Colic is one of those things every parent hopes they can avoid. But what is colic? Colic is when a baby starts crying for no apparent reason for about three hours at a time. There is no real medical reason, or treatment, for colic. It usually starts when the baby is between two and six weeks old, and lasts until about three months old. It can be hard on the whole family.
Nursed babies tend to be less colicky, but there are still a few that may develop colic. Some people think the baby is hungry or in pain, but the truth is no one really knows why it happens. Some experts feel it could even be from an immature nervous system and it just takes time to develop.
So what can be done? There are a few things that you can try that may help calm your baby. But first, as difficult as it may be, try not to stress. The baby will pick up your feelings and it just makes things worse. Try to take turns with someone else when the baby is colicky. If you are alone with the baby and just feel overwhelmed, put the baby in the crib and go to another room. Even just a few minutes away can help you be better able to calm your baby. Never blame yourself or the baby. It just happens; you haven’t done anything wrong as a parent.
Motion has been shown to offer relief for some babies. Swings or car rides can sometimes help offer relief. It may just remind the baby of being in the womb. If you have a front-carrier or stroller, go for a walk, even if it is just around the house. Rock together and hum or sing to the baby.
Sometimes certain sounds will help the baby to settle down. Some have found that the sound of a fan, washer, dryer or vacuum seem to help calm the baby. Putting the baby in a carrier seat on top of the dryer may also help. Just be sure to stay with the baby, so they don’t vibrate off. Parents even combine using the sound of the vacuum with having the baby in a front-carrier.
Giving your baby a massage can sometimes help. Gently moving the legs toward the stomach can also help relive any excess gas that might be adding to the discomfort. The massage can relax the baby and maybe they can fall asleep during it. Sometimes a warm water bottle on the stomach can offer some relief as well – just be careful that it isn’t too hot.
If you notice a pattern to when your baby becomes colicky, try to snuggle before the fussiness starts. Sometimes that added attention might help reduce the intensity of the crying. Holding and loving your new baby is in no way spoiling them.
If none of these ideas help and you feel something is really wrong beyond colic, always give your pediatrician a call. Often just talking to the nurse can give you some peace of mind.