Baby colic – 10 essential tips to survive
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You’re a mom!! wohoo!! But after a couple of days your baby has recovered from the shock of being born and she just doesn’t stop crying! Your pediatrician tells you what you feared the most: “well, she clearly has baby colics”
Do not fear my dear, you can do this and I’ll tell you how! I’m about to share, with the remaining sanity I’ve got, my 10 essential tips to survive to baby colics.
That’s right, I survived to 9 (and I mean NINE) months of damned baby colic. First of all sit down, make yourself comfortable and repeat with me that there’s way worse than baby colic. I’m not a doctor, but I can tell you for sure a couple of things:
- Baby colic are diagnosed only when your baby is healthy and inexplicably cries at certain hours of the day (without accidentally stick her finger in her eye). In short, is the diagnosis “by exclusion”. So look at the bright side: your baby is healthy and fit 🙂
- A real official cause for baby colics hasn’t been discovered yet. There are tons of theories (not completely developed intestine seems to be the most popular now a day), but most importantly there’s NO remedy. You just have to hang in there. So what you’ll read here will save you from going totally crazy or blame it on the cat with related regrets.
Let’s declare WAR to baby colic!!
Before diving in the practical tips, I’d like to reassure you that baby colic usually don’t even last 3 months, leave alone 9. But we like being special here, so I specifically reserved 9 months just for fun. One for each pregnancy month.
So don’t give up hope just yet, you’ll probably be out of it before you even have the chance to put all these tricks into practice 🙂
But now it’s time to talk about the real reason why you landed on this page. The first, and most important, of the list, might seem very obvious to you, but I promise you that when you’ll find yourself in the middle of it, you’ll understand why I had to reiterate it.
So, are you ready? Let’s start!
As I said, you’re probably thinking “Well thank you very much!”, but soon you’ll understand so I won’t take it personal 🙂 This is the one and only of this 10 tips that you’ll ALWAYS have to keep in mind. From-the-start-to-the-end-non-stop-kinda-always and, most importantly, while you’re trying to put into practice the other 9 tips.
Besides, as specified above, you don’t get to know how long it’ll last so make your peace with it. It really breaks your heart to watch your baby crying knowing that you don’t have a magic cure to make it go away. Some remedies work better than others (every child is different) and some work only some of the time. What you think is the ultimate discovery of America (as we say in Italy), the next day might not be as effective anymore and you’ll feel like screaming. But NO, you’ll remember the first survival tip, right?
2. Rest every time you can
As mentioned above, typically baby colic occur at specific hours of the day, most commonly in the evening. But we still want to feel special here, so my son didn’t really prefer morning over afternoon or evening. So I had to take advantage of every single nap to close my eyes too.
Another way is to alternate, if you have the chance, with your partner or spouse. If you don’t get rest, not only you’re burning out for a lost cause, but your baby will feel that a mile away. And this doesn’t certainly help your crusade now, does it? Leave alone dusting or dirty socks for now. They can wait.
Hot baths, skin-to-skin contact and even warm pads for newborns can effectively help a sore belly to relax and pass gas. You’ve had at least belly pain once in your life, right? Then you know what I’m talking about. I don’t feel like recommending specific products for warm pads because I never tried them personally.
4. Movement and exercise
Some good walks will be good both for you to get a little fresh air and recover after labor, and for her colic too. The vibrating motion of the stroller will incentive those movements that she can’t quiet do on her own yet. Also it’s a reminder of how she used to dance inside your belly and she’ll most likely fall asleep. In this case: great job! Run home and go to sleep too.
Then there are exercises. Now, you can’t watch hard core training videos and expect your baby to repeat the whole sequence perfectly (even though i’d be hilarious) 🙂 But what you CAN do is passively move her legs. Grab those adorable feet e move her legs in the typical bicicle motion. Add some variations such as “open/close” or bring her legs from one side to the other, etc. This will help her pass gas or, possibly, clean the pipes which is for the most part the cause of her greatest pain.
If, meanwhile, you sing a funny song, you might also make her smile. I used to perform the classic-with-variant “if you’re happy and you know it.. pass some gas”, or the more recent Lady Gaga’s Just Dance in the version of “just gas” at least 20 times a day. What? They were high level performance thank-you-very-much 🙂 And this brings me straight to point number 5.
This is maybe the most difficult to conceive when the only thing you can think about is taking a nice hot bath (maybe with a little bit a shaving included) and a 6 hours nap, but be brave! You can do this! If you’re frustrated, think about how much she must be not being able to move, consistently in pain and she can’t even curse to vent it out.
So retrieve all your creativity and distract her. And don’t get discouraged if the first attempt doesn’t work. Keep trying. Make her listen some music, show her a shiny toy, sing, dance and make all the funny faces you know. You’ll might feel like a moron a times, but when you’ll see a smile appear on her face you’re sweat will be paid off.
Out of desperation I’ve tried a lot so I can tell you which ones, in my experience, are the best. But always remember that every kid is different, so what worked for my son not necessarily will be the solution to your baby’s colic. And vice versa.
We tried Grape Water, which are natural herbal water drops that helps with digestion and relax. Very similar to Camomile tea’s effect. For my niece it was the only thing that actually worked, but for my son it was one of those things that worked only some of the time.
It’s also available in a double pack which is cheaper in proportion.
