5 Strategies for Coping With Colic

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Cry Baby Cry

When a baby cries for several hours and the usual methods of feeding or changing diapers do little to help the baby, parents may become concerned that something else is wrong. Colic is a condition that causes a baby to become inconsolable. The baby may scream, wail and arch his or her back. While colic can be incredibly overwhelming to a parent, coping with colic is possible by understanding what colic is and following a few tips.

What is colic?

Babies who have colic usually cry for several hours around the same time each day. Most of the studies conducted on colic have shown that there are no definitive reasons why one baby develops it and another does not. However, some physicians believe that colic is caused by pain in the gastrointestinal tract. These physicians believe that coping with colic is easier if the parent realizes that the baby is actually in pain. Parents should take their baby to a pediatrician to rule out other health conditions, such as acid reflux or an ear infection, before determining that their baby has colic.

Tips for Coping with Colic

Change Feeding Patterns: Many babies use nursing for comfort, so simply breastfeeding the baby may help. Mothers should also nurse their baby for as long as he or she wants, to make sure the baby receives enough milk. If the baby becomes fussy, the mom can switch sides or change positions. The mother may also want to rule out possible foods she is eating that are causing a reaction in her baby through the breast milk. A baby has a small stomach, so too much liquid being ingested can result in stomach pain. For babies that are bottle-fed, the parent should use a slow flow nipple and give the baby smaller amounts of formula at each feeding. For formula-fed babies, parents may need to switch to a more gentle formula. The baby should also be burped frequently throughout a feeding.

Coping with Colic by Dancing: It may seem silly to dance around the house, but some babies are comforted by different movements and a change in scenery. Parents can walk around the home while swaying, cuddling and rocking their baby. A baby is used to constantly being in motion like he or she was in the womb, so walking with a slight bounce and carrying the baby in different positions may help. Babies thrive on touch and depend on closeness, so wearing the baby in a carrier can help calm the baby, while keeping the parents hands free.

Don’t be too Quiet: While some parents try to keep the noise level in the home reduced to calm a fussy baby, this doesn’t always work. Some babies are actually comforted by certain types of noise. Parents can try playing music, running the vacuum, turning on a fan, singing or making shushing noises as they rock their baby. CD’s that feature sounds of the ocean and waves crashing, raindrops, or other nature sounds can also be helpful.

Coping with Colic Through Massage: If the baby is irritable because of tummy pain, a massage can greatly help reduce gas pains. Parents should lay the baby flat on his or her back. Then they can rub the baby’s tummy or row the baby’s legs in back and forth motion.

Take a Break: If nothing works, parents should take a few minutes to take a break. They can place the baby somewhere safe, such as in a crib, and then leave the room for just a few minutes. A brief break will help the parent regain composure and create a new plan.

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