Does your baby have colic?
Colic is the diagnosis given to excessive crying in babies. If your baby is under 4 months old and cries for more than 3 hours a day, they most likely have colic. It’s a very common condition for both breast and formula feeding babies.
There is no known cause of colic. Apart from constant crying, your baby probably shows signs of a sore tummy. This behaviour can last for a few months. If you are already at your wits end, we’re here to help. We’ve gathered a list of well know ways to relieve colic in babies. Let’s save your sanity.
15 Ways to Relieve Colic in Babies
Mums will swear by vibrating chairs or swings to calm a colicky baby. If you have a bouncer or baby swing with a vibrating motion give it a go. An inexpensive way to get the same effect it to put baby in a car seat or pram near a washing machine. As the machine spins the vibrations will gently sooth your baby. And let’s face it you have a baby so your washing machine will never be off.
2. Position Change
Placing a little pressure on your baby’s abdomen can help. The best way to do this is by placing baby in the ‘tiger in the tree’ position. You can rock baby or gently rub their back while in this position. If you get tired holding baby, take a seat and switch baby to the same pose of the thighs.
Please note you should never put baby to sleep on their tummy as it can greatly increase the risk of SIDS.
3. Less Stimulation
When a baby cries our automatic instinct is to pick them up. However, the stimulation of being handled too much can cause baby to become more distressed. Swaddling is a great way to make your baby feel secure without over handling them.
If you are feeling frazzled by the constant crying try to let someone else take over. Your baby can pick up on your stress, which then stresses them. This is why your baby may settle better when someone else helps out.
4. Change Bottles
If your baby is formula feeing or taking breastmilk from a bottle, this may be the cause. Anti-colic bottles are designed to reduce the amount of air your baby takes in when feeding. They allow excess air to escape through a vent rather than into your baby’s tummy. We found the Mam Anti Colic bottles were the best selling and highest rated bottles by mums. If you are already using this type of bottle then check the teat is the correct size for your baby.
When feeding always make sure babies chin pointing upwards. Think of how you tilt your head back when you take a drink and position your baby so they can do this.
5. Car Ride
A well-known parenting trick for unsettled babies is to take them in the car. Babies are more than likely settle by the rhythmic noises and vibrations of the motors. Combine this with the motion and snugness of a car seat and you’re on to a winner. With the price of fuel, it’s an expensive solution but it will probably save your sanity in the long run. You’ll often find that the routine of simply placing baby in the car seat will begin to settle them, without the journey.
6. Gripe Water
Gripe Water is an old fashioned remedy for colicky babies. It’s a herbal water with ingredients to help relieve digestive problems. Common ingredients include liquorice, dill oil, peppermint, and ginger. These naturally help to neutralise any excess stomach acids that lead to trapped wind. It’s easy to find on in a pharmacy, supermarket or on-line and cheap to buy. You can add a spoonful to your babies milk, or give it by syringe or spoon.
Already tried colic remedies such as gripe water, infacol or colic granules with no success? Then Colief may be the solution for you. We never recommend using this first as it’s expensive to use over time.
These drops work by breaking down the milk sugars (lactose) which small babies struggle to digest. A 15ml bottle lasts around a week and costs £15-£17 depending on offers. Some areas do colief on prescription so you might want to ask your GP or health visitor before buying.
8. Empty Breast
If you are breastfeeding it’s important to ensure your baby empties one side before moving to the next. A small feed on each side means your baby gets lots of foremilk. This milk is high in sugar and can make baby very gassy.
Keeping baby on the breast means they get the hind milk which is full of calories and fat to help baby settle for longer. You can often tell if you baby is getting too much foremilk as their dirty nappies are usually a greenish colour.
9. Baby Massage
A great free technique for colic is to massage your baby. Studies shave show that babies are 50% less likely to cry when they are regularly massaged. This may be due to the relaxation of a parents touch. The movement can also help to relieve any pain or discomfort baby is in. Use a little massage oil and make a habit of regularly massaging baby. It’s a great way to bond with your baby. Check out the video below of how to do a basic baby massage.
10. Change Your Diet
If you are breastfeeding your diet can affect your baby. Common foods which cause problems are dairy, caffeine, spicy foods and gassy vegetable such as onions, broccoli and cauliflower. Try to keep track of what you eat and babies behaviour for the day after. If you find baby is more unsettled try to remove the problem causing foods. It’s important you still get plenty of calories and nutrients whilst breastfeeding. It may be a case of trial and error over a few weeks.
11. Warm Bath
Having a warm bath is a great way to deal with trapped wind. The water and heat helps to relax baby’s tensed muscles. The routine of a bath may be enough to relax your baby with a familiar routine, or distract them at least. If your baby cries because of a laid back position, they may benefit from an upright baby bath such as the Schnuggle Tub. If taking a bath isn’t convenient then try a warmed towel or wet face cloth on baby’s tummy instead.
12. Baby Sling
Using a baby sling will help keep your baby in the upright position colicky babies prefer. The closeness makes baby feel safe and secure. As you can wear a sling almost anywhere you can keep you baby moving with you whilst you get on with daily tasks. You may find that baby settles better in a sling if they get skin to skin. This is easier to do with a soft wrap type sling so you can keep baby upright on your chest.
13. White Noise
Most parent worry that noise will unsettle a baby, when the opposite is true. Babies love a noisy environment but it has to be the right type of noise. Rhythmic ‘white noise’ is perfect for helping your baby to settle. When you baby is in the womb they are listening to constant rhythmic sounds such as the heart beating or digestion. You may find you baby is more settle when they are near a vacuum cleaner, washing machine or fan. You can buy white noise gadgets for babies or you can re-run endless hours of white nose video on YouTube for free.
14. Strong Smells
Most of our colic solutions tackle baby’s senses of touch, sound and sight. Smell is often the forgotten sense that we forget with babies. Strong scents such as perfume or foods can irritate your baby’s immature sense. Be aware of your baby’s environment when they are unsettled. On the other side of the coin certain smells can help to relax your baby. Try baby safe aromatherapy oils in a room humidifier to help soothe your baby. Lavender and chamomile are great options for young babies.
15. Baby Exercise
If you’ve ever had trapped wind you’ve probably contorted yourself into various shapes to dislodge the gas. You can help baby to do with a variety of exercises. Try baby sit ups, where you lay baby down their upper body into an upright position. This puts a gentle pressure on their tummy, which often eases colic pain. Baby bicycles are another great move. Lie baby flat, then move their legs in a circular motion like they are riding a bike. This will simulate baby in reverse to the sit up. It’s particularly good for aiding discomfort in the lower half of your baby’s body.
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