Colic is a condition that many parents dread, however, remain afraid to label. This is because every crying episode does not classify colic. By definition a colicky baby shows healthy signs of growth. He will be taking good amount of milk, passing urine six times a day, have regular bowel movements, and according to the pediatrician, will be in good health.
Colic appears in babies at around three to six weeks of age. The child will show crying bouts lasting for more than three hours. Again, these crying bouts take place at least three days a week.
This can be a very trying time for parents, especially mothers. Therefore, it is very important that a mother be well fed and rested to take up this challenge. There are a few things that can help the child feel better.
Most of the time, the child held against the shoulder will feel better. This helps relieve the baby a little from the colic. At other times, the baby may need movement from side to side and a repetition of a lullaby or song or prayer. A soft and gentle voice will help reduce his crying bout.
To make sure that gases are not contributing to colic, make sure the baby passes wind. This can be done by first burping the baby for at least fifteen minutes after the meal. Give long stroking pats on the back of the baby to help the burping, and sooth the baby in advance.
Then lie the baby down on a firm mattress, lift the baby’s legs and gently push them towards the baby’s tummy. Keep these movements slow and rhythmic. You can play and sing to the baby while you do that, so that the baby gets distracted. Most of the time, it helps reduce the intensity of the colic.
Colic droppers and gripe waters also help relieve the baby, but not always. So make sure that you clear this with the pediatrician first. Many pediatricians are against anything other than milk for the first six months, stating that the digestive system is simply too immature to handle any thing else, and that it can aggravate the colic. Therefore, clear these issues before using any form of medicine on your baby.
Try to make a regular bedtime for the baby. At least try to tell the baby that now it is time for sleep. Although it may not help with the colic, it will make the baby understand the sleep ritual and schedule, which will help you, catch up on your sleep later on.
The most important thing is to get help when you feel tired. The colicky baby will continue to cry whether you pick him or put him in his crib. Therefore, you can ask someone to help you for a while so that you can rest your muscles. At this time, mothers have a very high risk of developing shoulder, neck and back pains. So make sure there are plenty of breaks to allow the muscles to relax.