One of the most helpless feelings a new mom experiences is watching her newborn baby screaming at the top of his or her lungs inconsolably for hours that feel like an eternity, usually after feeding.
You read all the books and watched all the videos you could…but nothing really prepared you for how to treat colic in your otherwise healthy and happy baby.
All babies cry a great deal during the first few months, but how do you know when it’s time to worry? A rule of thumb for determining the difference between emotional crying and unexplainable outbursts of crying connected to colic, health experts say, is all about the “rule of threes.” For a baby to be diagnosed as colicky, he or she must cry for a minimum of three hours, at least three days a week, starting in the first three weeks of life.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. Some pediatric experts are concerned prolonged bouts of crying may affect a baby’s development, too.
Other concerns: Moms may be worsening the problem by overfeeding their babies or exposing them to the flood of emotions they’re feeling, but not doing a good job of shielding, from their newborn.
The good news for moms is that most babies grow out of their colicky ways by the time they’re 6 months old. But, how to treat colic shouldn’t be a waiting game, as there are plenty of ways to end it, safely and effectively.
Here are 10 ways to treat colic and help you and your baby get the rest and relaxation both of you need.
1. Modify your baby’s diet by eliminating irritating foods from your own diet — caffeine, dairy products and spicy cuisine — if you’re breastfeeding.
2. When you feed your colicky baby, make sure to hold that noisy bundle of joy as upright as possible. (This tip can reduce your baby’s risks of heartburn, too.)
3. Introduce soothing sounds like a fan, white-noise machine or a dryer to your baby’s environment.
4. Singing quietly to your baby not only soothes your baby but also lightens your mood.
5. Has your baby used a pacifier? Even breastfed babies can benefit from sucking on a pacifier to calm down.
6. The gentle motion your crying baby feels when taking a drive in a moving car can soothe his or her bad mood.
7. Walk away from your crying, colicky baby for a few minutes. You’ll be a better parent and able to handle those loud emotional cries from your stressed baby if you can take a short break.
8. Schedule break time from a trusted friend or family to give you a brief, calming respite.
9. Swaddling your baby (wrapping your infant snugly in a blanket to mimic the warmth of the womb) before putting him or her to bed may help them stay asleep.
10. Studies have shown treating your colicky baby with a multi-species probiotic containing 5-10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) per day may be beneficial. A 2007 study concluded babies treated with a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Junior cried about 66 percent less than those given simethicone, a drug that reduces gas.
How to treat colic isn’t a mystery, and these 10 tips should help provide you and your baby some much-needed relief.