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The clearest sign your baby might be suffering from colic is continuous, high-pitched crying for no obvious reason.
No one knows for sure exactly why colic happens with babies, but the symptoms can be very distressing for mums.
Encouraging a routine of three to four hourly feeds may be better than feeding the every one to two hours as usual.
If you’re breastfeeding, check your diet to see if you’re eating too many of the following foods: broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and cabbage, chocolate, cow’s milk, onions, citrus fruits and tomatoes. These can all cause babies to be gassy or colicky. If you suspect a certain food, cut it out for a couple of days to see if there’s an effect. If you are considering cutting out any food groups long term, such as dairy foods, it’s a good idea to get advice from a healthcare professional.
Try to get the gas out of your baby’s tummy before it has a chance to move through to the bowel. If your baby is a quick feeder you may need to burp more frequently. An upright position is essential, either placing your baby on your shoulder or sitting in your lap. Try firmly patting your baby’s back to encourage the bubbles up and out.
A gentle tummy massage can help relax your baby’s tense muscles, and is especially effective after a warm bath.
Gripe water is an old-fashioned remedy. While there is no good evidence that it works, some mothers do use it when their baby has a problem. It warms and relaxes the tummy and has an antacid effect too. Gripe water is usually recommended for babies older than one month, but always remember to check the label before use.
Certain positions are soothing for a colicky baby, especially on the tummy. Lay your baby face down over your arm, head resting in the crook of your elbow with your hand between your baby’s legs. You could also try lying your little one face down on your lap, head turned to the side, while gently moving your own legs side to side. Remember once asleep you should make sure your baby is lying face-up.
A swing or vibrating chair can be a lifesaver if your baby is very unhappy in the evenings.
If you are bottle feeding, either fully or just occasionally, choose a bottle with an anti-colic valve which has been clinically proven to reduce colic and its symptoms. Be sure to have the correct flow of teat for your baby, and to always have the teat full of milk so your baby isn’t sucking in air.
Try a soother when your baby is difficult to comfort. If your baby does have a pain, suckling will help.