Is the blissfully dreamy baby bubble you were expecting with your newborn more like a fragile, stressy, crying banshee bubble in reality?
Here’s how to deal with colic in babies, the low down on comforting and just how long the colic hurdle will last…
All babies are different when it comes to colic pain. Some will cry longer than others, some will be soothed more easily than others and some will love one method of comfort one day and not have a bar of it the next.
Fun times, eh? So without further ado, here are the ins and outs on how to deal with colic.
What exactly is colic anyway?
Understanding colic is the first step in learning how to deal with colic in babies. Infant colic is described as episodes of unexplained crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for more than three weeks at a time, in an otherwise healthy child. While experts can’t put their finger on EXACTLY what causes colic, it may have something to do with tummy troubles, gas or abdominal pain.
Colic affects as many as one in three babies and usually goes away when baby reaches four to six months. Until then, you can try these colic solutions, all of which have worked for other parents with colicky babies.
Help! How do I treat colic pain?
First and foremost, don’t panic. All babies are different – some cry for longer periods and are more unsettled than others. This is normal. Your baby might be the most settled when being snuggled upright, remember you can NEVER ‘spoil’ your baby too much by loving and comforting them.
Snuggling aside, here are seven other solutions for dealing with colic.
Recently Aussie researchers made a breakthrough discovery concerning infant colic – there is a particular probiotic that may work miracles for preventing it. The probiotic is lactobacillus reuteri, which is already found in heaps of different foods such as yoghurt, cheddar cheese and kimchi. Obviously, new babies can’t eat these wonder foods just yet, so frazzled parents can also find the probiotic in baby-friendly drop form from your local pharmacy.
2. An Anti-Colic Bottle
For many mums, an anti-colic bottle is the answer to relieving infant colic. Try switching out your baby’s bottles to the Tommee Tippee Advanced Anti-Colic bottles and see if it makes a difference. It worked for our reviewer Kylie, who shared her success story with us.
3. Infant Massage
Colic is often thought to be due to excess gas, which is why experts often recommend infant massage. Baby massage can not only help to settle a colicky baby, but also relieve all that built-up gas. Pair the massage with a warm bath or gently rub baby’s back, which can also help soothe baby and stop the pain.
4. Leg Lifts
This is one of the easiest colic cures and, amazingly, one that often works the best. It’s all about getting rid of that excess gas through the fine art of baby farts. Gently lift baby’s legs to her chest and let those bottom burps rip! You can also try the bicycle move to see if that helps, where you gently ‘pedal’ baby’s legs.
5. Consider Your Diet
In some instances, your baby’s tummy troubles may have something to do with what you’re eating (if you’re breastfeeding). You’ve probably just spent nine+ months avoiding some of your favourite foods, so having to limit your diet again is no fun. But, if it helps bub, then it might be worth a shot. Studies suggest following a low-FODMAP diet is a winner for mums with a colicky baby!
Some of the foods that have been linked to colic pain include dairy products, caffeine, spicy foods, nuts and grains and veggies such as broccoli, onions, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.
6. Suck, Skin, Swaddle and Swing
Allowing baby to suck on a dummy may help keep them calm, plus it decreases excessive air intake when crying. But you can also try these other methods, including swaddling or skin-to-skin. Gently swinging or rocking bub to bring a sense of security and mimic the sensation of being back in the wonderful colic-free womb can also work.
7. White Noise
The idea here is that white noise simulates the sounds of being in the womb, relaxing your upset bubba. Try a vacuum cleaner, ceiling fan, gentle music or a white noise app. And if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed from all the crying, it’s okay to put baby down in a safe place – their cot or pram – and leave the room for a while.
Do I need to take my baby to a doctor?
Sometimes there is a medical reason for your bub’s constant crying. It can also be very reassuring for parents to have a health professional look over their little one for any underlying causes for the upset, ruling out any concerns either way.
In most babies, no medical cause is found. Crying is a communication from the baby to their caregiver that they are not comfortable or are distressed. It’s important to remember crying is a normal part of their growth and development.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne advises you see your GP or Maternal and Child Health Nurse if:
- you need reassurance that there is no medical cause for your baby’s crying
- your baby is refusing feeds or is having less than half their normal feeds
- your baby does not seem to settle or continues to cry for long periods, no matter what you try
- you feel you are not coping
- you feel the crying is impacting on your relationship with your baby or you are finding it hard to feel positive about them
- your mental health or your relationship with your partner is being affected
- you are worried for any other reason
What about me?
Mama, we hear you. Parenting is a super tough gig, which is made all the harder when life with your gorgeous new baby isn’t how you imagined it to be. We can’t stress enough how important it is for YOU to have a stellar support network.
DO meet that girlfriend/your sister/your mum for a coffee every week and, as hard as it can be, do keep in touch with your local mum’s group and talk to them about your experiences. Chances are someone else is also dealing with a colicky baby!
Other useful tidbits of information when waging war on colic
- Go easy and be kind to yourself.
- Routines can wait. Don’t be hung up on creating a sleep/play/feed schedule for your baby while in the throws of colic. Enjoy the good, awake periods of time that you have together and just roll with the not-so-great moments as best as you can.
- Take a break. Let family or friends try and comfort baby when they can so you can hit the reset or recharge button. Have a hot coffee – you deserve it!
Do they ever grow out of colic or will we be tired and miserable forever?
Good news is, it’s relatively short-lived. As mentioned earlier, Colic affects as many as one in three babies and usually goes away when the baby reaches four to six months. While the days and nights feel exhaustingly long now, rest assured colic won’t last forever!
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