I remember being a brand new mom. I was so happy to be home with my new, beautiful infant, who was being a perfect angel, sleeping and feeding wonderfully. All was right in the world. That probably lasted for about the ﬁrst 10 minutes after we got home from the hospital. Then my baby started crying.
When I came home with my baby, you would think that I had an edge on the “mommy thing” being a doctor, but honestly it doesn’t really help much. If anything, it makes me tend to think of all the worst-case scenarios. When my new baby began to cry for hours at a time, I looked for all of the worst-case scenarios: Were there mosquitoes in her crib at night? Did she have a piece of hair wrapped around a toe? Could she have super early teething? Finally, it ﬁnally dawned on me: My baby had colic.
What is colic? Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of signiﬁcant distress—in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, for three days a week, for three weeks or longer. That’s commonly called the “rule of threes,”
Colic stinks. It stinks for the baby. It stinks for the mommy and daddy. In fact, it stinks for everyone involved. When parents come to see me with their colicy infants, they’re frustrated, sleep deprived, and in need of help.
Fortunately, many supportive measures can help with colic. Here are some extremely helpful hints my patients swear by.
Use Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s: These should be the ﬁrst line of defense for colic.
- Shush: This should be loud enough to be heard over the babies crying, I recommend using white noise and music at the same time.
- Swaddle: Infants need to be wrapped up snugly. Many times, movements of their own limbs will wake them up from sleep. You can swaddle your baby with a blanket or with a special swaddling blanket.
- Side lie: Also known as football hold, this works great when you hold a baby on his side and gently swing him at the same time.
- Swing: My baby’s swing was my best friend. Typically swings work best for babies four weeks old and older.
- Suck: It’s been proven that paciﬁer use decreases the risk of SIDS, makes for a happier baby, and eases colic.
Carry your baby.
Another method that helps colicy babies is to wear your baby in a front carrier or sling. Baby like to be close, and this sense of comfort instantly soothes them. You can buy a variety of carriers.
- The Moby Wrap offers the wearer different conﬁgurations using the given fabric. It can be tricky to learn how to use a Moby Wrap, but babies with colic love its belly-to-belly positioning.
- The Baby K’Tan a “ready-to-wear” wrap, which means that you don’t have to buckle or wrap anything. It has a double loop design that goes on over your head and can be adjusted for comfort.
- The Baby Bjorn is well known and offers good lower back support, which is especially important as babies get bigger.
Be flexible with feeding. The best advice I give all my patients with babies with colic is don’t stick to your schedule so strictly. If you think your baby is hungry, but your chart says it’s not time to eat yet, who cares! Feed your baby. Many times, feeding the baby will calm her down.
If the baby does not have a good latch on the bottle she will suck air in and that can contribute to her gassiness which can make her very fussy. Always stop and burp your baby every 1-2 ounces during feeding. Also feed your baby upright at about a 45 degree angle.
Check feeding techniques. Make sure your baby is getting a good latch on the bottle or breast. If the baby does not have a good latch, she will suck in air, which can contribute to gassiness and make her very fussy. I always like to look at the baby feeding during the appointment. Many times we may need to change the bottle. Also feed your baby upright at about a 45-degree angle.
Burp often. When you’re feeding your baby, stop every 1 to 2 ounces to burp him.
Use Dr Simons Remedy for Fussy Babies. Brew one bag of Dr. Simon’s special blended tea. Let it come to room temperature. Then add 1 teaspoon of the sweetener, which is Non-GMO and contains no high fructose corn syrup. Give your baby 1-2 ounces of the tea, during the fussiest time of day.
Massage. Gently massage your baby’s belly and legs. Bring her legs back and forth, bending her knees toward her belly button. This promotes gas release and makes the baby more comfortable. A great time to incorporate this into your baby’s day is after the nighttime bath, before bedtime.
Apply a warm compress. You can apply a warm heating pad over your baby’s onesie. Place it on the abdomen for a few minutes. This can be done with the massage while baby is laying on her back. As a reminder never leave your baby unattended while sing a warm compress.
Soothe with music. Playing music or white noise is very calming—for both babies and mommies.
If despite these remedies your baby still struggles with colic, talk it over with your pediatrician. Occasionally, other changes may need to be made, including changing the baby’s formula or eliminating foods from the breastfeeding mother’s diet.
About the author: Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, DO, is a pediatric gastroenterologist in New York. She graduated with honors from Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She completed her internship and residency at NS-LIJ Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in Queens, NY, and her pediatric GI fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine – Children’s Hospital at Monteﬁore in Bronx, NY. She is certiﬁed with the American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics. She continues to educate in and out of her ofﬁce setting through her popular blog Kidstummytroubles.com and is a contributing author in the Mommy MD Guides book series.
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Stay Healthy and Be Well. Let me know your thought and comments.