Stressed. Frustrated. Tired. These are the last things you want to be feeling when you bring your new baby home. But if your baby has colic it just might be your reality.
Having a fussy baby that cries constantly is probably not how you imagined spending the first few months with your brand new bundle of joy. The days can seem long and the nights even longer. When you’re in the midst of it, it may seem like its never-ending.
But I want to share with you today some tips that you can use to help soothe your little one. And also let you know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Fortunately, colic only lasts for the first few months and then it’s over. So be patient with yourself and your baby. You will both get through these difficult few months and come out on the other side with lots of love and laughter.
So what is colic anyway? It is defined as an inconsolable, high pitched cry in babies that lasts for at least 3 hours per day, for 3 or more days per week during the first 3 months of life.
The bad news is that doctors have never really figured out what the cause of it is or a treatment to stop it. There are some ideas as to what might be the cause- like problems in the GI system, milk allergies, issues with flora in the gut, or problems with the neurological system like migraines, or pain issues.
The good news is that it will eventually go away when your baby is around 4 months old. At this age, babies are able to self soothe and can sleep through the night.
If this sounds pretty familiar to you and you suspect your baby may have colic, talk with your pediatrician and let them know what’s going on. The doctor needs to check out your baby and rule out any other medical conditions that may be causing your baby to cry.
Below I have listed some ideas that might help soothe your fussy baby or help you as the parent deal with the constant crying.
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If you can, try to anticipate your baby’s needs. By that, I mean if you start to notice your baby getting fidgety go ahead and try changing the diaper or feeding if he or she is showing cues that they’re hungry.
Try to make adjustments for baby before they start crying and it gets too out of control. It’s much harder to calm a baby down once they are to that point. Of course, with colic, the crying can happen suddenly with no type of warning, so it can be hard to anticipate baby’s needs. Just do your best, that’s all you can do.
Try these techniques to soothe a fussy baby:
- Rocking in a rocking chair
- Pushing back and forth in the stroller
- An automatic swing or vibrating bouncer
- White noise
- Car rides
- Holding baby and walking around a dark, quiet room
- Patting on the back
Most newborns really love being swaddled. They are used to being squished up inside mom’s womb so swaddling makes them feel comfortable and secure. You don’t need anything fancy, just a plain, thin blanket.
It may seem intimidating at first but once you get the technique down, they will be wrapped up snuggly and they won’t be able to kick their way out of it. We have a great swaddling guide that you can download below, or find it in our Free Printables Library.
Skin to skin contact
Skin to skin contact is a great way for you and your baby to bond and connect. During the first hour, your baby is born, the nurses will usually lay baby on your bare chest so you can be skin to skin. Doing this helps calm your baby, regulate their temperature, slows down the heart rate, plus so many more benefits.
According to the Academy of Pediatrics, you should continue to do skin to skin contact for the first 3 months which also happens to be the period of time that colic occurs. Give it a try and see if it helps.
Some recent research has shown the probiotic L. reuteri to be effective in colicky babies. You can get Reuteri drops for infants like these from BioGaia which help with digestive comfort. There have been many studies in children showing that L. reuteri is effective for digestive discomfort. C
heck out all the great benefits of L. reuteri here. But please be sure to ask your pediatrician first before giving your baby any supplements.
Take care of yourself, Mom
Babies can sense when their caregiver is stressed out and frustrated. The more and more baby cries the more frustrated the caregiver is which in turn makes baby cry even more. It’s a vicious cycle. That’s why parents need to take care of themselves, too. Here are some ideas.
Take some time for yourself
It’s a good idea to take a break away from your duties of being a mother. Plan a time that you can meet up with friends for coffee and catch up, or go to the park on a nice day and read a good book.
Get out of the house and do something fun and relaxing for you. The point is to take your mind off of what you might be struggling with at home so you can go back to your baby feeling refreshed.
Ask for help
If you are to the point where you are getting really frustrated with your baby, ask for help. Take turns watching the baby with your partner, a family member or friend that you trust. It’s best to have something pre-arranged so that when you do get to that point, you have a plan in place.
When your baby has colic it can be hard to see past your current situation. Try some of these tips to soothe your fussy baby and if those don’t work, it’s time to switch with your spouse or another family member. Don’t forget to take care of yourself so you can be the best parent for your little one.