute mobiles or pretty lights on his ceiling. For us it was all black out blinds and white noise. Once when he was tiny we had the opening ceremony of the olympics on the TV and honestly that night was one of the worst ever, he was inconsolable for hours. That was when we first noticed a link for his Colic and for over stimulation. It may not have the same effect on all babies but it is definitely something to be aware of!

Remedies

There are a variety of homeopathic and over the counter remedies which claim to help with Colic, I can’t comment on ones we haven’t used or been told about, so this list is by no means exhaustive, but here are the few we had experience with.

Infacol. Infacol is a commonly suggested remedy for Colic and it works by releasing gas bubbles to aid digestion. We used Infacol before every feed for months and I will be honest, we saw no difference whether we used it or not. That is not to say it isn’t worth trying as every baby is different, and as Colic is so undefined, it is even more true that different things will work for different babies.

ColiefColief is an over the counter remedy that helps baby’s digestive system by providing an enzyme they may not have developed yet, which helps them to digest milk. We never actually tried Colief, largely because we didn’t like the idea of having to wean baby off of it, but as I understand it it can work really well. I am no expert so again talk to your GP/Health Visitor/Pharmacist about it.

Colic CalmThis is the remedy that we found worked the best for Monkey. It is quite expensive at nearly £20 per bottle but we were very much at the point of being willing to try just about anything when we found Colic Calm. It is a homeopathic remedy known as Gripe Water. There are many different Gripe Waters out there but this one is a little different, as it is made from vegetable charcoal, meaning it is black. It will stain clothes it gets spilt on and it will turn your baby’s poo black. But, you know what, for Monkey it really worked.

He would be crying and upset, we would give him a dose of Colic Calm and sometimes almost instantaneously he would scrunch up and then do a big poo and be much more settled afterwards. It happened far too often for it to be coincidence so honestly this became our must have product in those first difficult months. I obviously can’t guarantee it working for everyone, but it may be worth a try if you (and your little one) are struggling

None of these remedies are miracle cures though and even with the help of Colic Calm, we had hours of screaming most evenings (if not every evening!) and honestly there is nothing like a screaming baby to grate your nerves and wear you down. At a time when you are already sleep deprived, it can be so incredibly difficult.

Look after yourself

One of the best bits of advice I was given is this.

No baby dies from crying.

Yes it is incredibly hard to leave them when you know they are unhappy, but it can also be incredibly, incredibly hard to be holding them and to feel like nothing you are doing is helping them. Sometimes, wrong as it may feel, it is worth recognising that the baby will be ok if you go into another room for a breather.

To sit on the floor and cry your eyes out.

To scream in frustration.

To take deep breaths and count to 10.

So that you can then resume cuddling and soothing them with a clear head, with slightly less frustration bubbling away inside you. The baby will be ok. You are not abandoning them, you are simply trying to restore your sanity, which is so very, very important.

Know that you are not alone, and it will not last forever.

Those first few months of Monkey’s life seemed to last forever. Minutes and hours felt endless, let alone days and weeks. But they did end, so it really, really is all about Coping with Colic, rather than curing it.

Ask for help

Even if you feel alone, you are not and you don’t have to deal with it alone. I am rubbish at asking for help, I am too proud and I make things harder for myself by not asking for, or accepting help. But honestly learn from my experience and get help where you can. Take it in turns with your partner. If you can, ask relatives to come and give you a break or help with housework so you can get a bit more sleep when baby sleeps. Talk to your health visitor. There are also helplines, such as Cry-sis, specifically designed to help if you feel you can’t cope.

Even if you don’t want to, or can’t ask for help, reach out to someone, and accept some sympathy. I will always be happy to offer some support and am on twitter @BecomingaSAHM or email me on mummy@becomingastayathomemum.com. Honestly, don’t try to soldier on in silence, it’s not easy and you are doing a fabulous job. You are the best mummy for your baby and never forget it, even when it doesn’t feel like anything you do can make them happy or feel better, you are doing the best for your baby. Hold on to it and I promise that soon they will be smiling at you and then cooing and giggling and that makes it all worthwhile.

WP_000350 (2)

Mummies out there, did you experience Colic? How did you handle it? Or if you’re little one has colic right now, how are you doing? Get in touch if you need any support or Sympathy!

