All babies cry. But, colic is when a baby cries for longer time, mostly in late afternoons till midnight or whole night! Consoling a colic child is quite a huge challenge. Colic is mostly associated with gas trouble and stomach ache. Every baby will have gas issues, just blame their immature digestive system. But colic child will have more trouble & so more cry !!
Spitting out curdled milk is very common among babies till 6 months. But, Colic babies spit out a lot. Also, colic child will pass out more gas & often cry while passing gas. Breastfeeding might soothe a colic child but many times colic child will cry on the breast. Remember, baby’s cry on the breast is for soothing & not for hunger. On the other hand, feeding too much or too fast, can also increase the intestinal gas, thus increasing colic discomfort. So, first try to release the trapped gas before offering the breast to feed.
My second baby was a colic child & she was on probiotic drops till 6.5 months. Probiotic drops contain live bacteria that helps the good microorganisms restore a natural balance in the gut. If you feel your child is colicky, talk to your Pediatrician about probiotics, which will aid in some improvement. But, still colic won’t vanish in a day. Time may vary from 3 months to 1 year. Once baby turns to tummy around 3 to 4 months, gas will be naturally released by frequent turnings, lifting the head & shoulders and thus stretching the abdominal cavity to aid digestion. Encourage for more tummy time(not immediately post feeds) & that will slowly improve the symptoms. Once baby starts to eat solid food after completing 6 months, their digestive system starts to mature and the colic symptoms will start to improve better.
While breastfeeding, mom’s diet plays a vital role in colic symptoms shown by babies. Some people don’t accept this fact & they keep arguing that nothing other than vitamins & minerals are passed thru breastmilk. But, I have personally experienced that mom’s diet impacts baby via breastmilk. Baby’s constipation problem too can be corrected with mom’s diet(have greens and curd in alternate days). With the advice of my Pediatrician, I avoided gassy items like pulses(but had lil Moongdal), legumes and even garlic(as it is acidic).. Doctor asked me to avoid milk but I had a glass of milk everyday, fearing calcium deficiency. Took other calcium rich foods like Finger millet/Ragi, Sesame seeds, Curd, Almonds, Figs, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Greens. Though egg is little gassy, doctor asked me to take egg for proteins which is required for baby. So, I had one egg a day.
I had a tsp of Prasava Legiyum(link) in empty stomach in the mornings for good digestion. I took pulses in less quantity and whenever I took dal, I always had it with Angaya podi(will update the link later). I also had Sukku kashayam(link) every evening. This dry ginger + coriander concoction aids digestion both in moms and babies.
Some simple tips that worked for me in soothing my colic child,
After every feed, put the baby in shoulder and burp for 15 to 20 mins. The burp sound is immaterial. Don’t just go with sound. Even if you hear the burp sound in 5 mins, keep patting in the back in the same burp position over your shoulder for 10 more mins. This will avoid the reflux(milk coming back from baby’s stomach) and help baby to sleep better post feed.
In the day time till late evening, before every feed, try to gently massage baby’s tummy around the navel(belly button), do cycling motions holding baby’s legs(above pic) & finally move both the legs towards the tummy(below pic), thereby releasing trapped gas. Here in USA, they recommend putting the baby down on the tummy for sometime, say 5 mins to release trapped gas. This tummy time can be given from 2 weeks after birth. If you are not comfortable in making baby lie over tummy without any support, you can follow our customary posture of making baby lie over tummy on our thighs and patting their back. Our grannies will do this at ease. Sit on a bed/floor with straight legs out in front of you and lay the baby over your thighs so that the pressure of your thighs against baby’s belly will release some trapped gas. In the same position, you shall gently pat their back & slightly roll them side to side to cover the full abdomen area.
Some of my readers said that making the baby sleep in the baby rocker on cranky nights helped them sleep better as that has head in little raised position, which avoids reflux. Some suggested that baby wearing, post feed for half an hour helped them as baby’s head is raised up in this position as well. The best ever immediate colic calming posture that is recommended by many readers is “Tiger in the Tree” or “The Lazy Lion” Hold(the below pic clearly explains the hold). In this hold, the gravity posture stops reflux, the pressure in the tummy expels trapped gas & holding the baby more closer gives them much comfort. You can use your free hand to pat baby’s back for better results. My sincere thanks to my school friend Banu Priya for the below sketch..
Both my babies were colic. First one had mild colic but cried till 1 year. Second one had acute colic till 6.5 months. She used to cry from evening through the night.. Managing a colic child is a nightmare.. Baby will cry at the breast making the ppl around believe that milk is insufficient.. Baby will have sleepless nights challenging the mettle of motherhood .. Her scream disturbs the sleep of my first kid as well.. A complete emotional ride but thanks to my pediatrician who made me understand that my milk was sufficient for baby, which was evidential from her good weight gain.. He clarified that baby’s cry on the breast was for soothing & not for hunger.. He enriched me with the symptoms of colic & henceforth, I became so confident in handling her.. I know why she cried & I know the pain that we both were facing is short-lived.. He gave probiotics and that improved her symptoms.. But still she started to cry at 6pm but it ended before midnight.. She was in her probiotics till 6.5 months.. Even her Pediatrician in USA told that she will be ok once we start solids to her & she too advised to continue the same probiotics.. After starting solids, she showed improvements.. Only after feeding dal to her, she became completely normal.. No more cranky evenings or crazy nights.. And now I could happily eat pulses and legumes and she doesn’t cry for that 😊 My mom & hubby were my big support in handling her through those tough days !! Just be strong and help in soothing the baby. I know it will be a tough time but this will get over soon..
As many moms msg me(My instagram id @Myhealthykiddo) about baby’s cry & milk insufficiency issues, I wanted to write about this topic.. Baby cries for various reasons and this is one among it.. Don’t misunderstand colic symptoms with milk insufficiency. Milk will never be insufficient for a baby if u eat balanced diet and drink lots of water.. Click here to read more about breastfeeding problems, tips & solutions.