Parents Spill on How to Survive Colic
Colic is mean. And if you've never had to deal with the thick of it before, consider yourself lucky. I thought I was one of those lucky people who never had to deal with the crazy phase of a baby crying for apparently no reason. My three older kids, while not what I would call calm babies, weren't ones who would scream for hours at a time every night with no easily seen reason.
It wasn't until my fourth child was born that I really understood the stress of colic on parents. He didn't seem to want to do anything similar to his older siblings, so I wasn't surprised when he was the only one who developed colic.
According to WebMD, baby colic is defined as “a healthy, well-fed infant who cries for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, for more than three weeks.” Just like clockwork, my youngest started the nightly screaming when he turned about 6 weeks old, which is right in line for when colic typically starts. And when he was 12 weeks old, and it was still going, I knew this may have been thanks to baby colic.
Since he was born early and smaller than any of my older children, I wasn't surprised that he was experiencing baby colic. Due to the umbilical cord issue I had during pregnancy and our needing to keep track of his development, he was behind where his gestational age should have been. So the theory that colic could be caused by an underdeveloped digestive system causing air and gas pain made sense to me. We had him examined by our doctor to rule out any reasons for his crying being due to pain or anything like that, and it was determined that he was experiencing the normal and common baby colic.
I don't like the idea of just dealing with the crying–it doesn't make sense to me. So I sought out help from BTDT (Been-There-Done-That) parents on tricks and tips they tried that worked when their baby had colic. Since this was my first colicky baby, and I felt awful, I didn't really just want to try things blindly in hopes that it would work. So who better to ask than those that have lived through it?
Once we reached the time he was 5 months old, I am so happy to report that the worst seemed to be behind us. Typically, baby colic will go away by 3 to 4 months of age, and while it took him a little longer than that, it does get better. I tried a lot of things to see what worked best for him, and thanks to the advice of friends, I had a lot of tools to try. Here are some of the ideas, in case you or someone you love is currently in the midst of dealing with colic.
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Please keep in mind that you should always speak with your pediatrician before making major changes or beginning medical treatments with your baby.
Try a chiropractor
A friend of mine, Bonnie, said that her three children all had colic, and the one thing she found that helped was finding a qualified chiropractor who worked with infants. Re-aligning the spine helped reduce gas in her babies, and it eased the colic period wonderfully.
My friend Mel tried baby massage with her child who had colic. She mentioned that a certain move she learned from a licensed massage therapist helped reduce the crying. When the colic period started, she would do the massages suggested by the therapist, and it helped calm them both down.
Lay them on their tummy
While it's not recommended to put your baby down for a nap or bedtime on their tummy, if you're staying with your child and able to watch them you can try this positioning. Staying awake while they sleep (before they learn to turn over) is often preferred over listening to them scream. Nelwyn said that when her baby was crying, the only place she would be happy other than in her arms was laying down on her belly.
My friend Jean said that when she added probiotic drops to her baby's bottle (or using something like Gripe water), it helped ease her baby's crying. While the use of probiotics and gripe water has been debated for a long time, it's a suggestion many parents swear works for their children.
Food sensitivities may be to blame
If you're nursing your baby or using formula, what they're eating could play into their colic due to digestive issues. My friend Kayce mentioned that this may be the cause when I reached out for help on what to try for my son's colic, and other sources suggested this as a possibility as well. You can talk to your doctor about your options if you're formula feeding to try a lactose-free or soy-based formula. If you're breastfeeding, try cutting dairy out of your diet and see if it helps improve your baby's colic.
Keep trying until you find what works
I tried a lot of options to see if I could help my son feel better and settled on a routine that worked well for us. We bought a rocking chair glider and a good baby carrier so I would hold him for as much as I could during the day, alternating from the carrier to the glider when he needed to eat.
Many parents go through different products, diets, and activities to find the right ones to help with colic symptoms. Finding the right bottle, the right position, and the right amount of patience can make a world of difference.
Have you been there and done that? What additional tips can you share to help others survive colic?Read More