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Coping with Colic
by Rebecca Garland

 

There is not conclusive evidence as to what causes colic, but parents of colicky babies know how hard it can be to handle a baby who is constantly crying or fussing. Your baby sounds miserable and you know you are miserable and nothing you are trying seems to work.

If your baby is crying or fussing for hours on end most or every day, your first step should be to take him to the doctor. Once it has been determined that your child is perfectly healthy, you can begin to experiment with the different methods to help ease the colic. Colic is technically defined as crying or fussing for at least three hours a day, three times a week. It starts around one month and peaks at six to eight weeks and tapers off by three or four months.

If you are coping with colic, there are a variety of things you can try to ease your baby and help make everyone more comfortable.

Swinging
Most babies love to be in motion, and a good swing can be a lifesaver for parents of colicky babies. The swing helps keep baby in motion and hopefully soothed while Mom and Dad get a break and possibly even a nap. Sleeping in the swing is fine for young babies, although swing sleepers should be transitioned to a motionless bed by around four months. Fortunately that is when colic begins to ease up.

Swaddling
Some scientists claim that colic is simply your baby telling you he is not happy out of the womb.

So to recreate a womblike environment, try swaddling. Wrap the baby tightly with his arms straight down to keep him nice and snug in blankets. Be sure to dress your baby lightly while swaddling to prevent him becoming too hot.

White Noise
Another womblike solution is white noise. Sometimes a noisy fan will produce better sleep than you thought possible, but other babies like even more noise. The vacuum cleaner, hairdryer or vent fan on your stove might be just the right amount of volume to make him feel home again. You can also make loud “shhhing” noises or another droning sound to help him calm down. Just be sure to make your noises louder than his crying, otherwise he simply won’t hear you.

Gripe Water and Gas Drops
Some parents swear by gripe water and gas drops. These help get rid of the gas in baby’s tummy that can be making him uncomfortable. If you are considering using either, be sure to clear it with your doctor as they are generally not used on babies less than a month in age and somewhat sparingly after that.

Walking
Babies love motion, and love to be close to the people that love them. So get moving! Hold your baby and walk. Take him on a tour of the house and climb a few sets of stairs. A sling or front carrier can be a life, and back, saver if your baby just wants to be with you all day. You can also try the car or stroller to create a soothing motion.

Tummy
Some babies feel better with pressure on their tummy. While it is not advised to let babies sleep on their tummy, they can certainly lay on their stomach for a while. Hold your baby with your arm under his stomach to put a bit of pressure on it. Or lay your baby in his bed on his stomach. The pressure often is comforting for little ones. If he falls asleep, simply roll him onto his back or side.

Sucking
Sucking is one of the few instincts a baby is born with. Some babies can only be soothed by constant sucking. A pacifier might help, but if your little one won’t take a pacifier or can’t keep it in his mouth, you can use a clean finger or the breast. You might also try different pacifiers to find one that he prefers. Be careful to not overfeed a child simply because he is crying. If it’s been less than two hours since his last feeding, try other methods of soothing before feeding.

Get Help
A constantly crying baby can be irritating and exhausting. Ask friends or family members for help. If the crying becomes too much, lay the baby down in a safe place, such as his crib and take a break. Call a professional if you begin to feel too overwhelmed. Colicky babies are hard on their parents, but the worst is over by eight weeks. Just stay focused on the future.

 

 

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