Usually, colic is short-lasting, for just a few months, but nevertheless, it is an upsetting time for both you and baby. Colic is generally diagnosed when a little one cries for 3 hours or more, most days of the week, for more than three weeks. There is no single cause of colic, but experts tend to agree on two main causes – overstimulation and diet-related colic linked to a mother’s breast milk or a baby’s formula.
Signs of colic to look out for
If a baby has an attack of colic, crying generally occurs at the same time every day (usually in the late afternoon or early evening). It seems like your baby is crying for no apparent reason, but they may also pull up their legs, be restless and fidgety, and clench their fists.
Tips to help alleviate colic
- If you are bottle feeding your baby, try a bottle with an anti-colic teat that is designed to reduce the risk of baby ingesting air during feeding.
- Lying baby on their back in a quiet room or swaddling may also help, as may sucking on a soother or a warm bath.
- Baby massage is a fantastic opportunity for you to bond with your baby, but it also helps to strengthen the digestive system and to relieve common newborn ailments and discomfort such as wind, constipation and colic.
Try this short sequence of combined baby massage and baby yoga techniques from Justina Perry, founder of MamaBabyBliss in the UK, Justina Perry, to help settle your baby.
- About half an hour before your baby normally has a crying period, begin by lying your baby on a mat. Try to create a soothing, warm environment. Dim the lights and ensure there are as few distractions as possible. Keep any sensory stimulation to a minimum.
- Undress your baby, but keep a vest on, as you may also have to pick your baby up and carry him or her around.
- Begin with a soothing tummy massage. Make a few gentle circles around the belly button – perhaps hum a gentle lullaby as you do this. This will help keep you and the baby calm. Find a soothing, gentle pace and try to keep your body language and breathing as relaxed as possible.
- Next, using your hands as paddles, make a gentle flowing movement, gliding down the lower abdomen. Finally, make a gentle peddling movement with your baby’s legs. Repeat this little sequence and the tummy massage a few times during the day, as it will help strengthen the digestive system and help prevent the build-up of wind and tension in your baby.
If your baby begins to cry and will not be soothed by the massage, you can try and pick him or her up into the miracle baby yoga hold.
- Kneel with your baby on your lap, facing out.
- Put one arm across the chest, and the other arm through the legs.
- Now bring one knee up, then stand.
- Once you’re standing, gently tilt your baby forward, so her belly and chest are resting across your lower arms. Make sure both her arms are hanging over yours.
- You can gently rub her tummy. Some babies also find it soothing if you can gently rock them back and forth. Make sure your arms and shoulders are relaxed and change sides to prevent straining your shoulders.
- Walk around the room. Eventually you should feel the tension leave your baby’s body and he or she will relax in your arms.
Colic is very distressing for a parent. Take deep calming breaths throughout and keep telling yourself that this phase will pass and even though it is very distressing to hear your baby cry, there are no lasting repercussions for your baby.
More about Vital Baby:
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