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Colic is a problem faced by parents of almost all babies.
How to Help Babies with Colic.
It usually occurs about 6 weeks into a baby’s life and stops around 5 months of age.
When your baby has colic, you’ll know it – she’ll be fussy, crying, have twitchy hands and legs, be red in the face, and have an abdomen that is swollen and hard to the touch.
Some babies will get through this phase relatively easily, while for others it’s a bit of a nightmare.
Luckily, with the right diet and the right amount of distraction (and keeping calm yourself), colic won’t be something you ever stress over again.
Using Distractions and Physical Movement
Make calming sounds to soothe your baby.
Often rhythmic sounds can calm a colicky baby.
This is due to the fact that your baby spent 9 months in the womb listening to the rhythmic sounds of you or your partner’s breathing and heartbeat.
It can be any type of white noise so long as it’s constant, rhythmic, and in the background.
Try using the sound of a vacuum cleaner, a fan, or the noise of cars driving by to soothe your baby’s crying.
Alternatively, play a CD with calming noises or music.
Carry your baby around in a sling.
Carrying your baby in a sling right next to your body will help to calm her down for several reasons:
- She will enjoy the warmth of your body
- She’ll recognize your familiar smell
- She’ll be soothed by the sound of your heartbeat
Calm your baby with rhythmic movements.
Other rhythmic movements such as rocking your baby in your arms, walking around with her or bringing her for a drive in the car will also help to calm her down.
As long as she’s close to you, she’ll be happy.
This is one of the reasons a sling is so useful – when she’s right next to you, the natural, rhythmic up and down of your walking will soothe her.
It’s great for any colicky baby and entirely effortless on your part.
Change your baby’s posture
Changing your baby’s posture is helpful for two reasons:
firstly, the change of position may help to move the contents of her intestines and allow her to expel gas, thus relieving the colic.
Secondly, the change of position may be interesting for her, distracting her from the colic. Here are some ideas:
Try laying your baby across your lap, stomach down.
Try laying your baby along your forearm, with her head in your palm and her feet in the crook of your elbow.
Hold your baby upright in your arms, facing either towards you or away from you.
Distract your baby with a change of environment.
When your baby is suffering from colic, try bringing her outside or even carrying her into a different room.
The new environment, colors, smells and sounds will draw the baby’s attention, distracting and soothing her.
When we’re in pain, babies and adults are no different.
It’s easy to get consumed by how we’re feeling, but it’s also sometimes easy to forget about if our environment is stimulating enough.
Providing her with adequate distraction and stimulation may be what she needs to forget for a moment how she feels.
Help your baby to do different exercises.
There are several exercises you can do to stimulate your baby’s intestines and help her to pass wind, thus relieving colic.
Making your baby ride a bike.
Lay your baby on her back, grab her legs and move them in a cycling motion, as if she were riding a bike.
Using a ball.
Blow up a beach ball and lie your baby on top of it, on her stomach.
Roll the ball backwards, forwards and around.
This massages her stomach, relieving her pain.
Swaddle your baby.
Swaddling your baby will help her to feel warm and secure while sleeping.
Swaddling will also restrict her movements, which will help to prevent her from waking herself up due to sudden body movement that she cannot yet control.
To learn how to do this correctly, see wikiHow’s How to Swaddle a Baby for more information.
Cuddle with your baby.
Your baby needs lots of attention and love when suffering from colic, so make sure that you keep her close at all times and give her lots of cuddles.
Cuddling will help to keep her calm and soothe her colic.
There’s nothing your baby wants more than to know you’re right there.
Even if she’s sleeping, she’ll know you’re right there and take solace from it – hopefully staying asleep longer.
Massage your baby’s tummy.
Massaging your baby’s stomach can help to stimulate the bowels and relieve tension, thereby alleviating the colic.
To massage your baby’s stomach:
Lie her on her back and spread some baby oil on her bare stomach.
Use your fingers to gently massage her stomach, using a clockwise circular motion.
Changing Your Baby’s Diet
Try to keep your baby from swallowing air while she eats.
If your baby is swallowing air while she eats, this increases the amount of air in the stomach, leading to greater gas production.
You can reduce the amount of air your baby swallows by:
Using a bottle with a smaller aperture (hole), if your baby is bottle-fed.
Making sure your baby latches on to the breast properly, if she is breast-fed.
You can do this by holding your breast in your hand until she picks up the nipple.
Lift your baby so that she can burp after every meal.
It is essential that you burp your baby after every meal to ensure that she gets rid of any excess gas that can make colic worse.
Lift your baby from her chair, hold her over your shoulder and pat her back gently until she burps.
wikiHow has a whole bunch of knowledge on the topic from How to Burp Babies to How to Burp a Sick Baby to How to Burp a Baby on a Knee.
Feed your baby small amounts several times a day.
Feeding your baby large amounts in one go can increase gas and abdominal pain.
Therefore, if your baby is suffering from colic, it’s much better to feed her in small amounts, approximately every two hours.
