The New Parent’s Guide To Coping With Colic
When your infant cries, you rush to his side to attend to his needs. This is a normal dynamic shared between babies and their parents. Their only way to communicate is by crying. When mom or dad hears the wail, they come running. It’s part of our programming.
One in five babies develop colic. It’s not a disease that new parents need to be concerned about. Instead, it’s a condition in which your little one will cry incessantly for reasons that are inexplicable. The wailing will start mysteriously one day and last for hours. It will happen every day at approximately the same time for several weeks.
Below, we’ll help you understand colic and explain some of its possible causes. We’ll also describe a few ways to prevent its onset and offer tips regarding how to stay strong in the event your infant starts to wail.
What Causes Colic?
Doctors still are unsure regarding the factors that cause babies to become colicky. Despite years of research, the condition remains a mystery. Having said that, the medical community is certain that it is not caused by genetics. Nor is it brought about by stimuli introduced during pregnancy.
It is widely thought that losing the ability to block out visual and audio stimuli contributes to the condition. Normally, newborns can sleep through nearly anything. They eventually lose that ability, which may lead to stress.
Another possible reason babies become colicky may be due to their digestive process. Newborns often have trouble digesting food because their systems are still developing. That can cause food to pass through their digestive tract without being broken down properly. A heightened sensitivity to certain foods can also lead to colic. If you’re breastfeeding your little one, the foods you eat might also cause the reaction.
How To Prevent It
Without knowing the causes, it’s difficult to know how to prevent your baby from becoming colicky. However, there are a few things you can try. If you’re feeding him formula, consider switching to another brand – possibly one that avoids dairy. If you’re breastfeeding, review your own diet and eliminate foods that might be causing a reaction.
You can also take an active approach. When your baby begins to wail (right on schedule), pick him up and walk with him. Or, swaddle him. Rub his back and stomach to see whether doing so has an effect.
Coping With Colic
As we mentioned, we’re biologically programmed to respond to our baby’s crying. When your little one begins to wail, your instinct is to go to him and figure out what is causing him stress or discomfort. That said, a colicky baby can be enormously frustrating for parents. Not only can the constant crying rattle your nerves, but it can also take an emotional toll on you. Learn to ask your friends and family for help. Even if only to grab a few minutes of time alone. Also try exercising to relieve the stress that naturally builds from hearing your baby’s continuous wailing.
The good news is that the constant crying will eventually stop. As mysterious as the causes of colic are, so too, are the reasons it ends. By the fourth of fifth month, you’ll be able to breathe easily again.
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