By Colleen Brown (Retired Plunket Nurse)
YOUR BABY MAY HAVE COLIC IF:
• She does not just cry – she screams, drawing her legs up to her tummy, and appears distressed.
• Everything you do seems to help for a minute. She will suck, but then the screaming starts again. Often, wind will stop the screaming momentarily – but it starts again. Being rocked interrupts the screaming for a few seconds. Having her tummy rubbed produces miraculous silence – but it does not last.
• When you interrupt the screaming, the baby remains shaky and sobbing until it starts again.
• The whole episode lasts one to four hours, then it is over for the day.
• A similar pattern repeats itself every day at about the same time, but not at any other time in the 24-hour period.
YOUR BABY DOES NOT HAVE COLIC IF:
• He cannot settle after his late or early evening feed, but cries and grumbles on and off for quite a long time before finally going to sleep. Grumbling never means colic.
• His crying is ordinary crying, even if it is hard crying. Drawing his legs up to his tummy is not necessarily a sign of colic – young babies always do that when crying hard
• Something you do brings the crying spell to an end within half an hour. If a feed or a dummy does the trick, the baby was obviously hungry or needed to suck – either way it is not colic. If bringing up wind enables him to sleep, then he had a windy attack, not colic. If rocking and rubbing soothes him, he may have been lonely or tense.
• The baby is calm while you are comforting him. He may cry when you put him to bed, but he is not distressed.
• The episode ends within half an hour and baby sleeps or stays happy for at least 15 minutes before he cries again.
• Occasional screaming spells at any time of the day or night. They may be hard to bear but they are not colic.