The How-To’s of Soothing a Colicky Baby
The first few months of parenthood are the hardest. The feeling of helplessness every time your baby cries is a dilemma that every parent goes through. Hunger, pain, discomfort, restlessness – a hundred different possible reasons run through every parent’s mind every time their baby cries. However, if you notice your baby crying for hours at a time for no obvious reason, he might be suffering from colic.
Colic is a condition that causes pain in your baby’s gastrointestinal tract. Colic usually affects babies who are at least 2-3 weeks old and lasts until the 3rd or 4th month. The symptoms include irritability, abdominal pain, gassiness, and endless bouts of uncontrollable crying.
If you think your baby is suffering from colic, you can try some of the tips below to help soothe your baby:
- Change your diet
If you think that your baby’s colic may be caused by something in your breast milk, you can try changing your diet. It is found that traces of spicy food or cow’s milk in the mother’s diet cause baby’s tummy problems after they ingest her breast milk. Talk to your doctor about what you can eliminate from your diet.
One way of preventing this is to eliminate dairy products like cow’s milk, cheeses and yogurt from your diet. In order to do this, stop eating them for a few weeks. This will give your body ample time to cleanse out any traces of dairy in the milk that your breasts produce.
- Adjust your baby’s feeding habits
If your baby is not breastfed but still experiences colic, he may have milk allergy. Consult your pediatrician to confirm and have him prescribe a hypoallergenic infant formula instead. It’s also possible that your baby is lactose intolerant. In that case, your doctor will be recommending some adjustments to your baby’s feeding habits.
Another possibility is that your baby has gas inside him. If this is the case, get him to burp every now and then during meals. If you’re bottle feeding, use a nipple with smaller holes. This way, the chances of him swallowing air during feeding is smaller. This will reduce the gas that’s causing him discomfort.
- Give him an infant massage
An infant massage can help your baby relax and calm down. One reason why your baby is crying is because of gassiness. Lay your baby on his stomach across your legs and rub his back. This will help release the gas in his stomach. Another way is to pedal his legs. Lay your baby on his back and move his legs in the air in a pedalling motion. The pedalling motion helps “push” the gasses up his stomach, releasing them through burps.
- Comfort your baby
The discomfort caused by colic is the main reason why your baby keeps on crying. Comfort him by holding him close to you so he can feel your heart beat. Sit down, relax and take steady breaths while holding him and wait until your heartbeat stabilizes. The steady sound of your heartbeat will help calm him down.
Another way to help comfort your baby is through motion. Gently rock your baby in your arms using a steady rhythm to soothe him. You can also take him for a stroll, a ride or a walk to help him relax. Soothing sounds can also help ease your baby’s discomfort – try humming or singing a lullaby to help your baby relax and fall asleep.
Comfort is the number one cure for colic. Since colic causes discomfort to your baby, learning what makes your baby comfortable is the number one solution to ease his pain. Don’t be scared or distressed every time your baby cries. It is through these rough moments that you grow as a parent. And it is through these moments that you understand what it takes to become a good parent.
If you want to learn more about ways to help him sleep, you can go here.
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