Having a colicky baby can be exhausting, frustrating and upsetting. The non-stop crying would test a saint and causes a lot of stress for new parents.
Luckily, there are products that can help you and baby get through this tricky period and there’s lots of trusted help and guidance available too. The main thing to remember is that there is nothing you are doing wrong, it’s just one of those things that many young babies get.
If you’re worried about colic and want to know if you should get anti-colic bottles for your baby, and what else could help, then we have your questions covered…
WHAT IS COLIC?
According to the NHS colic is when a baby cries a lot, but there’s no obvious cause. If you’re baby cries for more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for at least 1 week, then they may have colic. It’s very common and affects about 1 in 5 babies.
WHAT CAUSES COLIC?
Funnily enough, there’s no obvious cause and that’s why it can be baffling to so many parents. Some people think it’s because babies find it harder to digest food when they're young and others think it’s due to problems with food allergies, such as a cows' milk allergy.
HOW DO I KNOW MY BABY HAS COLIC?
It may be colic if:
- Your baby is crying regularly for no obvious reason
- it's difficult to soothe or settle them
- they clench their fists
- they go red in the face
- they bring their knees up to their tummy or arch their back
- their tummy rumbles or they're very windy
It can start when a baby is a few weeks old and usually stops by the time they're 6 months old.
You will not usually need to see a doctor if they have colic, but you can speak with your health visitor for advice and support. Always remember – if you’re worried, nothing seems to be working or baby is older than 4 months and still seems to have symptoms of colic, it’s best to call NHS 111 or see a GP.
WHAT ARE THE REMEDIES FOR COLIC?
There are plenty of products that you can try including;
- Anti-colic bottles
- Special baby milk formula
- Infant drops – to help to release trapped wind
- Gripe water - an over-the-counter liquid supplement
And there are a number of recommendations for soothing your baby too such as;
- Cuddling your baby when they're crying a lot
- Sitting with your baby upright during feeding to stop them swallowing air
- Winding your baby after feeds
- Gently rocking your baby over your shoulder
- Softly rocking your baby in their Moses basket or crib, or pushing them in their pram
- Bathing your baby in a warm bath
- Having some gentle white noise like the radio or TV in the background to distract them
DO ANTI-COLIC BOTTLES HELP?
Anti-colic bottles are specially designed to reduce the amount of air that the baby takes in when feeding.
Many baby bottles come with different designs and features specifically designed to help relieve gas and colic symptoms.
A bottle labeled as anti-colic is designed to reduce air swallowed during feeds, lessen gas bubbles in the stomach, and slow down food intake. This has the potential to reduce any colicky crying related to gas and overfeeding.
Anti-colic bottles may have:
- Different teat flow options to help milk flow at the right speed
- Bottle teats designed to lessen the chance of air in the tip
- Valve systems
- An angled shape to help keep baby more upright while feeding
- Optional vent systems to keep air from traveling through the milk
Our award winning Combat Colic Bottles feature three unique advanced anti-colic valves to reduce air intake, to prevent painful colic and gas and to provide a continuous, contented feed.
DO ANTI-COLIC BOTTLES ALSO HELP WITH REFLUX?
Reflux is different to colic, but because some of the symptoms of colic and reflux are similar, such as being unsettled during feeding, crying and not settling, they can sometimes be grouped together.
Reflux is when a baby brings up milk, or is sick, during or shortly after feeding. Silent reflux is when babies may have signs of reflux, but will not bring up milk or be sick.
However, anti-colic bottles can also help with reflux because they reduce the risk of the baby swallowing air which can get trapped in their stomach and cause them to feel uncomfortable and full.
This is why our Nuby Reduce Reflux Baby Bottles include Anti Colic Teats
CAN YOU USE ANTI-COLIC BOTTLES EVEN IF YOUR BABY DOESN'T HAVE COLIC?
Yes. Anyone can use an anti-colic bottle. They are designed to reduce the amount of air a baby takes in while feeding, so can help the baby have less wind.
They will be most beneficial to babies who are upset after feeds and seem to have a lot of gas, but there’s no harm in using them for a baby who doesn’t have these issues.
It’s definitely worth having an anti-colic bottle on hand in case you need it!
HOW MANY DIFFERENT BOTTLES DO I NEED?
Depending on how often you’re planning on bottle feeding your baby, you may need up to six bottles and teats to start off with.
We’d recommend having a mixture of basic bottles, anti-colic bottles and ready to feed bottles to see which ones work best for your baby. View our range of baby bottles here.
If you plan to use bottles occasionally, or once a day, then it might make sense to buy just one bottle and teat.
You can also experiment with different teat shapes, to see if your baby has a preference.
Sometime you can try all of these things, and baby will still cry. But don’t despair, as they will eventually grow out of it. Make sure you lean on your support network if you’re struggling to cope during this phase.
Cry-Sis is a wonderful charity that is dedicated to supporting parents with crying and sleepless babies. Find out more at https://www.cry-sis.org.uk/