Colic in Winter – Debunking Myths and Misconceptions
As mothers, we double-check everything we can to ensure our babies are safe and healthy. When colic episodes strike in winter, and our babies’ inconsolable crying makes us feel helpless, many of us rely on old traditions to relieve our babies. But, as 21st-century moms, we know better than to listen to old myths and follow them blindly. In the age where knowledge is so easily accessible, we know better, and so we do better for our little ones.
Having a few baby-care tricks and no-nonsense colic facts up one’s sleeve can really help new parents deal with their little one’s colicky crying, especially when the temperature is low.
Let’s crack some myths and beliefs about colic in babies and see if they are true!
Myth Versus Truth About Infantile Colic
1. Babies Cry to Manipulate You!
Babies use crying as the primary way of communication. Whether they are hungry, feeling cold, need to poop, are over-stimulated, or need comfort from you, crying is their way to let you know they need you.
Remember, comforting your baby by holding them close to you will not spoil them; instead, showing love and care when they need it will reduce their stress and help them develop into emotionally strong children.
2. The Baby Will Grow Out of It
Colic episodes generally range continuously for three or more hours, three days a week for longer than three weeks. Though the exact reason for colic is unknown, if your baby is crying because of over-stimulation or under-stimulation, then yes, they will grow out of it. By 12-13 weeks, they will probably settle down. However, if your little one is troubled by an allergy or intolerance to something in the milk, gas, trapped air in the stomach, or tight clothing, it will not magically resolve itself anytime soon. You will need to identify the source of the issue and have your paediatrician help fix it.
3. Baby Needs ‘Formula’ Change
Babies swallow a lot of air while breastfeeding, drinking from a bottle, or crying non-stop. This causes air to get trapped in their stomach and cause pain. Drinking milk can also make them gassy and make them cranky. As much as gas in babies is worrying to a parent, it’s a normal part of the digestive process. So, unless your little one shows signs of an allergic reaction or intolerance to any formula component that makes them gassy, there is no need to change the formula. If your doctor suspects an intolerance or allergy to formula, you can ask for one that is hypoallergenic. You can take the help of gripe water to help your munchkin pass gas. For example, Woodward’s Gripe Water is a great Ayurvedic remedy for colicky babies. Its natural and soothing ingredients are gentle on babies’ stomachs and relieve them from indigestion.
4. Colic Can’t Be Controlled
Winters can be harsh for babies. And if they are colicky, the crying may get louder and more high-pitched. However, believing that colic can’t be controlled is a pure myth. Swaddling your colicky little one in a warm blanket and keeping the temperature around them warm may help in soothing them and getting relief from cold temperatures. Many doctors also suggest proper stomach and side positioning of the baby throughout the day, and also gently swinging, cradling, and giving them something to suck on to reduce over-stimulation and calm their senses.
5. Colicky Babies Are Hungry and Must Be Fed Frequently
The truth is, babies do not always cry from hunger; they have other needs as well for which they cry. Sometimes, when nothing soothes the baby, many parents think that their colicky baby is crying from hunger, but that may not always be true.
Feeding them may reduce crying and soothe them for a while, but not for long before the colic episodes begin again. Feeding them frequently or overfeeding can actually worsen the situation, and they may end up spitting everything out or get irritated from being overstuffed. The key is to feed the colicky baby less, every three to four hours instead of every two hours. The interval will give them enough time to digest the food in their stomach.
6. Colicky Babies Are Not as Healthy as Other Babies
The fact is, colicky babies who cry continuously are just as healthy as non-colicky babies. As long your baby is showing signs of a healthy appetite and normal growth, they are fine and will outgrow this phase.
7. Colic Is Genetic
No. Colic is not at all genetic. There is nothing in the baby’s genes that will prompt infantile colic. Also, anything done during or after pregnancy will not result in colic in your baby. It is a phase almost all babies go through.
8. Do Not Try Medications
It is mostly advised not to use any over-the-counter medicine for colicky babies. But if the pattern of colic seems more extreme for your little one, medication from a doctor’s consultation can really help. Different medications work for different symptoms; hence, they may not work for all colic symptoms. A baby can experience discomfort from tummy pain from gas, indigestion, or any allergy. Being mindful of the medication given to little ones to treat specific issues is important.
For instance, if your baby is feeling uneasy from tummy gas, gripe water is known to soothe and provide relief safely.
Similarly, if their inconsolable crying is because of any allergy, your doctor may suggest altering your food choices or your baby’s feeding patterns to help resolve the issue.
However, it is always recommended to consult a paediatrician before giving your little munchkin any medication.
If your little one is gaining weight proportionately, pooping well, and responding good to things, there is no need to worry about occasional colic or gas. However, if you notice a sudden change in their behaviour that seems alarming, do not wait; contact your paediatrician immediately.
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