Hot Topic: Baby Colic/Gas

As a new parent, one of the biggest challenges you may face is dealing with colic or gas in your newborn. These common conditions can cause your baby to be fussy, uncomfortable, and difficult to soothe. However, with the right information and strategies, you can help ease your baby’s symptoms and make life a little easier for everyone.


What is colic?

Colic is a term used to describe excessive crying and fussiness in a newborn that cannot be explained by any other medical condition. It usually starts around 2-3 weeks of age and can last for several months. Symptoms of colic may include:


  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Crying for long periods of time
  • Clenching fists¬†
  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
  • Increased gassiness or spitting up


What causes colic/gas?

The exact cause of colic is unknown, but there are several factors that may contribute to it, including:


Immature digestive system: Newborns have an immature digestive system that may take several months to fully develop, which can cause gas and discomfort.


Overstimulation: Newborns can become overstimulated by lights, noise, or activity, which can lead to fussiness and crying.

Sensitivity to food: Some babies may be sensitive to certain foods in their mother’s breast milk or formula, which can cause digestive upset and colic symptoms.


What causes gas?

Gas can be caused by a variety of factors, including:


Swallowing air: Newborns can swallow air while crying or during feeding, especially if they’re bottle-fed or if they have a weak latch during breastfeeding.


Formula or food sensitivity: Some babies may be sensitive to certain formulas or foods, which can cause digestive upset and gas.


Digestive immaturity: As mentioned earlier, newborns have an immature digestive system that may take several months to fully develop.


How can I help ease my baby’s colic or gas symptoms?

While there is no cure for colic or gas, there are several strategies that may help ease your baby’s symptoms:


Comfort measures: Holding and comforting your baby, swaddling, and providing gentle motion (such as rocking or bouncing) can all help soothe a fussy baby.


Feeding changes: If you’re breastfeeding, try adjusting your diet to eliminate foods that may be causing digestive upset. If you’re bottle-feeding, consider switching to a different formula or using a bottle with an anti-colic vent.


Burping: Make sure to burp your baby frequently during and after feedings to help release any swallowed air. This is one of the best ways to relieve gas pains in their tummy.


Over-the-counter medication: Colic drops (aka simethicone) work really well for relieving gas pains in newborns. As always, consult with your pediatrician before giving any medications to your baby.


Tummy time: Giving your baby tummy time can help stimulate digestion and relieve gas.


White noise: Using a white noise machine or app can help soothe your baby and block out other noises that may be overstimulating.

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