Do not increase the overall amount that she eats.
She should be eating what she would normally eat, just spread out throughout the day.
If you’re concerned she’ll eat more or less, portion out the food beforehand so you know what’s normal for her to be eating.
Avoid foods that can upset your baby’s stomach.
Certain foods can upset your baby’s stomach and make colic worse.
These foods are to be avoided:
Avoid dairy products for several weeks to see if your baby’s condition improves.
Sometimes babies are allergic to cow’s milk, and this makes their colic worse.
Breast-feeding mothers should avoid eating wheat, eggs, caffeine and chocolate as these foods are a potential cause of colic in babies.
Gradually eliminate foods from your diet one by one, and watch your baby’s condition closely to see if it improves.
This will help you to identify specific foods that are causing your baby’s colic.
Try changing your baby’s formula.
If your baby is formula-fed, the particular formula could be causing the colic.
Speak to your doctor to see if they can recommend another type of formula that could improve your baby’s symptoms.
Many triumphs against colic come down to trial and error.
Helping Your Baby to Feel Comfortable
Put a warm compress on your baby’s stomach.
Heat can have a calming effect on your baby, as it relaxes the muscles, eases pain and relieves stomach cramps.
To make a warm compress:
Fill a baby bottle with warm (not hot) water and wrap it in a clean towel.
Make sure the water isn’t hot by testing it on your wrist.
Hold the compress against the baby’s stomach for several minutes.
After that time is up, remove it.
Your baby’s skin is sensitive and shouldn’t be overheated.
Let your baby soak in a warm bath.
A warm bath works in a similar way to a hot compress, as the heat soothes the stomach.
In addition, a bath can be a fun distraction for your baby and can be bonding time for the two of you
Try to make bath time as fun as possible, especially since your baby has colic and needs the respite from the pain.
Make bath time play time to make this moment doubly soothing.
Give your baby tea if he or she is more than six months old.
Babies under 6 months should be fed exclusively with breast milk or formula and do not require any additional liquid.
However, babies older than 6 months can benefit from drinking tea.
Here are some ideas:
Basil tea. Basil has sedative properties thanks to its high eugenol content.
Add a tablespoon of dried basil to a pot of water and boil it for 10 minutes.
Strain the basil and allow the tea to cool before giving it to your baby.
Chamomile tea. Chamomile helps to calm a nervous stomach, making it a good choice for colicky babies.
Add a tablespoon of chamomile flowers to a cup of boiled water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes.
Strain the flowers and allow the tea to cool before giving it to your baby.
Mint tea. Mint helps to soothe muscle spasms and cramps.
Add some mint leaves to a cup of boiled water and allow them to steep for ten minutes before straining the leaves and giving the tea to your baby.
Use gripe water.
Gripe water comes in the form of droplets that can be added to the baby’s milk or dropped directly into the mouth.
The drops contain caraway, dill and fennel combined with other ingredients like chamomile or ginger, which help to soothe the stomach and ease colic.
The drops can be given to your baby every four hours in order to keep colic at bay.
Give your baby probiotics.
Colic may be caused by a disruption in the level of microflora in your baby’s stomach.
Probiotics can help to restore the balance of bacteria in your baby’s stomach and relieve colic.
They’re good for the rest of the body, too.
If your baby is old enough, introduce yogurt to her diet to reap these benefits.
Probiotics are not normally given to babies before the age of six months, so talk to your doctor to see what he/she recommends.
Talk to your doctor before giving your child natural remedies.
It’s important that you consult with your doctor before you give your baby any natural remedies, and that you follow your doctor’s recommended dosages very carefully.
Otherwise you risk making your baby sick or making the colic worse.
Keeping Yourself Calm
Step aside and allow yourself to regroup in order to keep your strength up.
If your baby won’t stop crying and you are feeling overwhelmed, then you need to step aside and regroup.
Enlist the assistance of a family member or a babysitter to tend to your baby so that you can have some time for yourself.
This isn’t being selfish or putting your needs before those of your baby.
It is a safe way to release the strain and tension of caring for a colicky baby.
Remember, you can’t be any help to your baby if you are tired and irritable.
She needs you to be at your best as much as you want to be at your best.
Place your baby in her crib and step out of the room.
If there isn’t anyone that can watch your baby, and you still need to take a break, do not leave your baby home alone.
Instead, place your baby in her crib where she is secure and close the door so that her cries are muffled.
Go to a different part of the house and turn the baby monitor on very low.
Try to relax yourself before returning to comfort your baby.
Breathe deeply, find your focus, and return when you’re ready.
Do something that you enjoy when you get some time to yourself.
You don’t have to be away from your baby for long and it doesn’t matter what you do to relax yourself and regroup.
You can go to a movie, go for a walk, go out for a quick lunch, or even take a nap in another room.
Anything that allows you to have some time to yourself to relax is a good idea.
Keep in mind that this will pass sooner than you know it.
Before long she’ll be talking and running around.
In the future, these might be moments you cherished.