What is colic?
“Colic usually appears 2-4 weeks after birth and classic signs are legs drawn into the stomach, clenched fists and frantic crying,” explains GP Dr Catherine Hood.
Experts remain divided as to exactly what causes colic. “One belief is that at 3-12 weeks your baby’s stomach goes through a maturing process. The digestive system finds it hard to break down the large enzymes in milk, which results in a spasm of the gut causing discomfort,” explains Catherine.
“Your child’s uncomfortable because of trapped wind, but this common problem among babies is usually gone by the time they reach 4 months.”
Each child deals with the symptoms in their own way and the signs could be different to what others have experienced. “Most babies can’t bear to be touched, and roll into a ball, crying so much that they’re crimson in the face. Others appear so shocked and distressed that they can look uncommonly pale,” says child psychologist and midwife, Ann Herreboudt.
What you can do
“Both parents need to work out a strategy when dealing with colic. If they’re sleep deprived and stressed, the baby will pick up on this find it harder to relax,” says Catherine. “The hardest thing is not knowing what might happen, so prepare yourself, be flexible and get support from family or friends if you feel it’s all becoming too much.”
“Many mums get disappointed if a remedy their friend used doesn’t work for them, but they need to remember, it’s all about patience,” adds Ann.
Infacol Colic Relief Drops
What it does:
Specially formulated drops to help relieve wind, griping pain and reduce severity of crying attacks associated with colic
Sarah Sangster, 30, from Braintree, Essex, mum to Ruby, 20 months, and Emily, 8 weeks
“My little girl already has to deal with being in a special Pavlik Harness because of hip problems, so when I realised she suffered from colic I wanted to be able to ease her symptoms. I used Infacol before her feed as it helped her pass wind and it was the time of day she coped with it best. Since using it she seems less distressed and relaxes when feeding instead of her usual thrashing around. She’ll happily lie there and take the whole feed, without having to come back half an hour later like we used to. I’m going to keep using it for the next 4 weeks while she’s in the harness and see how she is when she comes out of it.”
VUP MAM Anti Colic Bottle
What it does:
Reduces feeding problems such as colic by offering a smooth flow that stops babies swallowing air while drinking
Jade Jones, 24, from Northampton, mum to Troy Harvey, 7 weeks old
“I realised I had to address the situation when Troy was pulling his knees to his chest and wailing a constant high-pitched cry.
I started using the VUP bottle straight away and after a few feeds he was completely different. It provided great relief in terms of wind and helping him to burp, so I’ll definitely be using it in the future. Sometimes he’ll still cry for around 20 minutes but as soon as I give him a feed, he’s OK again. I won’t look back now, as I have a remedy that’s easing my little one’s problem.”
Dentinox Infant Colic Drops
What it does :
Given before or after a feed Dentinox Infant Colic Drops will reduce constipation and suffering by gently dispersing trapped air.
Susan Ranstead, 37, from Dundee, mum to Eden Summer Marshall, 10 weeks
“Eden suffered with bad constipation that caused her to cry a lot, so I was happy to try the Dentinox drops. I found it difficult to get the syringe supplied with the drops comfortably in Eden’s mouth, so I put the Dentinox in a smaller syringe from another product and she seemed to take it fine.It eased her symptoms and she’s been a much happier baby. The mixture’s quite thick but Eden didn’t mind that and it worked well. I’ll continue to use it with the smaller syringe in the future.”
Dr Brown’s Natural Flow Starter Kit
What it does:
The bottle eliminates vacuum and air bubbles to reduce feeding problems such as colic, burping and gas.
Natalie Hields, 28, from North Yorkshire, mum to Thomas, 4, and Neylarae, 5 months
“We have tried every medication and remedy you can think of, but nothing has managed to soothe Neylarae’s inconsolable crying. Since using the Dr Brown’s bottle she’s really settled down. At first she found the shape of the teat unusual because it’s different to what she’s used to, but once she got used to it, she was fine.
“Occasionally she’ll show signs of colic such as a slight bit of constipation, but nothing compared to before. I’m definitely going to keep using it as it helps her sleep straight through the night.”
Colief Infant Drops
What it does:
Formulated to give your baby relief, these lactase enzyme drops reduce the hours of crying associated with colic
Stephanie Wigglesworth, 28, from Wittering, Sussex, mum to Kieran, 6, and Daisy, 5 months
“Since using the Colief drops, I’ve noticed a substantial change in my baby girl. Something’s happened in her stomach as she seems more comfortable, appears happier and is able to pass wind regularly. We put the drops in the bottle teat as recommended and she took it down easily, not even noticing the difference in taste. It’s helped put our routine back into place, so Daisy and I can get a good night’s sleep.My only niggle was that the bottle leaked when I was out and about.”
3 of the best alternatives:
The power of music
“During the colic stage I played music to Leah while rocking her on my shoulder and it always seemed to calm her. The Lighthouse family and JLS were her favourites as she’d go so quiet when they were playing. What was strange was it only worked when the music was coming out of my phone, not the radio. She also loved the hairdryer and would go into a silent trance every time we switched it on.”
Julie James, 35, from New Milton, Hants, mum to Leah James, 1
“My little girl suffered from colic really badly, crying non-stop from about 5-12pm every night. We tried a lot of things, but in the end we found taking her out in the pushchair every evening for an hour’s walk was what she needed. She’d drift off and then we’d head back home with her fast asleep. If she woke, I’d put her back in the pram and rock her backwards and forwards. It was hard work, but it did provide her with some much-needed relief.”
Jodie Ringwood, 25, from Braintree, Essex, mum to Holly, 3, and Rhys, 18 months
“When Elizabeth suffered with colic, I found a baby massage that was perfect for calming her. Her worst time was always in the evening, so after a bath I would take her into the bedroom, dim the lights, and use some of the massage techniques I learnt at a class at the local children’s centre. Her favourite was the ‘I love you’ stroke where I would use my fingers to gently trace the letters on her tummy, while saying I love you. I did this most nights for about 10-15 minutes, and it really seemed to help ease her constipation.”
Jennifer Dixon, 27, from Manchester, mum to Ben, 4, and Elizabeth Rose, 9 months