There are many reasons why babies cry. First and foremost, crying is a newborn’s way of communicating their needs, whether they be hungry, tired or uncomfortable. However, some babies cry more than others! Excessive crying and unsettled babies can be very stressful and anxiety-provoking for parents and can put them at risk of postnatal depression. As an osteopath and IBCLC, my role is to be somewhat of a detective, putting together all of the pieces of the puzzle to figure out what is going on and how to fix it.
One of the common diagnoses given to unsettled babies is colic. While there is not a clear definition of exactly what colic is, it is often diagnosed based on the rule of threes: at least three hours of crying (most often in the evening time), at least three days a week, and starting around three weeks of age. During these prolonged crying spells, your baby might pull their knees up, clench their fists, doze momentarily and then awaken screaming, go very red in the face and seem to be in pain. There is no one single cause, but some of the contributing factors that have been identified include trapped stomach and intestinal gas, food sensitivities, acid reflux, poor latch and sucking problems and an immature digestive and nervous system that is easily irritated.
Research has proven that babies do feel pain (unlike what parents used to be told!) and there are a range of techniques that we can employ as osteopaths to help relieve these symptoms and calm the crying.
If your baby is crying for more than 3 hours per day, or if you are not coping, regardless of how much your baby is crying, seek help. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how she can help you.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT IN NSW:
- ABA 24 hour Breastfeeding Helpline – 1800 686 268
- MCHN Hotline 7am – Midnight – 1800 882 436
- PANDA National Helpline Mon-Fri 9am-7:30pm – 1300 726 306
- Gidget Foundation 1300 851 758