A simple case of colic can turn even the most well-mannered child into an inconsolable baby. Suddenly, a once quiet home is now filled with excessive crying spells every night, and this can be a nightmare to many parents.
Colic usually begins during the first month of your baby’s life and continues well into their second or third month. It usually disappears on its own upon the fourth month. Despite being so common among babies around the world, we are still unsure about what really causes colic. Because of this, the treatment for colic is also hit and miss.
If your baby is experiencing colic, you are likely to be searching for colic remedies on the internet right now. And you will come across several, such as “gripe water,” electronic gadgets and noise machines, over-the-counter medications, and alternative treatments like acupuncture (yes!). Yet again, since the cause of colic is still a mystery, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific treatment for it. So don’t feel bad if your baby is not responding to these colic remedies.
But don’t despair. The lack of treatment for infant colic does not mean you can’t do anything about it. Here are 5 strategies you can use to deal with colic.
The first and probably the most recommended strategy in dealing with colic is swaddling. Swaddling entails wrapping your baby snuggly in a swaddle or a baby blanket. It soothes a crying baby by making them feel warm and secure, reminding them of the feeling of being in your womb.
Swaddling will also likely make a colicky baby feel better because swaddling applies light pressure on their bellies, alleviating the discomfort they might be experiencing.
2. Soothe baby with motion.
Another trick you can do to soothe your inconsolable baby is to lull them to sleep using motion. Carry your baby in a sling, a carrier, or even just in your arms, and walk around your house. You may also put them in the stroller and go for a quick stroll, or place them in a rocker or in a swing if you have one.
Some parents swear by the effectiveness of taking their baby on a car ride before bedtime. The combined motion and vibrations of the car can lull your colicky baby to sleep.
3. Soothe baby with sound.
If your baby begins a crying spell in the middle of the night and you are too tired to take them on a walk, you can try soothing them with sound. Many babies are easily calmed by soothing and gentle noises such as a white noise machine, a fan, or the vacuum cleaner. You can also try adding a musical mobile to your nursery.
As evidenced in the examples stated above, you don’t need to buy a gadget to soothe your baby with noise. You can use ordinary household appliances; you can even try making gentle shushing noises, which your baby would probably enjoy more since it’s coming from you.
4. Help your baby release gas.
Trapped gas is one of the most popular theories explaining the cause of colic. After all, trapped gas inside the gut feels uncomfortable and would likely confuse a newborn baby to the point of inconsolability. Before getting a prescription for over the counter remedies, try a few simple exercises with your baby.
Hold your baby’s legs up to encourage your baby to release gas. You may also do a gentle bicycle motion with their legs. And don’t forget to burp your baby after feeding!
5. Get your baby relaxed before bedtime.
Finally, it is a good idea to practice a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine with your baby. This may include a final feeding, bath time, baby massage, and reading a bedtime story. If your newborn baby is having a crying spell at night because of overstimulation, then make sure that the couple of hours leading to bedtime is as calm and quiet as possible.
Of course, aside from these strategies to take care of your baby, you should also take care of yourself. The newborn phase is a trying and confusing time for your little one, but it is just as challenging for you, too.
Never attempt to deal with a colicky baby when you are overtired or stressed out because you might get frustrated and take it out on your baby. It is totally okay to leave a crying baby alone for a few minutes to take a breather, and it is even better to ask the help of your partner or another caring family member. You don’t have to do all these by yourself!