Coping with Colic
Babies cry. They cry when they're hungry, or tired; they cry when they need a diaper change or they're a little uncomfortable; sometimes they seem to cry for no reason at all. For the 20 percent of parents who have a baby with colic, crying can seem like the soundtrack to their lives. A colicky baby can cry for up to three hours straight without stopping, and it sometimes feels as if there's nothing that will soothe them. Are you struggling with a colicky infant? Don't despair. Most babies outgrow their colicky phase after a few weeks and are completely over it by the time they're a few months old. In the meantime, try these coping strategies to help get you through the worst of it.
- Ask for help. Even the most dedicated parents sometimes need a break -- and that's especially true when you've been dealing with a crying infant. Have a trusted relative or friend come over and give you a spell of relief to help you relax and rejuvenate.
- Talk to your doctor. Some colicky babies are actually suffering from acid reflux, which can make feeding times painful for them. If this is the case, their symptoms might be helped by medication or different feeding strategies (smaller meals, more frequent burping, etc.).
- Focus on sleep. It's exhausting being colicky! Most fussy babies aren't terribly great sleepers, either, and they need all the help they can get. Be sure to have a set bedtime and a solid, calming nighttime routine.
- Pay attention to your meal plan. Some colicky infants who are breastfed are more comfortable when their mothers eliminate certain trigger foods. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, such items include milk products, caffeine, onions, cabbage and other irritating food. Before starting an elimination diet, consult a registered dietitian to ensure you do not become nutrient deficient in the process. And remember: be patient if you're trying this one, as it can take a couple weeks to show improvement.