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Tips to surviving Colic

  • Ask for help. A screaming baby can wear down anyone's nerves. And crying that goes on for hours on end can be stressful and exhausting, leaving you feeling flattened and incompetent. Seek help from friends and family, so that you can have a break and keep your sanity. Even a shower and an undisturbed meal can lift your spirits.

      

  • Change scenery or go outside. The distraction will be good for both you and your baby. It may take your baby's attention away from the reason they were crying, and screaming outside never seems as loud as inside a house.

  

 

  • Take your baby for a walk in the pram. The outdoors, exercise and motion of the pram could calm both you and your baby.

      

  • While feeding, burp your baby often. For example when breast feeding, burp your baby approximately every 5 minutes, and if bottle feeding after every 30-50mls. That way you prevent the gas from becoming trapped and causing your baby great discomfort.

      

  • Keep a Colic diary. This should include everything from food you ate, to activities in the day, how your baby ate and slept, how you calmed your baby, colour and smell of urine and stool, and then timing of the Colic episodes; so that you can try and link the trigger to the crying. This will be useful for both you and your baby's doctor to try and help your baby.

      

  • Try and keep stimulation to a minimum. The more visitors, outings, experiences your baby has in a day, the more likely they are to have a Colic episode at the end of the day. Their nervous system is immature and by bombarding them with new sounds, sights, and smells, (including Granny's perfume!), can overload their senses and can result in their inability to calm themselves down, culminating in a crying marathon. If you have a number of visitors at one time, rather hold your baby and let others look, as opposed to passing your baby round for everyone to have a cuddle. Each person has a different touch and smell and your baby's new senses have to try and take it all in, and process everything, which can be overwhelming for them.

      

  • Try to stay calm. Easier said than done, I know! But your baby can pick up on your emotions and tension, so the more tense and frustrated you become, the more upset your baby will become too. Just remind yourself that, despite the crying, this is just a developmental phase, that is not a medical condition which will threaten the health of your baby, however unpleasant, and it too shall pass.

      

  • Most babies thrive on routine, they like things to be predictable. This will also help your sanity in terms of what is coming next. A routine will also help to prevent your baby from becoming over tired, which can result in a resistance to sleep and more crying. There are a number of good books which help with establishing a routine, as well as Sleep and Routine Specialists, who will be able to help you to tailor make a schedule for your baby.

      

  • If things become too much, and you feel that you can't handle the crying anymore, or that you are scared you will harm your baby, put her in a safe place, like her cot, and walk away. Make sure your baby can come to no harm. Take a few minutes to calm yourself, take a shower or make yourself a cup of tea, and then once you have regained your strength and composure return to your baby. It would be more ideal if you could ask a friend or family member to relieve you for an hour or so, to allow you to regain strength to continue.

      

  • If you are feeling desperate, NEVER SHAKE your baby! This can lead to what is known as "Shaken Baby Syndrome" which can cause severe brain damage and in some cases death. As mentioned above, if you get to the point where you can no longer cope, walk away or phone a friend or your Health Care Practitioner.

      

  • Be aware that the additional stress of a Colic baby can be a contributing factor to post natal depression. If you are feeling down and unable to cope, contact your Health Care Practitioner for help and advice or contact the Post Natal Depression Support Association.

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The information in this article was reviewed for medical accuracy by, Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.