So we moved on to bottles specifically designed to eliminate air flow during feeding. Keep in mind that I was breastfeeding, so bottles came handy when I started pumping to go back to work. But they did help A LOT!! I personally loooooved Dr. Brown BPA Natural Flow bottles. I bought the entire set which comes with different sizes of bottles, nipples for different ages, and a cleaning brush. Later on, I also bought the sterilizer and a bottle warmer. I will not recommend the warmer that I bought as it was cheap and not great, but we made it work. But I absolutely recommend the bottles and the sterilizer. They are phenomenal!!
I bought the Microwave Steam Sterilizer which costs around $25, but I’ll add also the link of the one that I would have bought if I knew how much I’d use it. Don’t get me wrong, the microwave version is great and very easy to use. I loved it.
But if you want something that’ll save you some time, more tech and easier to use, I’m totally with you . I went for cheaper, but this doesn’t mean you have to do it too. So here it is, a little more expensive but most likely worth it. After all, it’s something that you’re going to use to quiet a long time and, if you’re planning on having more babies it could be definitely a good investment.
If I had to buy a bottle warmer, I’d probably choose Dr. Brown again, in case you were wondering. Maybe for my next baby, who knows? 😉 It’s definitely more expensive than the one I bought, but I can bet my kneecap that it’s also a great quality product. So I’d go with that.
Besides the feeding, there’s also another great thing that my son absolutely loves (up to these days and he’s 2 and a half years old now!). I’m talking about the vibrating chair!! OMG!! You can also use it as rocking chair, adjust the position for better sleep and has washable seat and overhead toy bar. I can even begin telling you how much we all loved it! It was handed me down by my sister in law and I still kiss her to death every time I see her. My son Ethan adores it. It relaxes him and helped him pass so much gas that we had to wear gas-masks. You definitely want this one!!
In the worst cases though, none of the above was enough, so we tried the Windy. It’s something that you won’t likely find at the pharmacy (at least I didn’t) here in the US, but in Italy, where I’m from, this and similar products are very common. It’s a very small, single use hollow tube that inserts into the baby’s bottom to instantly release gas, or more often, to help pooping. Once you know how to use it properly (it’s very easy and safe I promise), it was probably the product that saved us from desperation. Use it only when necessary, but keep in mind that it’s a very natural remedy and it causes no arm to the baby.
7. Cuddling, whispering and lots of love
Especially when she wakes up in the middle of the night it’s important to recognize if it’s feeding time or baby colic. In the second case, some of the remedies mentioned above.. Well, FORGET THEM! No tribal dance o no windy in the butt. Those are you last resort and the reason is simple: she’s just a baby, which means that, most likely, she still doesn’t know the difference between day and night. So trying to put her back to sleep is very important.
The only way is to infuse her with your love, cuddle her, rock her, bounce her and whisper “shhhh” in her ear, walking back and forth and so on. Clearly you can do this during the day as well. Anytime is good to let her know that, when she’s not feeling well, she can count on mommy and daddy’s love and attention. If nothing of this works, then chose whatever other option might seems more appropriate for you.
8. Diet while breastfeeding
On this I’m still a little skeptic, but since it didn’t cost me to much sacrifice, I tried it. It’s true that eating less dairy (it wasn’t already a big part of my nutrition) there was a moment in which it seemed to get better, but I’m still not quiet sure if it was a coincidence.
They say that a breastfeeding mom’s nutrition can somehow show improvement for baby colic. As a good Italian I tend to have pretty decent healthy nutrition habits, but I included this in the list because for my sister in law it gave great results.
If you use formula, try to avoid air in the milk and in the feeding flow (see bottles tip). Also, there’s are formulas designed for colic relief. In some occasions my pumped breast milk wasn’t enough, so we used this formula
This is my favorite!! Does it work? YES!! Both the belly massage (ONLY from left to right of the baby’s belly, otherwise it has the opposite result), and the full body massage, especially after a warm bath with a lavender baby lotion which relaxes them. I used these (which is also a pretty good deal), but there are other brands too.
10. Belly time and burps
Sleeping belly down is always a treat for babies, but newborns in particular need to be checked consistently to avoid risks of suffocation or reflux. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t place her belly down on your legs on your chest while laying down or wherever you can easily keep an eye on her.
Also, to reduce the crazy amount of air that she swallows (even while crying, which makes it kind of a never ending circle, right?), make sure to burp her after each feeding. This will also help preventing baby colic. Whatever works, right?
There you go. These are the 10 tips that I could pull out of my hat and I felt like I had to share them with you because I know how it feels.
But remember, you can always trust two extraordinary things: creativity and instinct. If you’re in doubt and don’t think it’s baby colic don’t hesitate for a second to call ask advice to your pediatrician.
Instead, if you think you can’t do it, remember the rule number 1: be patient.
And if you want to laugh a little about motherhood, I suggest to read also What to expect AFTER you’re expecting, where obviously baby colic are mentioned among other lovely things.
To recap very quickly so that you can also create your own personal tricks:
- Everything that helps preventing air in the belly
- That helps passing gas or poop
- that makes her feel loved and relaxed
- and, ultimately, all the products that effectively support all the things just mentioned.
I truly hope you find these tips helpful and if you do make up some new phenomenal method to declare was to the damned baby colic, let me know in the comments below!
Good luck Mama! Remember: YOU CAN DO THIS!
P.S.= if you liked this article, don’t forget to share it! 😉