Without a doubt, having a baby with colic is a massive challenge so early in your parenting journey. Colic is a bit of mystery to the medical profession and parents alike – and there is no one thing that definitively causes colic. A baby is deemed to have colic if they cry for more than three hours in a day, are unsettled at feeding time and fuss at the breast or bottle. But there are things that you can do to help your baby and yourself get through this difficult time.
1. See Your GP
In most cases a baby that cries a lot in the first three to four months of life will have colic, but it’s safer not to assume it’s colic. A visit to your GP will offer you peace of mind that there is nothing seriously wrong and it will be a case of soothing your baby as much as you can, and doing what you need to do to get through. It is better to have your baby assessed by a health professional for confirmation that there is nothing else (apart from the colic) that is upsetting your baby.
2. Be Flexible and Persistent and Patient
Understanding that colic is very unpredictable will help you get through the stressful periods of intense crying. Recognising that what worked yesterday may not work today will help ease the frustration. Persist with trying different settling and soothing techniques. Accepting that you need to keep trying new things will help you keep going. Keep reminding yourself that it will pass eventually – colic doesn’t last forever.
3. Try Something Different
If your baby is breastfed, try expressing some milk and delivering it in a bottle. Or you could try a formula that has a probiotic in it. You could also take advantage of modern feeding technology and use an anti-colic bottle, which offers the latest technology in aiming to reduce colic symptoms. Anti-colic bottles are designed to draw air away from the teat so the baby is less likely to swallow air, hopefully resulting in less gastric upset.
4. Wear Your Baby
Try placing your baby in a sling or baby carrier so they can be soothed by the motion of your movements. Create an environment that mirrors the womb by wrapping them up and carrying them close to you. This will enable them to hear your heart beat, smell your familiar scent and settle from the motion you moving around. Keeping them upright in a baby carrier may also help with any digestive issues or wind that could cause discomfort.
5. Call for Backup
Constant crying for weeks on end would frazzle even the most cool, calm and collected customers so cut yourself some slack and call in some back up. Call on a family member or friend (preferably who has some experience with babies), even if it’s just for an hour or two. It’s super important that you look after yourself – the first few months with a newborn can be tough at the best of times, but throw colic in to the mix and you’ve got yourself an A1 challenge. Calling on your tribe to get through a tough time could make all the difference.
You can read more about colic here, here and here.