3 Ways to Combat Colic

When families prepare for the arrival of their new-born baby, there is so much excitement. Lots of advice is given to the parents-to-be but colic is never mentioned. 

 

Who wants to contemplate having an inconsolable baby for hours on end? Caring for a colicky baby is a whole new kind of nightmare but it is a reality that affects over 25% of babies, globally. There are families everywhere in the midst of colic hell, feeling isolated and trying to navigate through this difficult time, hoping for a shining light at the end of the colic tunnel.

 

What is colic?

Colic is clinically diagnosed for a baby that is crying for more than three hours, three days a week, for a three-week period, but is otherwise healthy and gaining weight. It can strike between the ages of three weeks to six weeks old but sometimes it can be earlier or even later. The timing of when colic symptoms appear is usually down to what is really causing your baby’s misery.

 

The term ‘colic’ is used as a sweeping diagnosis to cover various reasons as to why your baby is crying. Once you know the root cause of your baby’s distress then you are more likely to be in a position to help.

 

Let’s have a look at two of the main causes of colic, shall we?

1.     Trapped wind

One of the most well-known causes of colic is trapped wind, gas and digestive complaints which creates meltdowns for your baby. The air bubbles and fermenting gas results in bloated and hard tummies which can be painful. Babies will likely have clenched fists, arching backs and inconsolable crying. All the symptoms that we associate with colic.

2.     Fourth trimester

Another lesser known cause of colic is the fourth trimester. This is the period of adjustment in the first three months of a baby’s life.  Your baby is transitioning from the womb to the world and it can become overwhelming.

The sensory overload of hunger, tiredness and temperature changes can cause babies to really cry out and be miserable. I’m sure you would be grumpy too, if you were plucked out of a nice, warm and cosy restaurant where the all you can eat buffet was in full flow.

How can you help your colicky baby?

There isn’t a miracle cure for colic, and it is often a case of trying to find a combination of things to soothe your baby. Check out my tips below;

1.     Baby Massage

Baby massage is an excellent way of combating colic if it has been caused by trapped air and gas. Babies tend to struggle with wind because their digestive system is immature. The tummy strokes, especially in a clockwise direction, help move the trapped wind around the gut and it encourages the air to be released.

Baby massage has also been proven to mature the digestive system and improve brain to body communication so the more we massage a baby’s tummy, the more it will help a baby’s digestion to work efficiently.

Research has shown that a loving touch through massage releases oxytocin and this ‘love hormone’ has a natural pain killing effect. Warmed oil applied with some tender loving care can provide a soothing effect, a bit like a hot water bottle.

 

2.     Recreate the womb

If your baby is struggling to adapt to their new world then recreating the womb will help your baby adjust. Your baby was cocooned in a nice, dark, watery environment for nine months. They were rocked to sleep and soothed by the white noise of the blood rushing through the placenta. After birth, the world is very different to the surroundings that they have just left so helping your baby slowly adjust to their new settings in the first three months can help your baby reduce their sensitivity.

Try safely swaddling your new baby to create a ‘cocoon feeling’. Rocking and gentle swaying movements along with white noise emulate the sounds and movements of the womb.

 

3.     Babywearing

Wearing your baby in a sling or baby carrier is soothing for babies with typical colic symptoms and reflux. The upright position keeps the baby straight so that any trapped wind can easily move and be released.

Babies enjoy being close to you as you are their one source of comfort. By wearing your baby in a sling, it provides that close contact. The sound of your heartbeat is comforting as that is one of the noises that babies hear in the womb.

The movement of being in the carrier whilst you are walking or you are pottering at home and getting on with chores, provides that gentle rocking that settles a baby and emulates the womb.

 

For further information on colic and advice on supporting your baby, visit Rebecca’s website www.colicsos.com

Sweet Beginnings Babycare

 Claire is based in Maidstone, Kent and her sleep consultancy, baby massage and baby yoga classes offer a nurturing space for mum and baby to relax, recharge and connect. Claire has an extensive background in childhood studies and baby care. 

 

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