10 Expert Tips for Treating Newborn Colic
These treatments and possible cures for colic will help calm your newborn.
When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying: A Parent’s Guide to Colic
Try, try again: “Learning how to calm the infant who is unable to self-soothe and finding ways to teach him these self-soothing techniques is imperative to finding some relief … The two biggest mistakes that caregivers make in their attempts to calm their colicky infant are: (1) giving up too quickly, and (2) only utilizing one method at a time.”
The cry cure: You know what they always say: If at first you don’t succeed … try, try again.
Krautter wholeheartedly agrees. Use multiple tactics simultaneously to soothe colic, she says. (Like those found on the following slides!) And stick with it to find the magic combination of interventions that calm your crying baby.
Good germs to the rescue: “Sold in capsules or powder, probiotics are the good germs in your body that help improve intestinal function. Babies are born germ-free and then acquire good germs in the gut to help digest food … This may be a reasonable way to reduce the misery of colic and certainly is less expensive than hiring a babysitter every night for two months! A two-month supply of L. reuteri is about $12.”
The cry cure: Probiotics are making headlines lately, and according to Fields and Dr. Brown they may just be a “miracle cure” for colic, based on the idea that colic is caused by an immature digestive system. Consult your doctor, of course, before starting Baby on probiotics. (And a babysitter isn’t such a bad idea, either.)
The Modern Girl’s Guide to Motherhood
A little peace and quiet: “Most parents—like me—will try to calm a colicky baby by bouncing, walking, and singing to the child to make him feel better. In reality, this is the exact opposite of what he needs. Learned that the hard way! Soothe your child in a dark, quiet room. Lay him on his belly and rub his back. Don’t bounce him, walk him, or make loud noises.”
The cry cure: Speaking from experience—poor Jane!—Buckingham reacted to the theory that some babies are colicky because of overstimulation (it’s a big, loud world out there!). Calm the world around him and you may calm colic she says.
Why Is My Baby Crying?
Change Mom’s diet: “Changing the diet is another popular remedy that works [to resolve colic] some of the time, for reasons that are unclear… If you are breastfeeding, you can eliminate foods from your diet that are thought to cause colic. Or you might try a hypoallergenic diet that eliminates foods that babies are sometimes allergic to, such as milk, eggs, wheat, or nut products.”
The cry cure: Your baby is what you eat—so says this theory. If you decide to try this approach, you may also have to say goodbye to broccoli, coffee, tea, chocolate, and other caffeine products. For some moms it’s a small price to pay for a little peace and quiet.
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
Just cry it out: “You might try rocking him gently, feeding him, or giving him a pacifier. If you find that he cannot easily be comforted, allow him to cry for 15 minutes while held calmly or alone in his crib. If he has not settled by then, try again to console him.”
The cry cure: Dr. Ferber insists you are responding to your child’s needs when you let him cry it out. (OK, who doesn’t need a good cry now and then?) This approach can be tough on the parents, but remember that if your baby needed to be held, fed, changed, or rocked, those interventions would have halted the crying the first time around.
The Baby Book
Try tea time: “Parents have reported that some herbal teas are successful in relieving the pain in their colicky babies. Try chamomile and fennel teas. Put 1/2 teaspoon of the herb in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for five to 10 minutes, then strain. Cool and give baby a few teaspoons of the tepid tea.”
The cry cure: While adding tea time to your colicky infant’s daily routine might do the trick, Dr. Sears cautions parents to check with their doctor before giving any prescription or nonprescription remedies.
The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood
Save your own sanity: “While the siege is on … do whatever you have to do—bribe your husband, hire a baby-sitter, start therapy—to keep the wear and tear on you bearable. Learn, too, that it is completely all right to set the baby in the bassinet or crib for a few minutes while you drown out the noise with the running water of a hot shower.”
The cry cure: Iovine provides a very honest approach—she knows you have considered shipping your baby via UPS to a relative during a colic outbreak. Her advice is vital to surviving the colic-filled weeks. Take a break, ask for help, do whatever you need to do to maintain your own health and sanity. Your baby needs you, but not if you feel like shaking him.
What to Expect the First Year
Get rid of gas: “There is … one medicine for infants, widely used to treat colic in Europe, that is sold over-the-counter here for gas and that may reduce or alleviate symptoms in some colicky babies … [These medicines] are available under such brand names as Mylicon and Phazyme.”
The cry cure: Again subscribing to the idea that colic starts in the tummy, Murkoff suggests using gas drops to cause a colic ceasefire. Call Baby’s doc before administering these drops.
The Happiest Baby on the Block
The fourth trimester theory: “The triggers for your baby’s calming reflex are the sensations he felt in the uterus … The most popular baby calming methods can be grouped into five basic categories: Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Shhhhing sounds, Swinging, and Sucking. I call these the 5 “S’s”; they’re the qualities of the uterus that help activate the calming reflex.”
The cry cure: Dr. Karp insists he has discovered the cause of colic, sharing that infants really need a fourth trimester to fully develop and deal with the world. (Some say moms need this time, as well!) His books and videos teach parents, in a most interesting and informative fashion, how to recreate the comforts of your baby’s in-utero home until he is fully ready to enter this world (at three months of age, when colic typically fades away).
Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy & Childbirth
Doctor knows best: “If the crying doesn’t go away and you are worried, it makes sense to have your baby thoroughly examined by his healthcare provider to try to uncover what’s causing all the pain. Before you go, document a sample of your baby’s crying episodes by keeping a journal about when it happens and how long it lasts.”
The cry cure: If all else fails, consult your doctor, say the Joneses. But writing down notes from a bout of colicky crying—or better yet, videotaping an episode—is most helpful as babies have a way of not making a peep once a healthcare professional is within earshot.
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