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

Your Baby & Toddler - - Front Page - BY MICHÉLE KAPILE­VICH

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

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