It is a word that is thrown around constantly when you are a new parent. When you google "why is my baby crying so much" you will most likely be showered with numerous articles stating "maybe it's colic". When you go to a baby group and your baby cries, it is suggested "maybe it's colic." When you visit your family and your baby seems in discomfort and cries... yep, "maybe it's colic."
So, what on the earth is colic? Why can't we be given a special medicine that magics it away? Why can't we take baby for a walk and sing them a few songs and the "colic" ends. Why doesn't it last just a week or two then disappears, like the common cold or the sniffles? Colic is described by the NHS as "when a baby cries a lot but there's no obvious cause. It's a common problem that should get better on its own."
That's just it isn't it. Those words; "It should get better on it's own." It's really hard to stomach that there is no cure, especially when Sandra on mumsnet is telling you it took 6 months until her baby stopped with the colic symptoms and she had given up gluten, dairy and sugar. It seems as though it will last forever and you have no idea when you may get close to that light at the end of the tunnel. Isn't a newborn baby meant to be blissful and idyllic afterall?
A baby has a lot of immature systems in their body, all trying to figure out how to work in the outside world. The digestive system is one of them and it can cause a lot of pain and stress.
When you are stressed, think how much you need to relax. Sometimes your body feels tight and you feel physically sick as your stomach is so clenched. Cortisol, the stress hormone, may be at an all time high. You need to decrease that hormone and bring in the happy ones... serotonin and oxytocin.
Massage releases these hormones. They create relaxation and in turn you relax. Massage stimulates the nerves in your skin, which send messages to your brain to just chillax!
Baby Massage is exactly the same. You are calming and relaxing your baby and they in turn should calm and feel less distress or discomfort. You aren't solving the problem of colic, but you are helping your baby deal with the issues that come with it. It will also help to relax you, as let's face it, listening to hours of crying isn't doing you any favours either.
So lots of cuddles and a wonderful baby massage routine, focusing on the tummy especially, will help those hard times feel just slightly more bearable. You WILL get there and it will seem like a distant memory.
NHS advice for colic:
Call NHS 111 or see a GP if you're worried.
Check if your baby has colic
All babies cry, but your baby may have colic if they cry more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for at least 1 week.
They may cry more often in the afternoon and evening.
It may also be colic if:
it's hard to soothe or settle your baby
they clench their fists
they go red in the face
they bring their knees up to their tummy or arch their back
their tummy rumbles or they're very windy
It can start when a baby is a few weeks old. It usually stops by the time they're 6 months old.