Colic vs. reflux? It can be so exhausting and frustrating to have a crying baby and not know what is wrong or how to help him calm down and feel better. But there are some simple questions you can answer to help determine whether you’re dealing with colic or reflux. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself the following questions:
When does your baby get fussy?
When it comes to colic vs. reflux, the time of day your baby is fussy may be a clue as to what is going on. Typically, babies with reflux will become fussy any time of the day, shortly after eating. You might find that your baby starts to cry during feeds and appears uncomfortable for long stretches after being fed.
Although babies with colic can cry throughout the day, there tends to be a specific time of day where the crying and fussiness gets significantly worse. All babies tend to get crankier towards the late afternoon, however, babies suffering from colic become inconsolable. It becomes very difficult to soothe your baby during these crying fits no matter what tactics you use.
Can your baby be comforted?
The ability to soothe your baby’s cry can indicate colic vs. reflux. Babies with colic tend to be extremely difficult to soothe. They are very easily irritated and overstimulated by their environment. Babies with reflux typically are easier to soothe and moving them to an upright position tends to help relieve the symptoms. Reflux results in shorter episodes of crying, whereas a baby with colic cries for hours at a time. It is important to understand that a baby with colic is not an unhappy baby and that you are not doing anything wrong.
Although the medical world has not been able to determine the cause of colic, one hypothesis is that it may be due to overstimulated senses. As the day goes on, colicky babies become even more tired and irritable. You might find that their inconsolable cry tends to be louder and higher pitched.
Many of the methods we use to soothe a baby with colic emulate the environment of the womb. Swaddling is an important method that we have been using for years. The tightness of the blanket provides security and warmth similar to that of the uterus. Using white noise or the sound of a heartbeat are successful tactics used to help calm a crying baby. The one I find most successful is a rocking or swinging motion. During pregnancy, the baby enjoys the gentle motions of moving and walking. This is why many newborns are soothed by a vibrating chair or a swing. Place the baby securely in your arms and gently swing back and forth. The swinging motion provides comfort and distraction. Another great way comfort your baby, it
How long have symptoms been going on?
The amount of time your baby has been suffering may help determine whether it is colic vs. reflux. For most colicky babies, symptoms begin to lessen and eventually subside by age 3 to 4 months. If symptoms appear to worsen during or after this timeframe, reflux is a possible culprit. It is estimated that by 4 months of age, 80 to 90 percent of infants no longer suffer from colic.
In the meantime, make sure to surround yourself with a strong support system. It is not only okay to ask for help, it is necessary. That is what family and friends are for. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is okay to lay your baby in a safe environment, such as their crib, and take a few minutes to yourself. Many times, taking a walk or drive around the block not only gives you a change of scenery but also helps to soothe your little one.
Final Thoughts on Colic vs. Reflux
Babies cry for many different reasons. Sometimes it is as simple as gas; however, crying can also be a sign of something more serious. Finding out if your baby is potentially suffering from colic or reflux is important. When it comes to colic vs. reflux, always consult your pediatrician if you feel like something is wrong, and trust your mom instinct.
If your newborn is crying on a consistent basis or is unable to be soothed, it is important to have your baby evaluated by a pediatrician. There are many conditions such as reflux, formula intolerance, or milk allergies that can lead to discomfort and persistent crying. It is important to work with your pediatrician to rule out any conditions that can be treated with medication. Colic and reflux can cause extreme pain and discomfort.
If you have a newborn suffering with colic, it is important to invest in products that help prevent or eliminate gas which can worsen the crying spells. I always recommend Mylicon gas drops to my parents. Mylicon is FDA-approved and has been providing safe, effective relief of infant gas for generations. Mylicon’s active ingredient is a medicine called simethicone, which works by breaking down the surface of gas bubbles. This helps the baby’s natural process of getting rid of gas. Mylicon gas drops have been studied and approved by the FDA and deemed safe for use with newborns and infants of all ages, even at every feeding, up to 12 times a day (use only as directed).
*This post is sponsored by Mylicon, but all opinions are my own.*