Hi to all new moms and about to be moms!
Many newborns seem to suffer from that dreaded evening distress called “colic”. Before giving your newborn any of the “colic” remedies available over the counter, try out these 4 unconventional ways to handle colic and see if your baby gets any relief! If not, then it is back to the doctor to see what he recommends!
What is colic?
Uncontrollable crying of a baby particularly in the late afternoon and early evening whilst being otherwise healthy is termed “colic”. Unfortunately, for us moms, none of the “baby experts” seem to be able to agree as to what causes this distressing discomfort in a little baby and we comfort ourselves with the thought that “colic” seems to resolve by itself once the baby reaches 3 or 4 months of age. However, think of your poor little newborn having to go up to 4 months of discomfort and maybe even pain before this “colic” disappears! Apparently, the amount of research into “colic” is not extensive as it is not considered to be a life-threatening illness. Researchers think that colic is merely a result of the baby’s nervous system trying to adapt to the stress and stimulation of being in the real world. Nevertheless, for moms all over the world, the question remains: What can we do to help our newborn not suffer so much?
Unconventional means to an end
1: Your first step is to try to relax!
Babies are super sensitive to how you, the mom, are feeling. When one sees one’s baby crying and screaming, with those little legs pulled in towards his or her tummy, it is easier said than done to keep your cool and deal calmly with your baby’s distress! Once you have checked with your baby’s doctor that there is nothing physically wrong with him/her and the doctor has reassured you that it is probably “colic”, the only thought you are left with to comfort yourself is that your little one will grow out of it in a few months. It sounds rather odd but if YOU can keep YOUR stress levels down, it can actually help you to remain calm and not freak out when your baby is going through those few hours in the early evening. So, if you can get out on your own for a bit of “me” time during the day, do so! (ask your mother, your aunt, a friend to babysit for half an hour or an hour!) Also, once that typical stressful time in the early evening rolls around, going for a walk with your little one in his or her pram may soothe him or her and make the colic less stressful for both of you!
2: The Gentle Touch
All you need is a warm, dimly lit room (pull the curtains closed if it is a bright day!). Warm up your hands and gently massage your baby from head to toe. The internet is a great way to look at the various strokes you can use for infant massage! If you have ever experienced the luxury of a massage, you will know how relaxed this can make YOU feel. So what’s to stop you trying this on your baby? Parents who have learnt to massage their babies swear that it does help to relieve their “colicky” baby’s distress.
3: Soothing sounds
Whilst in the womb your baby can hear muffled sounds from the outside world through the amniotic fluid. Once he or she is born, suddenly all the different sounds he or she is exposed to could be quite stressful for your little one. Loud noises can startle him or her and may trigger a bout of extended crying. If you sing softly or talk in a soft, soothing voice this may calm your baby as will soft, gentle music in the background. So sing your baby a gentle lullaby or hum a tune as you cuddle him and you may find that he will stop crying. I used to put music on and dance away the afternoon/evening with my firstborn and this calmed both he and I!
While you were pregnant, no doubt you were moving around quite a bit. Whilst you were going about your daily activities your baby experienced this movement too. Lying in a crib with no movement must come as a surprise to the newborn and these sensitive little souls could object to lying there with no movement! Rhythmic movement, such as rocking in your arms or in a cradle or even just going for a walk in his pram can soothe such a baby. (that’s why those little bouncy chairs are so popular – one can pop one’s baby in one and keep a gentle rocking motion going!) Getting out and about for a walk with your baby is a good way to relax yourself, too, as mentioned previously. You could even strap your newborn into the baby carrier and go for a walk around your garden or jiggle him in it whilst preparing the supper or whilst dancing crazily to some music!
But won’t I be spoiling my baby?
One of the myths about colic is that by paying attention and trying to calm your baby, you will be spoiling him, but this just isn’t true. Patience, calmness and comforting your newborn can overcome the distress of colic and will not “spoil” him. We all know that when we feel ill or have pain, having someone beside you who comforts you helps a lot. It doesn’t necessarily take away the pain, but it definitely makes one feel better! It is a very rare mom who can bear to leave her baby crying for great periods of time, especially if she thinks her baby is in pain! You won’t spoil your baby by picking him or her up and cuddling or dancing around with him or her – you will only bring comfort to an otherwise stressful time.
You will notice that none of the above “unconventional” tips include giving your baby any medication. If “colic” is really just your newborn’s nervous system adapting to the stress of being exposed to all the different sounds, smells and lights then medications are probably a waste of time! Some babies are just born ultra-sensitive to the world that they are now experiencing! If your baby does have “colic” you have nothing to lose by trying these 4 tips first and if none of them brings any relief, then it is time to try one of the medications recommended for “colic” under your doctor’s advice.
If you have any questions relating to your newborn, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you soonest! Or you can leave a comment in the box below if you prefer.
Till next week,
Yours in newborn photography