As new moms we have all been there. We are so happy to be home with our new perfect infant. They are being perfect angels, sleeping, feeding wonderfully. We know exactly what they need and all is right in the world……okay so that lasted for about the first 10 minutes you got home. Now your baby is crying and its time to feed her . 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 us always think of the worst case scenario. So when my kid began to cry for HOURS at a time I was looking for mosquitos in her crib at night, hair tourniquets, early signs of teething, until it finally dawned on me that I had a kid who had colic. What is colic you may ask?? Colic stinks. It sucks for the baby, it sucks for the mommy and daddy and everyone else involved.
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, three days a week for three weeks or longer. The Infamous “Rule of 3s”. Nothing you do to try to help your baby during these episodes seems to bring any relief. When the parents come to see me with their colic infants they are frustrated, sleep deprived and in need of help.
There are many supportive measures that can be used to help with colic.
The 5 S’s
The Dr Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s should be the first line to help.
Shush- this should be loud enough to be heard over the babies crying, white noise and music can be used with this also.
Swaddle- infants need to be wrapped up snug. Many times their own limbs will wake them up from sleep. This can be done with a blanket or with the swaddling blankets with the velcro.
Side lie- also known as football hold, this works great when you are holding them on their side and you are gently swinging them at the same time.
Swing- This was my best friend. Typically works best when the child is about 4 weeks old and up.
Suck- It has been proven that pacifiers have decreased the rate of SIDS and also makes for a happier baby, but sucking will help colic also.
There are a variety of carrier options available. Just to start with a few, the Moby Wrap offers the wearer different configurations using the given fabric. There may be a learning curve associated with it but the babies do love the belly to belly positioning that helps with the colic.
The Baby K’Tan is also available and is a “ready-to-wear” wrap, meaning that you do not need to buckle or wrap anything. The double loop design goes on over your head and you adjust it for comfort. They also have videos on their website but they describe it as an easy 3 step process.
The Baby Bjorn is one of the first commercially available. It is well known and has good lower back support as the babies get bigger.
The best advice that I give all my patients is to not stick to your schedules so strictly. If you think your baby is hungry but your chart says its not time yet- WHO CARES!! Feed the baby. Many times feeding the baby will calm her down. Since we are talking about feeding I always like to look at the baby feeding during the appointment. Many times we may need to change the bottle. 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.
Gripe water, Colic calm and Simethicone drops can be given for symptomatic relief.
Chamomile and Bay Leaf
If you actually look at the ingredients in the above products you will find these herbs. I have been recommending to my patients to brew one bag of chamomile tea with a bay leaf and let it come to room temperature and it give the baby 1 oz of this during their fussiest time of day. If your baby also suffers from contipation I have them add 1 tsp of Karo Corn Syrup to the tea which aids with the stool softening.
Gently massage the babies belly and legs. Bring the legs back and forth bending the knees towards the belly button. Ths promotes gas release and makes the baby more comfortable.
You can apply a warm heating pad over the babies onesie. Place it on the abdomen for a few minutes.
Music or white noise is very helpful for both mommy and baby.
Occasionally other changes may need to be made including changing the babies formula, or eliminating foods from the breastfeeding mother’s diet. This may need to be discussed with your pediatrician.
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Stay Healthy and Be Well. Let me know your thought and comments.