How Do I Know If My Baby Has Colic Or Reflux?

How Do I Know If My Baby Has Colic Or Reflux?

Posted by Meghan Semple on

Colic and reflux are two of the most common conditions that can affect newborn babies. Around a quarter of all babies suffer with colic, and reflux is estimated to be double that. As an expecting or new parent, it is important to know the difference between the two so you can know how to comfort your baby. At babocush, we are extremely familiar with both colic and reflux, so these pointers on how to address the conditions should help.

How do you know your baby has colic or reflux?

A colicky baby can be easy to spot as their marathon crying fits can last for 3 hours or more at a time and occur daily, at a similar time. Colic is quite normal in newborns and generally starts when your baby is around 2 weeks old. It does tend to go away by 6 months but during that time when your baby is so unsettled, it can be stressful and difficult to know how to soothe them.

Symptoms include:

  •   Your baby cries a lot, and you are not sure why
  •   Your baby cannot be soothed, and the crying feels most common in the evenings
  •   Your baby looks angry and rather red in the face
  •   Your baby brings their knees up to their chest or arches their back when you hold them

What are the symptoms of reflux?

Signs of reflux include:

  •   Your baby bringing up milk during or after a feed. Sometimes this can be quite forceful so be prepared!
  •   Your baby coughing during a feed or suffering from frequent hiccupping sessions.
  •   Your baby will arch their back or turn away from feeding.
  •   Your baby may be restless and irritable whilst feeding.
  •   Slow weight gain.

And of course, the crying. You will find your baby cries and does not settle until they are exhausted (and this includes you too!)

What causes colic? 

Interestingly, there is no agreed answer to this question. Medical experts have suggested the condition is a result of internal bacteria, sensitivity, and physical strains.  Many medical professionals agree that babies exposed to smoke in the womb are more likely to be colicky when born. Food allergies and other forms of irritation can induce colic-like symptoms. If you are concerned about your baby's growth or development, a visit to the doctor is a must.

And, what causes Reflux? 

You may wonder why some babies get reflux and others do not – well it’s because of muscle development. The muscles at the bottom of the oesophagus (food pipe) are not fully developed and they allow the milk to leak out or travel back up the pipe. Some babies do suffer from reflux because of a reaction to cow's milk, so consider removing it from their diet if this is the case.

How can you treat colic and reflux?

Treating colic and reflux can be frustrating because both can last for months. Colic especially can be hard to manage. When your newborn cries for hours on end, it can become incredibly stressful for everyone involved.

It is important to wind a baby regularly anyway, but more so if they suffer from colic. Babies can become uncomfortable after drinking their milk, simply because their tummies are so small that they become full a lot quicker. Their milk can add bubbles of wind to their tummies too, creating even more discomfort.  

By frequent winding throughout the day and night, you will prevent a build-up of excess gas. Try changing your winding position too as sometimes the change of direction – such as from being upright by your shoulders to laying across your knees – may help provide relief and comfort. You are probably eager to find a solution, and you might see that there are many different anti-colic drops or herbal remedies as well as anti-colic formulas available to buy. There is truly little evidence that anything like this can make a difference.

The only thing that can help with colic is to ride it out. Keep yourself and your baby as relaxed as possible. Hold your baby when they are crying, it will pass in time.

For reflux, feed your baby in as upright a position as possible and keep them upright after feeding. Take the time to wind them regularly during and after a feed and feed them slowly. In fact, feeding little and often may be the ideal solution for your baby as this will allow their digestive system to make the workload more manageable. Reflux in babies does usually go away on its own. If you are struggling with some of these symptoms, particularly with lack of weight gain, do contact your doctor as they may be able to make a diagnosis and prescribe something for your baby.

How can babocush help with Colic and Reflux?

The babocush cushion holds your baby safely in a tummy-down position. Tummy time can be invaluable; it alleviates pressure on your baby’s back and windpipe. By relaxing the airways, your baby can breathe more easily and enjoy the change in position.

While on their tummy, the cushion helps recreate the conditions of the womb with a heartbeat simulator and gentle vibrations. The device inside every babocush cushion sends out a gentle, consistent beat that soothes your baby.  Ahead of bedtime or after feeding it offers a unique period of contentment not found elsewhere. To learn more about the babocush cushion, you can shop our collection here. 

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