Colic

Baby colic: What parents can do to handle the stress of colic

A baby with colic can cause tremendous stress for new parents. Operating on little sleep and unsure of how to make their children stop crying, a lot of parents snap. When you have a fussy little one, the most important thing is to realize when you are nearing the end of your rope and call in reinforcements - a neighbor, a friend, a parent. While you are still operating rationally, take care of your child's well-being.

Having a trusted friend or relative to relieve you when your stress level gets too high is important. Go for a 20-minute walk and unwind. Ask your neighbor to take your child for a brief walk while you meditate or take a mini nap. Re-energizing yourself is important.

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When you are with a child who has colic, an important step may be to uncover what is causing their upset. Some children may be lactose intolerant or have milk sensitivities. Consult your pediatrician and ask if you should change their formula. If you are breastfeeding, pay special attention to what you are putting in your body. Stay away from spicy foods and caffeine, which may be agitating your child.

Some children have colic because they have a difficult time adjusting to life outside of the womb. By removing excess stimulants, you may make your child calmer. Dim lights, reduce noise and speak gently. Some babies respond to a gentle massage to help relieve stress. Your touch calms them.

Know your child. Some children like to be held; others do not. When trying to comfort your child, be aware of their personality. Rocking a child or holding them until they fall asleep might calm them. If they don't care to be held, put them in a swing or in their crib and let them calm themselves.

One mom I used to know would run the vacuum cleaner. The constant buzz calmed her child. Another mom would wrap her baby up and set him on the washer during the spin cycle. The movement was calming for her son. The key is to find what works for your child.

Although your child may be colicky, it is important to realize that this is a temporary problem. Colic usually begins around six weeks old and can extend up to four months. As a parent, you may be stressed, but sometimes, there is nothing you can do to calm your child. Instead of driving yourself nuts, set them in their crib and let them cry. Opposed to common misconceptions, you are not a bad parent. You are not ignoring your child. You are not abusing them. And they will not hurt themselves by crying. Some children are better at calming themselves.

No matter what you do, never shake or hit your child or leave your child unattended. If you need help, ask.

By Molly Carter