Sunday, October 24, 2010

Colic: Providing Relief for You and Your Baby

All babies cry. It seems that it is a skill that they picked up in their mothers' wombs before they are even born. However, some cry more than others. And a few babies – although they are healthy, well-fed and well cared for – seem to cry inconsolably. If your baby cries about the same time each day and nothing you do seems to comfort him or her, your baby may have colic.

Colic is often defined as crying for more than three hours a day which occurs over the course of three days a week for more than three weeks in an otherwise healthy baby. Colic often starts a few weeks after birth and may likely last until your baby is three months of age. While the condition is temporary, it can be quite distressing for you and your baby. It can result in many late nights, stress, and anxiety. Having a colicky baby also contributes to the number of new mothers who suffer from postpartum depression. Save your baby and your sanity from the incessant crying by learning how to prevent and soothe colic attacks:

 Feed your baby. Feeding can soothe a colicky baby. Giving your baby small but frequent feedings can be helpful in stopping the crying episodes. Burp your baby often since gas can make your baby uncomfortable and induce another round of incessant crying.

 Offer a pacifier. Sucking is a soothing activity for many babies. Use this knowledge to your advantage and give your baby a pacifier to soothe him especially if he cries to close to feeding time.

 Cuddle. Cuddling helps some babies. Most stop crying when they are held closely and swaddled in a lightweight blanket. Try a baby sling, backpack, or other type of baby carrier if your arms ache from carrying your baby.

 Rock your baby. Gently rock your baby in your arms or lay your baby tummy down on your knees and then sway your knees slowly. Take a walk with your baby or buckle your baby in the car seat for a drive. These actions can distract your baby from whatever it is that induce the crying bout.

 Hum a lullaby. Soft tunes can help soothe your baby's frazzled nerves – and yours too. They can keep you calm and help pass the time while you are waiting for your baby to settle down.

 Use white noise. Some babies cry less when they hear steady background noise. Turning on a fan or playing a tape or CD can do the trick.

 Employ heat or touch therapy. Give your baby a warm bath. Softly massage your baby, especially around the tummy when he starts acting up.

 Give your baby some private time. If nothing else seems to work, a brief timeout might help. Put your baby in his or her crib for five to 10 minutes.

 Consider dietary changes. If you breast-feed, see if eliminating certain foods from your own diet – such as dairy products, citrus fruits, spicy foods or drinks containing caffeine — has any effect on your baby's crying. If you use a bottle, a new type of bottle or nipple might help.

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Katie said...
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