6 quick tricks for crying babies
TRICKS FOR TRYING BABIES There is no cure for colic. But there are some actions you can take to help you survive the very worst of it – and, if you’re lucky, even prevent it from running its course
There are hundreds of books out there, with thousands of rules and rituals that promise to divulge the secret to the perfectly happy baby. But none of them worked with my first baby. Second time around, I decided to put my foot down early and not be bullied by what we affectionately referred to in our household as a helpless little tyrant.
So I read even more books than I did in my first pregnancy, and two weeks before baby was due I was confident – nothing would stop me from being supermom this time. My bravado was sadly short lived.
A CRYING SHAME
After two weeks baby Max started to develop colic. What they don’t tell you in any of those wonderful books is that all the rules and routines go out the window at the first sign of this mysterious ailment. From 3pm to 7pm every day, like clockwork, my baby would go from a pleasant, gurgling cherub to a writhing, screaming demon who would twist his face and arch his back as though tortured by a cruel, invisible force.
The more I read about this condition, the more despondent I felt. While the symptoms were clear (regular, painful gastric trauma) and widespread (up to a quarter of all babies are diagnosed with the condition), the prognosis was always the same: not much can be done, nobody agrees on what the true causes are, and if you grit your teeth the symptoms should disappear by the time the baby is four or six months old.
Then there are the chilling warnings about the effect that colic can have on your marriage. The biggest casualty of colic, they tell you, is the relationship between the parents. The human brain abhors uncertainty. As you get increasingly desperate, so you begin to grasp at any possible explanation – even if it means blaming your partner.
Colic is also meant to peak at six weeks and then get slightly better. I tried absolutely every medicine under the sun – from probiotic drops to colic mixtures. So when, at six weeks, instead of showing any signs of abating, the symptoms just got worse and Max started crying earlier and earlier, I did not know which way to turn anymore.
With my back to the wall, I had to find easy tricks that would help a hysterically crying baby relax (and pronto). I do not propose these as a cure for colic. But during the six weeks of excruciating crying and a very unhappy little chappy, these little tricks – more often than not – managed to make our day that much more bearable.
WHAT WORKED FOR ME
1CHANGE YOUR DIET. IMMEDIATELY This was basically the cure for the root cause that we found after trying the five symptom relieving tricks listed below. I am telling you this one first, because I genuinely think it is the first one you should try.
As I was breastfeeding, I went on a strictly gluten and dairy free diet and it worked. In two days, Max’s symptoms had disappeared. It was like a minor miracle – I can’t describe the feelings of victory and relief.
I am not guaranteeing that this will work for you. But in my mind, you have absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
2ON THE BALL We use them in pregnancy. We use them in the labour room while giving birth. Why do we then forget about gym balls as soon as baby is born? Gently, rhythmically bouncing on a gym ball somehow soothes a crying baby, helps to get the burps out, and even sometimes puts them to sleep. It has the added benefit of exercising your abs and quads at the same time as making baby feel better.
3i can’t describe the feelings of victory and relief
GOING COMMANDO Babies love being rid of those ever present, heavy, scratchy massive things between their legs. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nappies are about as natural as, well, walking around with a maternity pad all day long. Putting the baby outside on a blanket on the lawn, taking off the nappy and just letting him enjoy the freedom of his own birthday suit has a mood enhancing effect of epic proportions.
4ROUGH RIDE Time and time again, I have put an inconsolably screaming baby in either a car seat or pram, and the bumpier the ride in the car (or in the