We're going on an adventure

Super Busy Mum


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

#BabyBabble
Post Comment Love


57 thoughts on “Coping with Colic

  1. Ah Caroline – I had *such* a similar experience with JJ. I think I can honestly say I cried every day for about the first four months (at least!) (never mind him!!). He had that ‘witching hour’ from about 4 or 5 pm through to 8 or 9pm where he just cried and screamed continuously. I honestly think that is probably the biggest trial I have ever been through in life. I never knew about colic calm but would definitely have tried it. I even paid £120 for two sessions of cranial osteopathy because people had raved about it, but he absolutely hated it and it made no improvement in him :-( I never was really successful at getting any wind out of him. I think the one thing I will say is that he was happier upright in a sling.
    With EJ, although he did have a little mini ‘witching hour’ at about 7pm for a couple of months, it was nothing compared to JJ and he was really soothed by being carried about in my Close stretchy sling. He was so much easier as a baby and maybe this was to do with me being more confident second time round or him having such a lovely calm untraumatic birth in the water, or maybe even being bottle fed from day 6 and it being easier to get him into a routine. Either way I am so happy that I got to experience a newborn without that weight of depression that the constant screaming and sleep deprivation brought on first time round. X

    • Ah bless you Sam I know that feeling so well too, it can be so hard. I am really glad to hear things were easier with EJ and I really hope our little baba is easier this time, it would be nice not to have to deal with the constant screaming this time!! xx

  2. Excellent post. I find it difficult enough dealing with a newborn without colic to contend with, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you. Fingers crossed you don’t go through it with the next one x
    #mummymonday

    • Thank you, this is it, I imagine it is never easy but Colic certainly doesn’t help! I am really hoping it is not quite so difficult this time!! xx

  3. This is a great post, we too had the terrible experience of Colic but we got through it with a few remedies one being colief which made such a difference it was amazing!At the time it feels like things will never change but right at 12 weeks the colic was gone! #mummybloggers

    • Thank you, it is such a difficult time isn’t it so sorry to hear you went through it too! Very glad to hear the colief worked for you and thank goodness it does end, eventually! xx

  4. Fab post! I did one of colic the other week because I feel it’s so important for others not to suffer in silence like you say. It’s so hard to cope with a colicky baby at times and it always helps to know there are others out there who understand! x #mummymonday

    • Thank you. yes I think I read it, and I agree it is so important to share stories like this as there is nothing worse than feeling alone in this kind of situation! Hope you are doing ok? xx

  5. i’ve had 4 babies and have been lucky enough to not had to deal with colic, hopefully new baby wont suffer but, I know this sounds silly, it may not be as stressful as you know now what to expect X

    • That is really lucky! Hmm maybe, I would like to think so though I worry that having Colic plus another toddler to deal with may add to the stress. We shall see though! xx

  6. I think colic is often brushed under the carpet and we are just left to ‘get on with it’ – but it can be really hard. We used the bicycle legs too, and it did seem to help, as did baby massage. Like you say, no baby dies from crying, sometimes you just have to put them down somewhere safe and step out into the garden for a minute. Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

    • You are so right, it’s not seen as that important but it can be so so hard on the parents! definitely good to get a breather sometimes, feels like the only way to save your sanity really! xx

  7. My eldest suffered from colic and my youngest had acid reflux so I feel your pain. It’s so horrible seeing them in pain and crying knowing there’s really not much you can do to help. We found burping whilst gently rocking them around in a circle worked wonders for trapped burps, as did sitting them up in a bouncer for 10mins after they’d fed to help any leftover burps find their way out easier. Propping one end of the cot/moses basket up really helped too and made the nights a little easier xx

    • Oh gosh I feel for you with the reflux as my friend’s little one had it and I know hard that was, even worse than Colic really! It can be so hard and any tips are always worth trying! xx

    • Thanks Iona and that’s why I wanted to write it really, nothing worse than feeling alone at times like that! xx

  8. Oh yes we’ve had our far share of horrors of colic. Its such a hard thing to treat {or at least it can be in some cases} and it’s so incredibly tough on our little ones. I experienced it {first} with my firstborn, gosh, some ‘almost’ 15yrs ago now and NOTHING worked until my Granny came to the rescue with one of her weird ‘Granny recipes’. She advised me to cut an onion into quarters, boil in up and add 4 tsps of the ‘onion’ water into a 4oz bottle of pre-boiled {and cooled} water and give to your little one. With my eldest it worked a treat! I couldn’t believe it!

