In Understanding Colic we learned more about what colic actually is and why it usually happens. Now that you’re aware of the reasons behind your baby’s colic, you will be better prepared to choose the correct strategies to help alleviate your infant’s discomfort.
Before You Begin
Before you go through the different strategies available, you will need to keep a few things in mind:
Don’t take it personally: A colicky baby is not the result of poor parenting skills. Don’t feel bad if your baby is inconsolable despite your attempts to comfort it.
Recruit others’ help: Have your spouse, family member or friend help you out when you need a few hours to yourself to unwind and calm down.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t soothe your baby’s crying: Sometimes babies cry because that’s what they need to do to cope with what they’re feeling. Just accept that crying is your baby’s own way of dealing with things and support it by holding it and giving it unconditional love and assurance.
Understanding the reasons behind your baby’s colic is the first step to determining the right strategy for your little one. Remember, what works for one infant might not be successful with another. Discovering which strategies work best for your baby takes time as you learn through trial and error.
• Change your baby’s bottle: Some bottles trap air that your baby will swallow when bottle-feeding, leaving it bloated and in pain. Invest in specially designed bottles that reduce air intake by preventing air bubbles from forming in the liquid.
• Burp your baby frequently during feedings: Burping lets out the air trapped in the baby’s tummy, relieving it from the pressure and resulting pain. Burp your baby every few minutes while bottle-feeding it or when you alternate breasts during breastfeeding.
• Adjust your diet if you're breastfeeding: If you feel that your baby might be reacting poorly to something in your breast milk, try finding out what it is and avoid it. This could be dairy products, spicy food, caffeine, alcohol, wheat products, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, strawberries, and garlic.
• Check whether you need to change your formula: While formula doesn't usually cause colic, it might be worth a try checking with your doctor whether you need to switch to a formula that doesn't contain cow's milk protein if your baby is colicky.
• Hold your baby in a semi-upright position during and after feedings: This helps the milk reach the stomach more easily and reduces discomfort resulting from gastroesophageal reflux (GER).
• Give your baby a gentle belly rub: Massaging can help dispel gas and might soothe your baby. One other position you can use is to place your baby tummy-down across your knees and rhythmically rub its back.
• Move your baby’s feet in a cycling motion: This will help relieve gas and some stomach pains. Simply place your baby on its back and gently move its legs in a bicycling motion several times a day. You can do this when you change its Fine Baby® diaper.
• Use the special colic carry: Try carrying your baby by placing it stomach-down along your forearm, with its cheek in the palm of your hand and its crotch in the crook of your elbow. This position places gentle pressure on the abdomen and helps dispel gas.
• Use a hot water bottle: A bit of warmth against its tummy might be just what your baby needs to relax it. Fill a hot water bottle with lukewarm water, wrap it in a towel, place it on your belly and let your baby lie on top of you. Be careful not to use hot water, as your baby’s sensitive skin might not be able to handle the heat.
• Soothe your baby with gentle motion: Some babies are comforted by being gently rocked, bounced, swayed, and so on. Try out different motions and see which your baby prefers most.
• Give your baby a warm bath: Not only will it help distract your baby, it might relax it and ease its discomfort. Some babies also like to feel the water spray from the shower head against their backs.