Soothing a Colicky Baby

While there may be no definite cure for colic, that won’t stop parents from doing anything they can to help their baby. There is nothing worse and more gut wrenching then a baby that will not stop crying. Here are some thoughts that may help.

by Patricia Hughes

There is no definite cure for colic. This fact won’t stop parents from doing anything they can to help their baby. What works for one baby, may not work for another. The best thing you can do is to try a variety of soothing techniques. When you find a few that work for your baby, stick with them.

Carry your baby in a sling or baby carrier. As you go about your daily chores, the baby rides along in the carrier. Some babies are comforted by the combination of motion and being close to mommy or daddy. The sling holds the baby in a fetal position, similar to the position in the womb. Although adults often think this looks uncomfortable, most babies find it comforting.
Try swaddling your baby. This is done by wrapping the baby tightly in a receiving blanket. The nurses at the hospital are the best at this. I didn’t get the hang of it until my fourth baby came along. Luckily, there are now products on the market for people like me. The Miracle Blanket and other swaddling blankets are designed to wrap the baby in a swaddling position. Swaddling also keeps the baby from startling and waking up when you’ve finally gotten him to sleep.
Some babies are soothed by movement. This can be done in several different ways. Try a few to determine which work best for your baby. The baby swing can be a life saver for some babies, while others hate it. My first [tag-tec]colicky[/tag-tec] baby loved her swing and would nap in it. My second baby hated the swing and would scream as soon as I set her down in it. Other babies like car rides and parents spend evenings driving around the neighborhood to help calm the baby.
If your baby likes movement, try taking a walk in the evening. This can be soothing for both of you. Put the baby in a soft carrier or stroller and walk around the neighborhood. The fresh air is also good for both of you. An added benefit is exercise for mommy. Working out with a new baby is almost impossible. Combining your evening walk with soothing your baby can be a great way to squeeze in some exercise.
Sounds are calming for some babies. White noise is the most effective way to soothe some colicky babies. Your baby may like the sound of the washing machine, dryer, vacuum, or dish washer. If you find that your baby is soothed by sound, consider buying a white noise machine. These aren’t very expensive and play a variety of white noise sounds. Just place it near the baby’s bassinette and turn it on.
Sucking helps reduce crying in some babies. Try offering your baby a pacifier during crying periods. Other babies prefer to suck their thumbs. Some breastfeeding mothers find that their babies like to comfort nurse. If your baby refuses a pacifier and can’t find his thumb, offer your finger for sucking.
Water is calming for some babies. You can take the baby in the shower with you and hold her under the warm water. Special slings are sold for use in the shower and are made with a mesh material. Other babies prefer the bath tub. Try putting the baby in the infant tub during colicky times. Another option is to fill the big bathtub and soak in the warm water with your baby. This can be relaxing for both of you.
Touch is soothing for some babies. This can be simply by holding your baby and stroking his head or back. Try giving back rubs or tummy rubs to calm the [tag-ice]baby[/tag-ice]. Infant massage may help calm your baby. The colic hold is another way that touch and holding can soothe your baby. This is also called the football hold. You hold the baby’s body across your forearm. The head is in the crook of your arm or the palm of your hand. The baby’s stomach is pressed against your forearm. The pressure is soothing to the baby’s tummy, if he is gassy.
Soothing a colicky baby is exhausting and frustrating. You need to spend some time taking care of yourself. Dealing with crying for hours on end is nerve wracking. This doesn’t mean you aren’t a good parent or don’t love the baby enough. You just need a break. If possible, team up with your partner or spouse. Take shifts with the baby. Hand the baby over to your partner and leave the house for an hour. You can take a walk or a quiet drive. You will come back recharged and ready to take over. Then, let your partner leave for an hour of quiet time.

Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2006



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