Colic. A word that was not really well known in my vocabulary until I had a baby. Some babies have colic, some babies don’t. It normally starts during the second or third week of life (later in preterm infants), and usually gets as bad as it’s going to get by 6 weeks. How do you know if your kid has it? Well, it’s all about the “rule of three”: atleast 3 hours of crying, at least 3 days a week, lasting for atleast 3 weeks. Granted, some babies go longer and some babies go shorter. To us parents, colic may feel as though it will never end, but it will typically start to taper off at 10-12 weeks. So don’t worry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
I was one of the lucky ones where like clock-work, 8pm would hit and the screaming cries would begin. It was the hardest phase in the beginning to go through because for the first time as a parent, you feel helpless. There is only so much you can do to ease your baby through this phase of, well, growth. Your child is growing at a rapid rate those first few months of life – I’m talking body, brain, stomach – everything. I mean, think about it. Wouldn’t you cry too? When I got this perspective, it actually became a matter of figuring out what remedy may work to help ease this phase. I had to take one night at a time because once you’d figure out one trick, it would end up not working the next night – so my colic “toolkit” is large. And lucky you – I’m going to share with you some tips that worked wonders for us and eased our little munchkin’s crying time down. After a while, you’ll take whatever you can get if it means your child is comfortable and able to sleep (and YOU’RE able to sleep too).
Tip #1: Gripe Water
This is the best thing ever and I’m convinced shortened our daughter’s crying time 98% of the time. My bestie recommended it to me and it was the best tool I had! If you don’t have some in your home, get it. If you haven’t had your kid yet – GET IT. It is calming and helps your child through any gas pains, hiccuping, teething, tummy discomfort, and was always the first thing I’d give to my daughter when the colic hour was upon us! I have tried all brands, they all work about the same (in my opinion).
Tip #2: Anti-Gas Drops
This was another item to have in our tool kit. Some days, I would give her some anti-gas drops throughout the day to try and get ahead of the colic at night and most days it would help relieve some of the gas pain. That being said, it was a toss up. Some days it would work and we would have a colic free night, other days it wouldn’t. Still a great thing to have on hand – even when they outgrow their colic phase. We use Mylicon because it was recommended by our pediatrician.
Tip #3: Chamomile Tea
Chamomile Tea was our go-to on nights that were really long and really hard. Our pediatrician fully approved giving up to (but no more than) 4oz in a day. Luckily, there were only 2 or 3 nights I can remember where a simple small amount of about 2 oz of warm and lightly brewed chamomile tea (with a 1/2 tsp of real sugar) were just enough to help with the discomfort and get her to sleep. This should ALWAYS be in your tool-kit – not just for colic – as chamomile is great for teething, gas, bloating, tummy aches, etc.
Tip #4: The Football Hold
My husband was the MASTER of this hold and there were some nights where it was the ONLY position our daughter was comfortable in. Daddy to the rescue! To achieve the clutch (or football) hold, see the picture to the left!
Tip #5: Change your diet
I was told by a bunch of moms in my breastfeeding group, that one way to help relieve colic was to change MY diet. Since whatever I was eating, she was eating through my breastmilk – it could be affecting her. Well, I can’t say that I liked it, but I took out Dairy and Wheat for 1 week, to see if it would do anything. My husband even joined me to make me feel better and provide some support! And sure enough, by the end of that week, it did seem to help. I mean, she DID NOT CRY! So, I went on a Dairy and Wheat free diet until she hit the 13 week mark. Is there any scientific data to this? I can’t find any decent studies, but I did talk to many other moms who did the same thing and they all had similar results. So, I do think there is something to this – I’d definitely try it if you’re running out of options and can’t stand the crying. Plus, I lost 6 pounds from cutting that crap out anyway – a win-win!
Tip #6: Call Your Mom
Look, there are going to be some nights where you are going to just have to let them cry it out. Nothing you do or give them may be able to help. Just breathe on those nights and call your Mom or a close friend. Cry. Talk about your frustrations. Sit in silence on the phone. Do whatever you need to try and get a release and a friendly reminder that you are doing a great job as a parent! This phase can make you feel like your failing, but remember, this is very common in newborns and you’re not the only parent going through this! YOU GOT THIS!
I hope some of these tips are helpful! Remember, every baby is different and what may work for one, may not work for another. Experiment. Ask other moms for advice. Breathe. And remember, colic is just a phase and this too WILL pass.