How can you help alleviate some of the discomfort that you little bundle of joy feels when colic sets in? Are there ways to help your newborn feel better, even though you don’t really know why the crying is happening to begin with? We’ve got colic tips and tricks for baby.
The good news is that there are a number of ways to help baby feel better that you can try immediately, so let’s dive right in:
First of all, be sure to check for physical issues that you can resolve; make sure your little one’s diaper is dry and comfy, try feeding your babe to see if he or she just feels a bit hungry, and make sure there’s no draft causing a chill or wayward sunbeam irritating little eyes.
If your babe is fed, dry and warm but the crying is still going on, check your little one’s tummy to see if it seems bloated or distended. Sometimes extra gas in the stomach can cause uncomfortable bloating, and can be relieved by changing your baby’s position, or massaging baby’s back firmly to help get the gas moving out of the system.
Try placing baby stomach side down on your forearm, with his or her head held in the palm of your hand, or laying on your forearm by your elbow. The added pressure on baby’s tummy can help alleviate the discomfort, and being close to your skin can help your little one feel safe and calmer. This is a good position for you to try anytime your little one is fussy, and it can be especially helpful when colic strikes.
In addition to the forearm hold with your little one, you can also add a soothing, rhythmical walking or rocking motion to help ease baby’s discomfort and lull him or her into a dozy state. This rhythmic movement technique has been used for hundreds of years to soothe fussy children and can also help a parent with stress relief – the movement becomes almost hypnotic and many parents find themselves unconsciously rocking while standing in line or anytime on their feet!
Swaddling, or closely wrapping up your babe in a soft blanket to restrict movement and help baby stop thrashing about can also be a good tool for colic-y newborns. Muscle control can be difficult for little ones, and being firmly wrapped can help baby stay still, warm and more likely to be calm.
If swaddling and massage aren’t working, you can also try intentional movement or noise to help baby’s brain focus on external stimuli rather than internal discomfort. The constant movement and drone of a car ride, the vibration of a swinging baby carrier, the white noise of a fan or recording of a heartbeat or tibetan bowls or even water running can all provide an external focus that can lull the babe into a calmer state. The trick to remember is to keep the sound or movement constant rather than abrupt or spontaneous.
Finally, you can also try holding your babe close against you, skin to skin, especially in a warm bed, room or bath. The extra warmth of a bath or bed, and the natural sound of your heartbeat with baby next to you can be very soothing to your newborn, and can also help you relax and calm your mind. New mothers are very susceptible to changing hormone levels and skin to skin contact with baby can help you release endorphins that relax you and make you feel happier.
Of course, there are also dietary solutions to try, including checking what you are eating that might be affecting your breastmilk if you are breastfeeding, and adding probiotics into your child’s milk or water to help build a balanced digestive biome, and as always, be sure to check with your doctor if nothing seems to be working or your little one worsens.