Children who are too young to communicate through language often relay their needs through crying. A piercing cry is designed to get mom and dad’s attention and is an effective way to convey hunger, soiled diapers and/or illness. Many parents have become adept at reading the subtle differences between cries to better understand their children’s needs.
One cry that can often baffle caregivers is the cry that seemingly never stops: colic. Colic is an inconsolable cry that lasts for up to three hours a day, three days a week for longer than three weeks.
Parents magazine states up to 25 percent of all babies between the ages of two weeks and three months develop colic. A colic diagnosis might be given after medical providers rule out a medical reason for the crying.
In their attempts at getting some peace and quiet, parents may look to the internet to learn more about colic. Unfor-tunately, many myths prevail about colic, and that can make it even harder to understand this difficult condition.
1. Myth: My baby is in pain.
Truth: According to Barbara Prudhomme White, Ph.D., an assistant professor of health and human services at the University of New Hampshire, colicky babies experience no greater increase in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those without colic. Any grimacing or other faces that appear like pain are probably not.
2. Myth: All babies will grow out of it.
Truth: Although many children outgrow colic by the time they’re six months old, that’s not the case for everyone. If colic is resulting from tight clothing, allergy, intolerance, gas, or some other small discomfort, it will not magically resolve by a certain time.
3. Myth: Manipulative therapies help relieve colic.
Truth: Physical therapies like chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture or massage do not demonstrate consistent positive results for colicky babies, according to American Family Physician.
4. Myth: Dietary changes will not help.
Fact: There is some evidence that breastfeeding mothers who change to low-allergen diets have babies with significantly less colic. Switching to hydrolyzed infant formulas also may help reduce colic episodes. Standard formulas can be restarted between three and six months of age.
5. Myth: Colic can’t be controlled.
Fact: A study by Bradley Thach, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine, found that wrapping colicky infants snugly in a blanket (swaddling) may soothe them. Other doctors suggest the five-S method. This includes side/stomach positioning, shushing, swinging and giving the baby something to suck on.
6. Myth: Medications can help.Truth: Do not try an over-the-counter product or something like gripe water without consulting with a pediatrician. Some solutions do not have any demonstrated effectiveness and may cause harm.
Understanding colic and learning to disseminate fact from fiction can help parents and their babies get through this potentially difficult time in their lives.