    Thanks so much for sharing this with #MMWBH and Good luck for baby#2’s arrival!!! xx

    • Oh wow, glad to hear Granny’s recipe worked so well! If we struggle again i will definitely give it a go!! xx

  9. Colic can be so so hard. :(
    My daughter was premature and had colic and really bad reflux for some time. What helped the best here was the ‘bicycle legs’ and a good wrap. I loved my Mobi wrap, couldn’t have lived without it. :)

  10. Our first daughter suffered really badly with colic and it was a nightmare but as you say it doesnat last for ever! We tried infacol and it made a bit of difference but really we just had to sit it out and it passed at 4 months after starting at 6ish weeks. I was so nervous about no2 and even no3 being the same but they were suxh different babies you cany expect it to happen again. I think being more relaxed second time round also helps. Good luck :-)

    • It’s crazy how it feels like forever at the time, but in reality it does pass fairly quickly really! Glad to hear you didn’t have it again after your first, fingers crossed we don’t either! Thank you :) xx

  11. I have dealt with colic as well and thought I would go insane. I even had to call my husband at the time to come home from work and give me a break. It is horrific. Your list is everything I did as well. Perfect post.

    • Oh i don’t blame you for that at all, I would often all my husband too, even if just to have a conversation with another human being and get some sympathy! thank goodness it doesn’t last any longer than it does! Thank you xx

  12. Such a fantastic, informative post!! The next time a hear of someone experiencing colic with their little one – I’ll be pointing them in your direction!
    I especially appreciate what you’ve written about it being ok to walk away for a few minutes! And get help! It’s exhausting to have a baby as upset as this and it’s easy to start believing, even if you’re not coping, that you’re the only one who ‘can’ do it!

    Thanks for linking with #brilliantblogposts

    • h thank you for the lovely comment! That’s probably the most important thing actually, it can be really easy to feel you are failing somehow if you can;t make your child stop crying, but sometimes you have to realise they are ok and there is nothing that you can do and that it is best to get a breather before you get too stressed! Thanks for hosting :) xx

  13. Great post! Both of mine suffered mildly with colic but nothing major, even so it is a difficult period to get through. Fingers crossed your next baby won’t suffer with it :) xxx

  14. I know that many mums, first time mums especially, can be panicked by the distress their littlun’s are going through. Infacol do a colic clinic online with up to 50 questions to answer giving parents some peace of mind that it is colic and nothing more serious. Such a great idea.
    Thanks for linking to #babybabble this week, your post is fab!! Xx

    • Thank you, ooh that does sound interesting! I think that is a big part of the problem as it can be awful as a new mummy to feel that you aren’t able to help your child or stop them crying, when really it is ok and it will pass eventually! xx

  15. I have to say I found it alot easier the second time around and even though you are finding it nervous now (I did right before I gave birth) it will all come easier soon as baby arrives. With colic I was told that if you breastfeed on both sides you are only giving your baby foremilk and not hind milk (the fatty milk at the end) and this can cause bad colic. I fed one side each feed and the next side the next feed and colic disappeared but everyone has a different situation. Just a thought as someone shared it with me and helped me. It also goes faster the second time around. The baby stage doesn’t last long because you are so busy taking care of a toddler as well. So it can be very different and easier the second time around. I felt so much more relaxed about it all after second baby was in my arms. I am so excited for you. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • Ooh I hope so! Now you mention it I do remember being told something like that too, I don’t remember it helping Monkey much, but like you say every baby is different so definitely a tip that is worth a try!! I am also really hoping it goes faster second time around for that exact reason, First time it is just you and baby, whereas second time, there is a ball of energy running around keeping you busy! Thanks Jenny, fingers crossed all will go smoothly! xx

  16. We were lucky that our babies have never really suffered from colic – nothing that a bit of Infacol didn’t sort out anyway!
    Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested x

  17. This is a great post and I do hope that your new baby doesn’t go through having colic too. My son is 3 1/2 weeks old and, touch wood, so far seems okay but I like to feel informed should he develop anything like this xx #babybabble

    • Aww fingers crossed he stays colic free as it is no fun, but definitely good to be prepared just in case!! xx

  18. Oh goodness this brought back difficult memories of our first weeks with Curly Girl when she would start crying at 7pm on the dot and continue on and off until 2am!!! I used Infacol but the best thing to sooth her was holding her to my body, even if it meant walking around our apartment in China for literally HOURS on end. I had a lump in my throat when I read the bit about letting them cry for a bit while you sit on the floor crying yourself – that was SO me in those dark days. Excellent post with some great advice x

    • Thank you and sorry to bring back bad memories! It was hard to write as it wasn’t an easy time, but I hope it helps any other mummies out there going through the same thing! xx

  19. Pingback: Mummy & Daddy take the night off! | Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

  20. Pingback: 38 weeks and a bit of last minute pampering | Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

  21. Pingback: Reality | Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

  22. Pingback: Am I causing my baby's Colic? | Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

  23. Pingback: Colic? Reflux? An allergy? or just anxious parents? | Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

Thanks for taking the time to write something. I love comments and read every one xx

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>