Have you been hearing a howling baby lately? Experiencing a crying baby can be difficult for both new parents and anyone in close proximity, especially when the source of the squalling infant’s pain is difficult to identify.
How can you help a baby that seems to cry all the time? What can you do for a baby that seems to be in pain even though nothing appears amiss? A baby that cries excessively might be said to be colicky… what does that mean and how can you fix it?
A colicky baby cries for more than three hours a day, three days a week, for three weeks at a time. The tears often appear in the first month or two of life and may last up to four months.
Colic describes the symptom rather than the problem, so there might be more than one solution. This can be exceptionally frustrating for parents and caregivers who want to help soothe the crying child.
Colic might result from excess swallowed air, gas, digestive issues, tummy troubles, reflux, GERD, skeletal misalignment, or more.
Spot the signs
If your baby cries inconsolably, even after they have been recently fed and changed, colic might be the problem.
When you are trying to spot the signs of colic, you should first meet your child’s basic needs for food, sleep, and comfort. Make sure they have a clean diaper. If your child’s crying continues and your attempts to soothe them don’t seem to work, you can probably call it colic.
Soothing a baby naturally
Colicky baby treatment might require professional assistance, but there are many soothing methods you can try in the meantime.
Sounds may help calm you and your child: play or sing lullabies, provide hushing and shushing sounds, play a white noise machine, run the vacuum, find some wind chimes, or pound on some pots.
Soothing movements may also help: rocking, swaying, swinging, bouncing, rolling, rubbing, patting, wiggling, or gently shaking your baby either in your arms or using special equipment can help. Be careful to move only at your baby’s pace: shaking a baby too hard can lead to injuries.
Common colicky baby remedies include many of the soothing solutions listed above. An increasingly popular method for soothing colic naturally is baby massage. Wait until at least 30 minutes after a meal to perform a message. Baby massages should be performed when your little one is calm, so many mothers choose to add a massage after a bath as part of their bedtime routine.
When your baby is calm, place them on a clean surface in their favorite position. You can remove their clothes down to a diaper or even get your baby completely naked (but maybe put down a towel just in case!). Rub some baby oil or lotion between your palms to warm it, then rub your hands gently over different body parts. You can soothe your palms gently down arms and legs, rubbing gentle circles on their tummy, and draw gentle shapes on their back. Follow your baby’s lead to find the movements they enjoy and bring them comfort.
A trained professional, such as a chiropractor can also help identify and train you on additional movements specific to your baby’s needs.
Common colicky baby medication includes gripe water and probiotic drops. These treatments help your baby pass gas, which can occur if your baby has swallowed too much air. They may also help your baby digest their meal faster, reducing the reflux reaction.
Many mothers swear by colicky baby medication, and most options are natural and safe for infants. If you prefer to avoid medication, a chiropractor can often use and teach you calming movements to help ease your baby’s digestive pains.