Excessive, Persistent Crying
The term Colic means excessive, persistent crying in seemingly normal healthy babies. For many years practitioners have generally used a 'rule of thumb' approach to diagnose colic. This being that the crying goes on for more than 3 hours per day for at least 3 days in a week and has been going on for at least 3 weeks. However, usually by 3 to 4 months of age, babies' colic episodes are subsiding. In the meantime, parents can end up feeling helpless, as the whole situation can feel something like 'surviving' a continual storm, until the storm patterns have worn themselves out!
- The onset of crying is sudden as though it 'comes out of the blue'
- The cry is loud and high-pitched, frantic like, indicating the baby is extremely distressed
- The baby may pull her little legs up to the belly, and has tension in the body. She may hold her breath for a moment before the next burst occurs. Baby's face becomes red and her fists may be tightly clenched
- And ... the baby is inconsolable, as though she cannot hear and feel your warmth and reassurance.
- Acid reflux (milk regurgitating up into the oesophagus) which causes 'heartburn'
- Intolerance or an allergy to specific types of milk formulas
- Certain foods in breastfeeding mothers' diets, although it is not conclusive. Some research has found that excessive amounts of caffeine (such as in coffee, soft/soda drinks, energy drinks) can irritate infants.
- Drug intake by mothers during pregnancy
- Low birth weight infants.
- Parenting practices and the environment the child is being raised in e.g. lack of parent sensitivity (discussed in Parenting Styles and Bonding and Beyond) and routineness (discussed in Shaping the Day)
- Parenting stress (discussed in Bonding and Beyond)
- Postnatal depression (discussed in Postnatal Depression)
- Infant temperament (discussed in Bonding and Beyond)
- Lack of sleep
- Birth trauma.