How Do You Know if Your Baby Has Colic or Reflux??

As Parents and Grandparents we all want the best for our children and our Grandchildren and sometimes we just don't have all the answers.   We are all constantly learning and searching for new ways to help our precious little ones.  I hope that something in this information on Colic and Reflux helps you if you are looking for answers to your baby's discomfort .

Colic and reflux are conditions that are similar and that can both cause babies a major amount of discomfort. It is important to be able to tell the two apart and know what to do if your baby is suffering from either condition.
We were very lucky that none  of our 3 children had either of these conditions, however we have known family members and friends that had little ones that suffered. As a Mom, and a Nana now,  I have walked the floor with little ones when they were ill with a cold, fever or ear infections. However, nothing seems to come close to the discomfort and the continual screaming of a poor little one that has colic or reflux problems.

Symptoms of Baby ColicIs it Colic or Reflux? How to determine what is causing your Baby's distress and how to help

Baby colic ( infantile colic) happens when a normally healthy baby appears to be distressed and cries for lengthy periods of time without any other obvious reasons.

Usually during the first month of life is when either of these issues may appear and the troubles can continue until your little one is 3-4 months of age. Rarely, it is possible for this to continue up to 1 year. According to medical guidelines, if a baby has colic it would mean that they have cried or fussed for a minimum of three hours , for no less than three times per week for the first 3 weeks after they are born.

Of course, all Dr.’s have different beliefs and on that note, some say that without having all of these exact symptoms, a baby can be deemed to have colic even if the baby has not cried to the extent of the full 3 hours as mentioned above.

In general terms, it can be Colic if your baby’s symptoms include any of the following:
- Crying or fussiness starts suddenly without any obvious reason
-Extreme crying that continues for hours
- Huddling or curling up that indicate signs of discomfort intestinally
- Over the course of weeks if symptoms increase and get stronger 
- If late afternoon or early evening is when symptoms happen the majority of time

Late afternoon and/or early evening is when many babies are fussy, even those without colic. Babies can be more tired as evening approaches, especially if they have not slept well during the day. Also, before their end of day feeding, it has most likely been several hours and this could explain why many babies start to get colicky by about 4 to 5pm.

Helping A Baby with Colic

The actual cause of baby colic is still not 100% understood. A common perception appears to be that it is gas bubbles in the digestive tract or in the stomach, however it appears that there is far more than just that involved.
While there are treatments for this discomfort, they appear to only offer relief on a temporary basis if they help at all.

According to Wikipedia, it is recommended instead to treat a baby naturally as per the following 5 S’s :
Soothing Techniques :
1.)- Swaddling your baby which helps to instill a feeling of security and keeps them warm
2.) -While attempting to comfort your child, hold them in a side or stomach position ( only place baby on their back to sleep) 
3.) - Making soft sounds..like a shushing sound close to your baby’s ear or some sort of white noise in the room..
4.) – Using tiny movements, and being sure your infant is tucked in close to your body with head and neck supported, swing your little one back and forth gently.
5.) – Giving your precious little one something to suck on: a breast, pacifier, or a fingertip (washed of course) to suck on.

Unfortunately, colic is still not totally understood and there are not a lot of treatment options . The experts all have their own suggestions.
In our home and now in our children’s homes, gripe water has always been a standby treatment in trying to make a difference for the little ones.

Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux

Having suffered from Gastroesphageal Reflux Disease (GERD) for years, it is sad to know that babies can also suffer from this disease  although it is different from what we experience as adults.

When an infant frequently “spits up”, which many babies do, this is infant reflux.

A large percentage of the millions of babies born every year suffer at least a mild form of reflux. When a baby just occasionally spits up there is no cause for concern, however symptoms of GERD as listed below, tend to be more severe and should be watched out for:

1.) – Vomiting repeatedly.
2.) – Spitting up almost without effort
3.) – A frequent, wet cough
4.) – Respiratory problems that are very apparent such as wheezing.

If you recognize that your baby is suffering from any of the above symptoms it is possible that it may be gastroesophageal reflux.

Helping A Baby with Reflux

When a baby has mild reflux there is actually a lot that you can do to aid in helping to relieve the discomfort associated with this condition. First of all it is of utmost importance to reduce the stress that is placed on your baby’s tummy.
It is important to not overfeed your little one, and to do your best to burp your baby at least two times during feeding time. After feeding time is over, you should keep your baby as upright as possible for at least a half hour afterwards. You can do this by holding your little one, or putting them in a baby bouncer or bumbo type chair which keeps them upright.

Just to note: As you are probably already aware, you should always have a receiving blanket or a burp cloth handy or already on your shoulder when you’re burping or even just holding your infant as little ones with reflux tend to spit up more often. As a Mom experiencing this, probably just a given! 🙂 🙂

I hope this gives you some answers in your quest to not only help your precious little ones discomfort, but to hopefully try to determine which condition they are suffering from or if the symptoms they are experiencing are normal everyday baby happenings!

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