Colic is one of those terms that just about every parent has heard, but a lot of us don't know exactly what it is. Has your doctor recently said your baby is suffering from colic and then followed it up by saying that he or she can't do anything about it? It's a frustrating thing that many parents go through, especially when you aren't exactly sure what colic is. Your question as to what colic is isn't an uncommon question; unfortunately, it doesn't have an easy answer. But, there are some things you can learn about colic to help reduce the symptoms and make life a little better for your precious baby.
Colic isn't really known as a disease or condition, rather it's a grouping of symptoms that afflict 15-20% of all babies. The symptoms include fits of unexplained crying, spasms, contractions, reflux, moaning, groaning, pushing, and grunting. You may notice that your baby has keeps his or her body very rigid during these episodes and will most likely have clenched fists. Often babies with colic are inconsolable, even when they are held or parents attempt to comfort them. Colic episodes generally follow a feeding and they are known to become worse in the evening hours.
The reasons that some children suffer from colic are unknown, though there are several theories. Many doctors believe that colic is a developmental issue, as the digestive tract just can't keep up with the rapid growth experienced in the first few months of life. Because most children outgrow colic by about four months of age, this is a very logical explanation. Other doctors believe that colic is a result of emotional stress that parents pass onto their infant. Fussy babies are also known to suffer from colic more often than babies that have a more content temperament, so many have suggested that temperament plays a part. Not surprisingly, many doctors link colic to diet. Milk allergies and sensitivities come into play for many babies that suffer from colic and a slight change in diet often fixes the problem.
There are many things that parents can do to try to provide some relief to their baby suffering from colic. Massages, changes in diet, holding their baby more, burping more regularly, changes in maternal diet if breast feeding is occurring, disallowing smoking in the house, and chiropractic treatments are all remedies that may help a colicky baby and his or her start enjoying life again. The reasons for colic seem to be different for each child, so you might have to keep trying new things until you find what works for your baby. Luckily, colic usually doesn't last all that long so if you can mange to remain calm and not get too frustrated it'll be over before you know it and life will return to normal.
If you are not convinced that there isn't an underlying problem causing the colic like behavior, seek the advice of your doctor. Typical colic does not involve diarrhea or a fever, so if your child displays these symptoms it's imperative that you get in touch with his or her doctor right away to eliminate the possibility that something more serious is going on. While your baby might be really fussy and miserable during colic, it generally passes by the fourth month with no lasting effects.