8 WAYS TO EASE YOUR BABY’S COLIC

Un­til you have a baby, you prob­a­bly don’t know much about colic. But if your baby starts cry­ing, and it’s hard to help her to stop, you soon feel like an ex­pert

Your Pregnancy - - Your Baby -

It’s a po­si­tion many moms find them­selves in, as one in five oth­er­wise healthy new­borns suf­fers from colic. If you’re won­der­ing if your baby could be one of them, fol­low the rule of three: ba­bies with colic cry for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for more than three weeks. This typ­i­cally lasts from a few weeks af­ter birth to around the age of four months. De­spite many stud­ies, sci­en­tists haven’t dis­cov­ered why this all-too-com­mon prob­lem oc­curs. The more re­search there is, the less we seem to know for sure. For decades, if not longer, colic was chalked up to wind. One of the key ways to deal with it was mak­ing sure your baby was well winded af­ter feed­ing. But re­search pub­lished in the jour­nal Child Care, Health and Devel­op­ment in 2016 claimed that this had no im­pact on the num­ber or sever­ity of colic episodes. The sci­en­tists’ best guess is that there are mul­ti­ple causes of colic, so it makes sense that there may be mul­ti­ple so­lu­tions. And tak­ing a proac­tive step to soothe your cry­ing baby – what­ever that step may be – will help you feel more in con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion.

1 KEEP LIGHT AND NOISE TO A MIN­I­MUM

Some sci­en­tists be­lieve there is a link be­tween mi­graines and colic. A 2012 study found that moms who get mi­graines are more than twice as likely to have ba­bies with colic. A year later, another study dis­cov­ered that 73 per­cent of chil­dren aged six to 18 who ex­pe­ri­enced mi­graines had colic as an in­fant, com­pared to 27 per­cent who didn’t. This has led to spec­u­la­tion that colic may be an early symp­tom of mi­graine. So, it’s worth re­duc­ing over­stim­u­la­tion by light and noise, which helps mi­graine suf­fer­ers, such as dim­ming bright lights, avoid­ing noisy toys and turn­ing down mu­sic.

2 TRY THE ‘TIGER IN THE TREE’ HOLD

One of the long-sus­pected causes of colic is di­ges­tive pain, par­tic­u­larly trapped wind. This hold­ing tech­nique may help by plac­ing gen­tle pres­sure on your baby’s tummy. Lie your baby along one of your arms, with her tummy down­wards and her head by your el­bow. Hold one of her thighs in your hand to en­sure she is se­cure. Let your arm sup­port her weight. Try jig­gling her gen­tly in this po­si­tion too.

3 USE AN OVER-THE-COUNTER REM­EDY

There are many colic reme­dies on the mar­ket. Some work by re­leas­ing air trapped in your baby’s di­ges­tive sys­tem, help­ing you burp her more quickly. Oth­ers, like Colief (avail­able at phar­ma­cies), aim to help her break down lac­tose in milk, to avoid trapped wind and bloat­ing, which can lead to tummy aches. There isn’t enough ev­i­dence to say any work, but many moms wouldn’t be with­out them. Most over-the-counter treat­ments take time to be­gin work­ing, so use as di­rected and dis­cuss with your doc­tor as there may be other al­ter­na­tives out there.

4 EX­CLU­SIVELY BREAST­FEED

Ex­clu­sively breast­fed ba­bies gen­er­ally have fewer tummy is­sues – and this is of course first prize in fight­ing wind – how­ever, they can still suf­fer with bouts of colic. If you are ex­press­ing your milk and us­ing bot­tles, choose spe­cific anti-colic bot­tles that work on the prin­ci­ple that if your baby swal­lows less air as she feeds, she’ll suf­fer less from tummy ache. Trapped wind can take a few days to build up and dis­perse, so it’s worth stick­ing to a bot­tle for at least a week be­fore you de­cide if it’s help­ing or not.

5 KEEP FOOD DIARIES

If you’re breast­feed­ing your baby, it’s pos­si­ble that the food you eat is caus­ing her colic. An in­fant ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a cow’s milk al­lergy is not un­com­mon, so when you eat dairy it might trig­ger her colic. But it can also be caused by a huge range of food, from or­ange juice to choco­late and even cau­li­flower. Keep a food diary and make a note of colic episodes. You’ll soon see if a pat­tern emerges.

6 MAS­SAGE HER TUMMY

If you think di­ges­tive pain is the cause of your baby’s colic, a gen­tle tummy mas­sage may help. Use a cold-pressed or­ganic oil and in a warm room, lay your baby on her back, and gen­tly rub her tummy in a clock­work mo­tion around her belly but­ton. This stim­u­lates di­ges­tion and pro­motes blood flow, as the mo­tion fol­lows the direc­tion of her in­testines. Touch can also have a heal­ing and sooth­ing ef­fect.

7 CY­CLE HER LEGS

This is another trick for get­ting the di­ges­tive sys­tem work­ing and ex­pelling trapped wind. Lay your baby in your lap, fac­ing up­wards. Gen­tly hold her an­kles and slowly move her legs in a bi­cy­cling mo­tion. A sim­i­lar ex­er­cise is to sit her on your lap with her back to your chest. Gen­tly hold her knees to­gether and bend them up to­wards her tummy. Hold for five sec­onds, then draw them down again, and re­peat.

8 TRY PROBIOTIC DROPS

We’ve all seen those lit­tle bot­tles of yo­ghurt that of­fer to give us “good bac­te­ria”. Now stud­ies are be­ing car­ried out into whether giv­ing your baby probiotic drops con­tain­ing th­ese bac­te­ria will help colic. The largest-scale study to date, in 2014, found that they don’t, but said fur­ther re­search was nec­es­sary to dis­cover whether they may help par­tic­u­lar ba­bies. An ear­lier study found ev­i­dence that they might have more of an ef­fect on ba­bies who are ex­clu­sively breast­fed rather than those who are fed for­mula. Ei­ther way it can’t hurt to try! Dis­cuss with your paed.

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