3 At-Home Steps to Soothe Your Baby’s Colic
Crying is a baby’s way of getting our attention for any number of things. They’re hungry. They’re wet. They’re simply tired.
But sometimes, a crying baby is inconsolable.
When the crying becomes excessive and lasts for longer than three hours a day, you may have a colicky baby on your hands. Colic is a severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen caused by intestinal gas or an obstruction in the intestines. While we know many babies suffer from it, its causes are unconfirmed.
So what can you do to soothe your wailing baby? We turned to a colic expert Roshan Kaderali for answers. Kaderali is a registered nurse, certified nurse midwife and CEO of Mommy’s Bliss (oh, and she’s a mother herself!).
First things first: how do I know if my baby has colic?
Kaderali says it’s not always easy, even for parents with multiple kids.
“If a baby has repeated episodes of inconsolable crying, but appears to be healthy and well, he or she may have colic,” she says. “The general rule of thumb applies that a well-fed infant who cries for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks, is likely to be experiencing colic.”
Other symptoms include irregular sleep or feeding interrupted by crying episodes, gas, and abnormal posture. Watch for clenched fists, tensed abdominal muscles, knees drawn up, and an arched back.
Kaderali says if you think your baby may have colic, there are several methods you can try at home to soothe it. Because different babies respond to different things, trial and error will be your friend in figuring out what soothes your baby.
If the symptoms persist for a prolonged period, you’ll want to speak with your physician.
“There are many more serious conditions that can appear to be colic but aren’t,” Kaderali says.
Kaderali offers the following methods for soothing colic at home:
White noise. Sometimes, all it takes to soothe a colicky infant is a little bit of white noise. The most popular white noise used to relax a baby during colicky periods is—believe it or not–the vacuum; however a white noise machine, a recorded heartbeat, the shower or other household appliances have also been effective.
Massage and swaddle: Some soothing contact can change a baby’s whole mood. Try massaging them gently, or wrapping them tightly in a blanket to provide a safe, relaxing environment similar to the snug feeling your baby was used to inside the womb. Likewise, holding the baby will provide a similar feeling, and if one position does not work, try shifting to another.
Ease a gassy tummy: Colicky babies tend to swallow air while crying, which can result in painful gassiness. Try a natural supplement, gripe water or anti-gas drops containing herbs such as ginger, dill or fennel, which settle the stomach and help relax cramping muscles, while also being safe for your baby.”
Avoid aggravating factors
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your baby’s diet isn’t to blame for his or her tummy troubles.
“If you are breastfeeding, try switching out certain foods from your diet to see how your baby reacts. If your baby is on formula, it may be beneficial to switch to one with different ingredients – just be sure to talk to your baby’s doctor before making any significant dietary changes.”
Roshan Kaderali is a registered nurse, certified nurse midwife, certified lactation educator and mother. She’s also the founder and CEO of Mommy’s Bliss. Working with an FDA-registered current good manufacturing practice laboratory, she developed the first all-natural gripe water for the American Market.