Colic is one of the hardest things a parent has had to endure with their babies. When your baby cries for hours together and you have no idea as to why they are crying or how to calm them down, it is only natural to feel that somehow you are at fault as a parent. So many questions run through your mind - is my baby in pain? Is my baby hungry or tired? Does my baby just want to sleep? Is my baby teething or is my baby just gassy?
Colic is generally not associated with pain. In fact, babies tend to get colicky due to overstimulation of their sensory nervous system. They are trying too hard to focus on a task and now they are just feeling stressed out. So, what they need is to know that everything will be alright.
The first thing you should do is to tell yourself to remain calm. Your baby may feel more comfortable knowing that everyone around - including their darling mummy - seems to be at peace. The next thing you can do is try and move their legs alternatively in a cyclic motion, with one leg toward the tummy and one away. By doing this, you may ease any gassy sensation that could be troubling your little one.
After this, you can gently rock them as you walk around and hum a soft tune whilst holding them close to your body. By maintaining a constant rhythm, you can get your baby to feel like everything is in control. If you have to run errands, take your baby with you. If you have to do the laundry, try putting your baby in a carrier and place him over the washing machine. The gentle vibrations of the machine will rock your baby and help to soothe them. Just make sure you stay nearby to catch them if they fall off.
If your baby still does not stop crying, don’t worry. There is still plenty more you can try out. Lay your baby down and gently massage them down from their chest to the bottom of their belly. When you are stressed you may have experienced the feeling of stiffness in your back or abdomen. You may sometimes feel a lump in your throat when you get emotional. Your baby may be curling over because of the stress and so, rubbing their belly will soothe them. Do this softly, gently and slowly so as to get them to breathe slowly.
You may rest them on your own body as you do this. Lie down and place your baby’s back against your chest. You may massage them yourself or you could ask your partner to massage them. This way your baby can feel your breathing patterns and this will help soothe him further.
Once you have made sure they are fed and that their diapers have been changed, take them to their crib and lay them down. Massage them with the gentlest feather-like touch. Swaddle them up and keep the fan on at a low speed. The sound of the fan blades turning could also calm your baby down. Make sure the room is dark to help them drift off to sleep.
Baby still hasn’t stopped crying? Worry not. Ask a friend or a family member to try their hand at calming your baby down. Leave them with the baby for a couple hours as you go off to run errands or to just relax for a bit. If there is nobody around to help then place your baby safely in their crib and step out for a breather. Walk around for a few minutes, come back and try again.
No matter what happens, just remember that it isn’t your fault and that your baby is just colicky right now. They will soon grow out of it and learn how to self-soothe. Until then, just hang in there and know that you are doing the best you can. :)