Colic has taken hold of our household and it damn well sucks! I have been taken by surprise with this one and as my first child never had these issues I feel like a novice Mum again, learning on the job. I have taken to social media to ask for advice and didn’t actually realise how many different remedies or ideas there were for tackling colic. I have tried some of these and not everything has worked for us but that isn’t to say those won’t for you which is why I won’t ever say do this or do that, the only thing you can do is try. Just try not to use them all at once because you won’t ever work out which is the remedy for your baby. A bit of trial and error may get you to the point of them being soothed for a time but I’m not entirely sure there’s anything that will completely eradicate colicky issues so please don’t think I have a magic formula… if I did I would be patenting it and becoming a millionaire!!
The usual signs of colic are wind, awful trapped wind and baby massage can be used to attempt to move this wind along. Don’t start to do this without learning how to do it correctly at a class though. There are areas that can make your baby more uncomfortable and pressing on the stomach can make things worse, especially if your baby also has reflux. A massage class will teach you which areas will help with colic but also what will relax them, what can help with teething and with sleep.
Lay your baby flat on their back and gently peddle their legs above their hips. This movement helps to increase the bowels activity and should move the wind along. Don’t try and force them if their legs are tightly in place, it can be difficult to get them to relax enough to get the right technique so try this alongside a bit of baby massage too. Newborns are harder to do this to because they are still in their tucked foetal position.
We’ve been seeing a cranial osteopath for around 5 weeks now and are gradually getting results. The osteopath works on the back of the baby’s head to manipulate the cranial fluid which can build up after birth. This build-up can press on a nerve that runs to the digestive system so the belief is that if you can release this you will be improving the function of the system and alleviating the colicky problems. Each time we have been, my baby has come out completely chilled. He is always asleep at the end with his arms above his head and he will stay like this for quite a while. As he was premature, we are finding he needs more sessions to keep the fluid moving but each time we go he has more better days than bad days.
Fennel tea is thought to relax the intestines and relieve wind. I first heard about this from my osteopath and as I have been at my wit’s end I decided I would give this a go too. I’m breastfeeding so the idea is that I drink the tea and it reaches the baby through my milk. I started by drinking 1 cup a day and was seeing a result in the day but not at night, so I increased my intake to 2 cups a day (1 morning, 1 evening) and it has definitely had some effect. The colic hasn’t completely gone but he has been far more relaxed and the wind has been easier to clear. If you are bottle feeding your baby you can buy fennel tea for them to consume like HiPP Organic Fennel Tea for babies.
There are plenty to choose from in the shops but it is a case of working out which will help your baby… and every baby is different! My first son had a little bit of wind and Infacol worked fine to ease this but my second baby is much worse and Infacol has only made him sick. We are trying colief drops but to be honest they are such a faff. If you bottle feed you have to apply the drops to the formula 30 minutes before you feed your baby. Do they not realise how much a baby will be crying for its milk?! And if you breastfeed you have to express some milk off into a sterilised pot, add the drops and then give it to them on a sterilised spoon. I haven’t had the patience to give these enough to see any results yet. The tiredness affects my ability to be organised now!
Teething granules contain chamomile to relax the baby when it is pain from teething but did you know this could also relax a baby with colic? Certain granules can be even be used from birth. I mention Weleda Chamomilla 3x Granules in my teething book as these are also suitable for vegans and do not contain lactose.
Nelson’s Colica Granules
New to the market are Nelsons Colica Granules which are a natural homeopathic remedy (for use in babies over one month old). I used their teething granules with my first son during his really unsettled moments (most of the time!) and I am very pro natural nowadays. I think we can end up pumping our little ones, and ourselves, full of drugs when there can be a simpler and gentler solution.
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Go Dairy Free
This was a remedy I was more reluctant to do. I decided that as I am breastfeeding it would be a huge deal to cut all dairy from my diet so I have gradually worked through some of the other remedies first to see what worked. A dairy intolerance/allergy can cause other symptoms too, such as spots, rashes, sickness, eczema, so if you are seeing these it is worth speaking to your doctor. If you are bottle feeding they can prescribe a dairy free formula.
Alter Your Diet
By this I mean in your own diet if you are breastfeeding. Foods such as citrus fruits, gassy veg such as cauliflower and broccoli, spicy food, nuts, dairy and caffeine. It may be worth keeping a food diary and noting how your baby is as you remove foods so you can work out which is the irritant.
Raise their Bed
Whether they are sleeping in a Moses basket, cot, pod or crib you can help your baby by raising one end slightly. Laying flat can cause more pain and can make reflux worse. You can raise them by placing books under one end or placing folded blankets under the mattress. Don’t use pillows or blankets directly under their head. You could also purchase a Reflux and Colic Pillow which is specifically designed to lay them at the correct angle and is breathable.
The main way to help your colicky baby is to comfort them. Yes, this means holding them a lot! You may begin to feel as though you can never put them down but feeling close to you, your body warmth, being comfort fed and held at an angle can all relax your baby and stop their crying and distress. A sling can be your best purchase here and I can highly recommend the Caboo because it is soft, has a variety of ways it can be worn and can be used from 5lbs in weight. Swaddling can also help, as can placing something that smells like you near them as they sleep.
It may seem like it is all going on forever but as I’ve been told countless times they do grow out of it and you should begin to see an improvement as they gain weight. I know that doesn’t help you now but I hope what does is the fact that you are not alone. Colic seems to come up time and time again these days, all you have to do is click into any parenting Facebook group to see this. Use these groups to talk, get out and see your friends, take a walk (the fresh air will do you both good) and try to leave the house as much as you can so you don’t go completely stir crazy! Believe me, I feel your pain…
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