Colic, or uncontrolled crying in otherwise healthy babies, is fairly common, but there are certain things you can do to prevent or alleviate it, especially when you are breastfeeding. Here are some tips to help you get through it.
If you are breastfeeding:
Eliminate certain foods from your diet. Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks, eating spicy food and certain fruits & vegetables like cauliflower, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), broccoli and watermelon. Also, try to avoid dairy products.
Do not time feedings. Mothers all over the world have successfully breastfed babies without being able to tell time. Keep feeding the baby as long as he is actually getting milk from the breast, comes off himself, or is asleep.
Use breast compression to make sure your baby is getting a constant flow of milk and not just sucking. Note that a baby may be on the breast for two hours, but may actually be drinking milk for only a few minutes. In that case, the baby would have only consumed the foremilk which is relatively low in fat. Making sure your baby empties the first breast is important for him to reach the hind milk which is thicker and has the fats he needs. After emptying the first side, if baby still wants to feed, offer the other side. Do not prevent him from taking the other side if he is still hungry.
If the baby lets go of the breast on his own, it does not necessarily mean that he is finished. Babies often let go of the breast when the flow of milk slows, or sometimes when the mother gets a sudden milk ejection reflex that startles the baby. Try him again on that side; if he is not interested, switch sides. It may be that your baby is not getting enough milk from that breast.
Ensure proper breast latching as it may be that your baby is not getting enough milk.
If you are breastfeeding, empty one breast completely before switching to the other.
Cuddle your baby.
Keep your baby in motion. Gently rock your baby in your arms or in a baby swing. Take a walk with your baby.
Sing to your baby. A soft tune might soothe him.
Use gentle heat or touch. Give your baby a warm bath. Softly massage your baby, especially around the tummy.
How to burp your baby after feeding
Burping is done in between or after feedings.
The best time to burp the baby is before he starts on your second breast.
There is no need to overdo it – wind is not as big a problem as many people think.
Talk to your baby as you rub or pat. This will help them feel closer to you and get them used to listening to your voice.
Easy to do burping positions
Over the Shoulder:
This is the most commonly used position when burping since it’s the easiest to do. Put your baby in an upright position then pat his back gently. Make sure to support his head and neck. It would also be good to have a burping towel over your shoulder just in case he spits up.
Over the Lap:
Position your baby in a lying position with his back towards you. Lay him on your lap and gently tap his back until he burps. It would be more comfortable for baby if you place a pillow on your lap.
If you have done any of these positions and the baby still doesn’t burp after a few minutes, maybe he doesn’t need to burp so you need not worry.
A warning cry
Although all babies cry sometimes, there are times when crying may be a sign of illness. Watch out for any sudden changes in the pattern or sound of your baby’s crying. Often, there will be a simple explanation: for example, if you have been going out more than usual, your baby might simply be overtired. But if you think there is something wrong, follow your instincts and contact your doctor immediately.
Top tips to help comfort your colicky baby… and you
Snuggly wrap your baby in a light cotton blanket
Gently rock your baby either in your arms or on a baby swing
Gently massage your baby’s belly
Talk to your baby softly for reassurance
Give your baby a nice warm bath
Talk to your pediatrician for reassurance and advice
Take turns with your husband, family or friends in comforting your baby
Know that in addition to it being very common, colic is also temporary and will soon stop happening to your baby
Our team of experts is ready to answer your questions and support you on your journey from pregnancy to toddler hood. For more information and relevant advice, please contact us between 9am-6pm from Saturday to Thursday.