Is your precious preemie crying, fussing, bellowing, or otherwise suffering from colic? If yes, we have some solutions that may calm their colic (and calm your frayed nerves, also). If that’s the information you seek today, read on! We’ve got the Top 7 preemie colic solutions coming right up!
By the way, if you want to skip ahead, the top 7 colic solutions are at the end of the article. We recommend, however, reading all the good stuff in between so you get all the great info we’ve gathered for you.
A Quick Overview of Colic
When a baby, including a preemie, cries and fusses intensely and frequently for prolonged periods (and for no apparent reason), it’s likely that they are suffering from colic.
Typically, a preemie suffering from colic will have no other apparent health issues, which is frustrating, to say the least. Even worse is that no amount of consoling, no matter how soothing and soft, brings relief in most cases. They simply keep crying and fussing, sometimes uncontrollably, which can be incredibly distressing to a new (or even experienced) parent.
Then there’s the fact that most colic episodes begin at night, a time when most new parents are ready to drop from exhaustion. Put all of these together and finding a solution to colic becomes of paramount importance.
What Are the Most Common Colic Symptoms?
Below are some of the most common symptoms of colic. Generally speaking, it’s when they cry for three or more hours a day for over three days a week. This usually lasts for three weeks or longer. Other symptoms include:
- When they aren’t hungry or have a dirty diaper but still cry anyway.
- When their crying seems more like screaming from intense pain.
- Being extremely fussy even after the screaming and crying have stopped.
- Predictability. That is to say; they have colic symptoms at more or less the same time every day.
- Tension and stiffness throughout their little body. They will, for example, arch their back, clench their fists, and so forth.
- Their face and lips will either get very red or ashen.
What Causes Colic?
One of the most frustrating facts about colic is that the cause of it differs from preemie to preemie. In fact, researchers and doctors still haven’t pinpointed an exact cause. Colic does have some similar features, however:
- It usually starts towards the end of a preemie’s first month of life.
- It varies wildly from one preemie to the next in terms of severity and duration.
- It typically happens at the same time each day for any particular preemie.
- Colic typically resolves on its own at around 3 to 4 months.
What really causes colic, as we mentioned earlier, is still unknown. Some of the contributing factors to this painful and frustrating condition include:
- When a preemie’s digestive system isn’t fully developed, which is typical for preemies.
- If they have any allergies to certain foods, especially lactose. (i.e., milk sugar.)
- When their digestive system is imbalanced for one reason or another. (Also typical for preemies.)
- If a preemie is underfed or overfed.
Top 7 Preemie Colic Solutions
Below are the best colic solutions for preemies that we’ve come across. Keep in mind that if your preemie’s colic is severe, they will usually be tested and examined ad infinitum while in the NICU.
The problem, however, is that most colic happens and goes away on its own, making all those tests and exams practically worthless. They can also further upset your precious preemie, which is not good.
1- Change Their Food
If intolerance to lactose from breastmilk is what’s causing your preemie’s colic, switching to formula made without milk (human or cow) can often solve the problem or at least diminish it significantly.
2- Change Your Food
Interestingly, if you eat a lot of dairy, the lactose you’re eating can be passed on to your preemie in your milk. (Like a double-shot of espresso without the buzz.) If you eat a lot of dairy, now might be the time to cut down, at least until your preemie’s colic goes away.
3- Get a Special Baby Bottle for Colic
There are dozens of baby bottles made explicitly for colic. What they do, in most cases, is reduce the amount of air that your preemie swallows while eating. That air, a gas, is one of the more significant causes of colic as it sits in your preemie’s belly, expanding and causing them pain. Click this link** to see our recent blog on the best baby bottles for colic.
4- Use Sound to Calm Your Preemie Down
If you’ve ever heard of or used “white noise,” you know how soothing sound can be, especially when you’re trying to sleep. The same comfort it brings you as an adult can be felt by your preemie if you use white noise and, even better, there’s no special equipment needed. (Besides what most people already have in their home.) Some of the best white noise makers include:
- A white noise app on your phone. Spotify also has white noise channels on their free version.
- A small box or rotating fan. (Don’t face it directly towards your preemie, though.)
- Music, especially classical, light jazz, and blues.
While some blogs might tell you to use a vacuum or dryer, we recommend against using those. (They’re pretty wasteful, and, let’s be honest, nobody wants to listen to a vacuum for a prolonged time.)
5- Change Your Preemie’s Indoor Environment
Preemies, like most babies, don’t particularly care for bright lights and loud sounds. In the NICU, they keep the noise level down and the lights dim for that very reason. However, it’s a different story at home, especially if you have a big family (and big windows that let in lots of light).
You can re-create the same NICU environment at home quite easily, though. An unoccupied room with the curtains closed and the lights down low is perfect. With some white noise on your smartphone’s white noise app, you’ll give your preemie an ideal environment to relax and, hopefully, get over their colic.
Swaddling is an eons-old method of keeping a baby calm in the first few weeks of life. It works excellent for preemies with colic, too. Click this link** to find out more about the best swaddles for preemies.
7- Honorable Mentions
All of the below methods may (or may not in some cases) give your preemie some relief from their nasty colic. The good news is that, when they do, you’ll get some relief too. They include:
- Infant massage.
- A warm bath.
- Rubbing their back while they lay across your lap.
- A warm water bottle on their belly.
For preemie parents, colic is another in a long list of things that your precious preemie might have to suffer through. It’s not particularly a “preemie thing,” but it can affect them more severely. The fact that there’s no easy way to say what’s causing their colic is frustrating as well.
The good news is that colic typically doesn’t last long and isn’t something that will leave lasting scars on your little one like some of the other conditions they might be facing. Also, it usually goes away on its own by six months, and that will be the end of their colic forever. (Be sure to remind yourself of that fact when your preemie’s relentlessly fussing and crying.)