Family And Parenting: How To Handle A Colicky Baby

A baby might have colic for a variety of reasons, but parents should remember that colic will eventually disappear.

A colicky baby can try even the most patient parent. The condition of colic perplexes both parents and the medical profession in general. There is no specific reason for the cause of colic, and there is not a definitive cure.

What is colic? The basic definition of a colic is when a baby consistently cries for three or more hours on a daily basis. Some babies cry longer, and some babies may not cry as long. Babies with a severe case of colic may cry all day long, stopping only when they eat or fall asleep. Colicky babies typically cry, however, in late afternoon and early evening.

A baby might have colic for a variety of reasons. Some babies have a more difficult time digesting their milk. Your pediatrician may decide to change your baby's formula. If a baby is lactose intolerant, you may need to switch to a soy based formula. Sometimes, simply burping your baby several times during her feedings may help to relieve any gas pains she may develop. If you are breastfeeding, you may be ingesting something that is upsetting her tummy, also.

Digestion may not be the cause, however. Some babies just have a more difficult time adjusting to life outside of the womb. Too much stimulation may be the reason that a baby has crying spells. She may respond better to a quieter environment. You could try dimming the lights and singing softly to her. You could also play soft lullaby music in her room.

Some babies just need to be held more than others. You might want to invest in a baby sling or front pack and carry your baby close to your body. She may settle down if she can hear your heart beating, much like she did in the womb. You will not spoil your baby if you hold her a lot. In fact, she may become much calmer and less demanding if you respond to her needs in this way.

Another relaxing way to calm your baby is to administer infant massage. Be sure the room is warm, and then remove your baby's clothes. You may leave on the diaper if you wish. Massage her arms, legs, back, tummy, and head. Use soft, slow motions. Be firm, but don't squeeze too hard. If your baby only becomes more irate, however, you may want to stop the massage.

While some babies love to be held, others are the exact opposite. If your baby doesn't respond to your touch, maybe he just needs to be placed in his bed, infant carrier, or swing. Some babies cry to simply relieve stress. Your baby will not harm himself by crying, and if everything else fails, you shouldn't feel guilty about putting him down.

Other babies respond well to movement. Parents have been known to place their baby in an infant carrier or on a baby blanket. They then place him on the clothes dryer. The rhythm and the warmth of the dryer may lull your child to sleep, but do not leave your child unattended. Even a newborn can move enough to possibly fall off and risk severe injury. Be sure you hold onto your child!

Infant swings can be lifesavers for parents of colicky babies. Be sure and strap your baby into the swing to prevent any accidental falls. If all else fails, strap your baby into her car seat, and take her for a ride.

Although taking care of a colicky baby can be trying, parents should keep in mind that their child won't always have colic. Colic typically peaks at around six weeks of age and usually abates by the time a baby is three or four months old. Until then, do the best you can. If you and baby have had a particularly hard day, be sure and take some time for yourself while someone else takes care of the baby. Babies grow so fast, so keep in mind that this period of time will not last forever!

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