Surviving Colic: Soothing a Fussy Baby and Finding Moments of Relief
When it comes to parenthood, nothing quite prepares you for the challenges that may come your way. One of the most trying times for any parent is when their baby is suffering with colic. The relentless, constant crying, the sleepless nights, and the feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming. Having gone through this harrowing journey myself, I understand how tough it can be. In this post, I aim to share some insights, tips, and tricks that might help you navigate through this challenging phase and provide some relief to your little one.
What is Colic?
Colic is a condition characterized by excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well-fed. It typically starts around two to three weeks of age and can last until around four to six months old. The exact cause of colic is unknown, but it’s believed to be related to digestive issues or gas, since babies have immature digestive systems at birth.
Whatever the cause, parents of colicky babies have a unique challenge as they care for a baby who seems to be in pain, while watching their efforts to comfort their new little one fall short. It is heartbreaking, frustrating, and exhausting, and can even contribute to postpartum mental health challenges for the struggling new parents! We see you, sweet families fighting colic, and we’re here to help. Here are some helpful tips on surviving colic and comforting your sweet baby.
Tips and Tricks to Ease Your Baby’s Discomfort:
Wear your baby. There are an infinite number of baby carriers on the market – one to suit every mama and baby out there! Using a carrier to hold baby close will give them the contact they crave while allowing you to move around, hands free.
Go for a walk. The motion and fresh air will soothe your baby. The new scenery will distract them, and as an added benefit, walks are good for your mental health too, mama! You can even invest in a babywearing pullover to keep you both cozy, even in cool weather. Along the same lines, some babies are soothed by the motion of a car ride, so load that little one up and drive around the block. They may just fall asleep and give you the break you need!
Put pressure on baby’s tummy. Try laying baby across your lap, face down, so that your legs put pressure on their little belly. Then, gently rub their back to soothe them: the pressure on their belly can help to soothe their discomfort!
Try white noise. Using a fan with some volume, sitting baby’s bouncy chair near a running dishwasher or washing machine, or even using a white noise machine can help baby calm down when they’re upset!
Try a pacifier. While some babies are not inclined to take a baby, it can be very comforting to others! The sucking action even releases feel-good hormones for your little one. Pacifiers can be a huge help to a colicky baby and a tired mama!
Step away. If you find yourself getting agitated, frustrated, or angry, remember that is normal. Motherhood is HARD! If you begin to get upset, set baby down in their crib and allow yourself a few moments alone. Remember, baby is safe in the crib. While they may continue to cry, allow yourself to take a few moments to decompress. You can do this by asking a relative or friend to tap in, putting in earbuds and listening to a soothing song, or just going into the bathroom and turning the fan on. Give your nervous system a chance to regulate before you go back in and pick baby up again. Of course, limit the time away from baby to a few minutes unless you have help from a loved one!
Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Patience and persistence are key. It’s also important to take care of yourself during this time! The stress and exhaustion of dealing with a colicky baby can take a toll on your well-being. Make sure to ask for help, and do not suffer in silence. If you feel your mental health may be declining, speak to a medical professional or a loved one and seek out help. It’s not you, mama. Motherhood is hard, and for some mamas the challenges unfortunately start with colic. You can also seek support through Postpartum Support International via their website or their hotline: 1-800-944-4773 via voice call or text message.
Navigating through the challenging phase of colic is undeniably tough, but it’s essential to remind yourself that it is temporary. With patience, support, and the right strategies, you will find ways to comfort and ease your baby’s pain. You’re doing a great job, mama – and remember, you’re not alone.