If your baby cries inconsolably for long periods every day, particularly at the same time each day, he may have colic. Researchers are still unsure of colic's exact cause, but some believe it's related to the immaturity of a baby's digestive system. Whatever the cause, colic is among the most exasperating conditions that parents of new babies face. Colic occurs only to newborn babies, up to about four to five months of age. Look for patterns in your baby's crying that can provide clues as to which suggestions are most likely to help. Then experiment with some of the ideas in this list:
- If breastfeeding, feed on demand (cue feeding), for nutrition as well as comfort, as often as your baby needs a calming influence.
- If breastfeeding, try avoiding foods that may cause gas in your baby, such as dairy products, caffeine, cabbage, broccoli and other gassy vegetables.
- If bottlefeeding, offer more frequent, but smaller meals; experiment with different formulas with your doctor or health care provider's approval.
- Hold your baby in a more upright position for feeding and directly afterwards.
- Experiment with when, and how often, you burp your baby.
- Invest in a baby sling or carrier and use it during colicky periods.
- Give your baby a warm bath.
- Hold your baby with her legs curled up toward her belly.
- Massage your baby's tummy, or give him a full massage.
- Lay your baby tummy down across your lap and massage or pat his back.
Elizabeth Pantley is a mother of four and the best-selling author of eight parenting books, including: The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The No-Cry Discipline Solution. Based in Washington, Pantley is the president of Better Beginnings Inc. (a family resource and education company). www.pantley.com