Colic 101

by Rebecca Palmer

Have you ever encountered a baby with colic? The constant red-faced baby, with that ear-splitting scream that breaks everyone’s heart. Colic affects over 25% of babies, globally and some statistics suggest that it is more likely to be 40%. This means there are a lot of families who are struggling with distressed babies, feeling overwhelmed and helpless.

What is colic?

The classic colic diagnosis is a baby that is crying for more than three hours, three days a week, for a three week period but is otherwise healthy and gaining weight. It can strike between the ages of three weeks to six weeks old but sometimes it can be earlier or even later. The symptoms include;

  • Crying which is difficult to soothe
  • Red Face
  • Clenched fists
  • Arching back
  • Pulling knees up
  • Trapped wind
  • Fourth trimester
  • Overstimulated
  • Cows Milk Protein Allergy
  • Overfeeding

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The term ‘colic’ is used as a sweeping diagnosis to cover various reasons as to why your baby is crying. It is important to note that it is, in fact, a collection of symptoms rather than a condition itself.

The key to helping your colicky baby is to establish the root cause of his distress.

The common triggers of colic are;

One of the most well-known causes of colic is trapped wind and gas. The air bubbles and fermenting gas results in bloated and hard tummies which can be painful. This is can be due to taking in extra air whilst feeding.

This is the period of adjustment in the first three months of a baby’s life. Your baby is transitioning from the womb to the world and it can become overwhelming and often leads to fussy behaviour in young babies.

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This is often an overlooked reason but babies have such limited attention spans that they easily become overstimulated which then leads to distress. It is one of the contributory factors to the ‘witching hour’ that strikes in the early evening, which so many parents are familiar with.

Cows milk contains 2 types of proteins which can be difficult for babies to digest. These are Casein and Whey. If a baby’s immune system recognises either or both of these proteins as a foe then the baby can have a reaction and generally be very miserable. It can be an immediate reaction which we would recognise an allergic reaction and requires immediate medical attention or it can be a delayed response and this often gets misdiagnosed as ‘colic’ as it results in a bloated tummy, gas, constipation and fussiness. It is also possible for babies to have a sensitivity to the proteins which again is often masked as colic.

Babies have the smallest of tummies. A newborn‘s stomach generally can hold 7ml (not even 2 tsp) and this expands to 60ml at age of 10 days (size of an egg). A one-month-old baby’s stomach capacity is approximately 150ml. Therefore, we generally overfeed babies and these results in babies being bloated, uncomfortable and often show reflux symptoms as their little tummies cannot hold the amount of food being fed.

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What help is available?

As a colic expert and a mum and baby wellness practitioner, Rebecca has many years of experience of helping colicky babies. She understands the pain and frustration that a family suffers, as a mother to a colicky baby herself.

By understanding the root cause of a baby’s colic, the right tools can be used to empower parents to help their baby.

For further information on colic and advice on supporting your baby, join me on Your Baby Club's Instagram and Facebook on Fridays at 10 am to ask all your questions live, visit my website or find me on Instagram and Facebook @colicsos.


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Written by

Rebecca Palmer

Colic Expert & Founder of Colic SOS
As a mother of two, Rebecca has personally lived through the difficulties of colic. She knows the frustration, exhaustion, and overwhelming feelings which come when dealing with a colicky baby. As a former solicitor, when her newborn son arrived and presented with colic symptoms, she felt powerless and totally helpless. It was for this reason Rebecca drastically changed her career and trained as an accredited colic specialist. Over the five years that she has worked as a mum and baby wellness practitioner, she has worked with over 1000 families. Through Colic SOS, she offers one-to-one expert consultancy and developed her own four-step process to help parents get to the bottom of their baby's colic. Designed to not only help establish a baby's root cause but also support and guide families through this difficult journey with her knowledge, expertise and care.

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