All new babies cry, but colic, prolonged and intense bouts of infant crying and distress, can escalate normal fussing into an ongoing nightmare. A truly colicky baby will cry for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks, according to MayoClinic.com. The stress of hearing a baby raise the roof can unnerve any mom, so try some time-honored tips to get both you and baby some peace.
Gas bubbles can easily upset tiny tummies. Your baby doesn’t yet know how to burp or pass gass on her own. When feeding him, make sure to hold him in a semi-upright position and stop for burping frequently. You may also find that lying him down on his back and lightly massaging his stomach or moving his legs in a circular motion can help him pass gas.
Milk and Formula
In some cases, a baby’s colic is a result of the food that you’re feeding him. For babies with lactose intolerance, a milk-based formula can upset little tummies. Switching to a soy-based brand or, in some cases, a hypoallergenic brand, may make a difference, but you must wait for two weeks to be able to tell for sure. If you’re breastfeeding a baby who has colic, some of the foods that you eat may be causing him stomach to be upset. Broccoli, cabbage, garlic, beans and milk are common culprits. If it gives you gas, it might give him gas as well.
Some babies with colic are comforted by movement. If you find that she’s always quiet during a car ride, you may want to invest in a baby swing for naps. Choose an electric model with a wall plug so that you don’t have to constantly wind the swing or replace the batteries. Your baby may also be happier if you keep her close to you in a sling or baby carrier as you go about your day. This allows you to do the things that you need to do while giving her the attention and comfort that she needs.
You can purchase over-the-counter gas relievers or alternative remedies for colic — commonly called “gripe water” — to help your baby. MayoClinic.com points out that these remedies don’t work consistently, but may work for your baby. Always check with your doctor before administering medicine to your baby, natural or not.
Help for Parents
Being calm and patient with a baby who won’t stop crying is more than a challenge. Unfortunately, showing your frustration can make your baby worse, as he can pick up on this energy. All parents need the occasional break, but this is especially true of parents of a colicky baby. Ask relatives if they’ll watch the baby so that you can get a break. If you don’t have anyone around, you can always hire a babysitter for a few hours.