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Combat colic – techniques to soothe and settle your baby
Here at Basking Babies, we understand that being a new parent isn’t always as you had expected; you prepare yourself for sleepless nights, nappy changes, feeding and baby spit up, but then colic appears which can be very challenging, upsetting, frustrating, exhausting, and a lonely time to say the least.
What is colic?
No matter what you try, you can’t comfort your crying baby — and that’s not all! They repeat these heartbreaking, stressful episodes every night at the same time for what seems like forever.
The reality is, all babies cry. It’s the best (and only) way for them to communicate their needs as newborns. And as parents, we’re biologically programmed to respond so those needs are met.
However, in babies with colic, the crying begins suddenly for no apparent reason, and appears to have no obvious cure. The medical definition of colic is very vague yet it is surprisingly common amongst babies. Both breast and bottle-fed babies can suffer but rest assured, as your baby gets older, they will grow out of it. In the meantime, baby massage can help to ease the symptoms along with some other methods which I’ll cover here.
Signs that your baby could have colic
- Clenching fists, punching in the air action
- Pulling knees up into chest
- Piercing cry/scream
- Crying until red in the face
- No other obvious reason for crying
- There is a pattern to when the crying starts, for instance around the same time every evening
- Baby is very gassy, passing lots of wind
As there may be a medical reason that your baby is excessively crying, I would always recommend that you discuss your baby’s symptoms with a GP.
Doctors usually diagnose infant colic based on the ‘rule of three.’ So, your baby’s crying:
- Totals at least three hours a day
- Occurs on at least three days of the week
- Persists for at least three weeks
Colic tends to occur between 0-12 weeks – peaking between weeks 6-8 – then generally disappearing or declining significantly by 12 weeks.
What causes colic?
With there being no medical test to diagnose colic, one of the theories is that colic is caused by a pain or discomfort in the stomach due to baby having an immature digestive system. This is where our special colic alleviation & prevention routine can work wonders to help tone the digestive tract.
As colic usually occurs in the evening, it is also suggested that it could be a result of a sensory overload throughout the day resulting in too much serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps to regulate mood, appetite, digestion, and sleep. This chemical accumulates in the body during the day so by the evening baby might become jittery and unsettled. Baby massage can help you baby to relax and settle down for the night.
Other underlying conditions are also said to cause colic, including:
- Food intolerance
- Tongue tie
- Birth trauma
- Acid reflux
How baby massage and our colic routine can help
Massaging your baby’s tummy will help to break down larger air bubbles, expel trapped wind from the body, loosen stools, and aid constipation by stimulating the intestines and bowels.
Babies’ digestive systems are immature, so massage can help to tone and strengthen the digestive track and support efficient brain to body communication, making the digestion of food and the elimination of waste easier for your little one.
Other ways you can calm baby
- Use white noise to recreate the sounds of the womb, helping to soothe baby
- Provide warmth, for example with a warm bath and a wash cloth on baby’s tummy
- Reduce outside stimulation by dimming the lights and decreasing noise factors
- Rocking baby in your arms, going for a walk with the pram, or taking a car ride in order to create a steady rhythm of movement which is soothing to baby
- Some babies respond well to being wrapped or swaddled, especially whilst being rocked
- Wearing a sling – being close to your chest, hearing your heart beat whilst feeling a steady movement is very calming for baby
Try not to let yourself feel isolated – coping with a colicky baby can be emotionally draining but you don’t have to cope on your own. Please ask for help and don’t be afraid to speak up. Looking after yourself is important so you don’t feel run down and less able to manage day-to-day.
If you are stressed, your baby can pick up on this which in turn could make the situation more difficult to deal with, so don’t feel bad for putting your baby down somewhere safe and taking a moment out for a few restoring deep breaths.
Getting out the house and talking to other parents or attending local baby classes will also make a big impact on how you could be feeling by helping you to realise you are not alone.
If you’d like to know more about our special colic alleviation & prevention baby massage routine, you can get in touch with your local instructor here.
About the author
Franchise owner and instructor for Basking Babies Basildon, Canvey & Wickford.