When the witching hour becomes the witching days and nights, it's time to bring in the experts. Colic, defined as a condition in children between three weeks and three months old that causes them to cry for three hours a day at least three days a week, can be trying on new parents as well as their tot. While there's still no known cause of colic, doctors may be coming close to a remedy. I spoke with Dr. Bob Sears about techniques parents can use to calm a colicky baby, and he revealed a new treatment he's finding success with in his own patients. Check out our interview above!
Feeling overwhelmed by all the products on the market for new babies, and wondering which are truly essentials that other moms swear by? Aside from safe cribs and car seats, Circle of Moms members say these 10 baby products are the must-haves they couldn’t have lived without.
1. Baby Sling or Carrier
From Moby wraps to Mei Tais, baby slings and wraps earn high praise from moms for enabling hands-free carrying. As Stasia K. shares of her Ergo Baby Carrier, “My daughter has spent half of her life in it and LOVES IT. From there she can safely see and learn from the world around her while I have two free hands to do the housework, walk the dog, make dinner, etc.”
2. Bouncy Chairs and Swings
“I don't know what I would do without my bouncy chair,” says Mallory C., one of countless moms who say swings, bouncers and rockers were essential for entertainment and sleeping. Melissa S. remembers: “I was SO grateful to have a baby swing, that's the only way I could get her to sleep for the first 6 weeks.”
3. Boppy Pillow
This wildly popular U-shaped pillow is one of the most beloved baby products around. Amanda C. explains its multipurpose allure: “I found it so useful for breastfeeding, for keeping baby elevated after feeding when he was a newborn, (and for) extra support when my little brother held my son. When he got older he would sit in it (in case he fell back) to play, and sometimes nap in it! I love the Boppy.”
4. Swaddling Blankets
“Baby swaddling blankets are wonders,” advises Natashia M. “Especially for fussy babies.” While some moms are partial to certain fabrics, features and brands (as in flannel, Velcro or Miracle Blankets), the general consensus is that swaddling blankets are simply amazing.
5. Nipple Cream and Nursing Pads
6. White Noise
Whether it's a machine that emits ocean waves, heartbeats and "womb sounds," or the radio turned to hushed static, some kind of white noise maker is a must-have for many new moms. Denise T. shares: “My husband just burned a CD from the Internet and we just used a CD player on repeat, works like a charm.”
7. Breast Pump
A high-quality pump is a must-have for many breastfeeding moms, especially those who work outside the home. As Stephanie F. advises: ""I know it may seem expensive - but a GREAT breast pump will save you time, money and frustration!" Hannah H. agrees: “Do invest in Medela or another hospital-grade one."
When colic and gassiness strike, moms like Jessica H. say Mylicon is incredibly helpful: “MYLICON!! Oh my Gosh, I have a gassy baby! This is without a doubt my number one item.” (See also 9 Essentials for a Nursery First-Aid Kit).
9. The Hooter Hider
“I don’t leave the house without my Hooter Hider,” admits Kelly M., and she's far from the only one. Many moms love how this nursing cover allows discreet breastfeeding in public. Karen S. agrees, calling it “an absolute essential for nursing.”
10. Lots of Burp Cloths
Candace C.’s one must-have baby item? “8 billion baby face cloths." The truth is, you're going to need something (make that a lot of somethings) to wipe up the steady stream of drool and spit up that babies so expertly produce. As Alison W. advises, “You can't have too many little cloths!!!”
Lots of moms like to think out loud and CherylDee is one of them. In the latest post to her From Lipsticks to Baby Bottles blog, she details the latest hurdle she's overcoming with her newborn. Here's an excerpt.
A couple of days ago, we went to KK Women's and Childrens Hospital because Kiara was crying non-stop for 2 hours straight. It really broke my heart to see her cry that way. Usually I'm fine when she cries for any other thing, but seeing her tears and the pain in her eyes, was just unbearable.
We were actually trying to put her to sleep, and then out of no where, started crying uncontrollably! For some reason, we totally forgot to swaddle her, that actually helps a whole lot, but it just slipped our minds, we tried gripe water too but to no avail. Sham then decided what the heck, we'll just go to the hospital. We ended up staying at the hospital till 5am! Doc gave us some drops to help with her colic, and so far so good. She's gone to bed every night without ballin' her eyes out. I can't wait till she passes 4months. They say colic is the worst in their early months.
Want to see the rest of the update about Kiara? Keep reading. Start following From Lipsticks to Baby Bottles to see more, or start your own OnSugar blog. It's easy, it's free, and we just might feature your content on our site!
If your new baby cries excessively or inconsolably, you may be dealing with colic, which affects up to 20 percent of newborns, usually in the 3-12 week age range. Doctors haven't agreed upon a cause or cure, but that hasn’t stopped our moms from discovering a slew of strategies that soothe and relieve the discomfort a colicky baby experiences—not to mention the fraying of parental nerves.
Don't tear your hair out; instead, try some of the ideas in the list below, where we’ve rounded up twelve of the most common techniques shared by Circle of Moms members.
- Baby MassageBaby massage moves that apply gentle pressure to the stomach can sometimes help a colicky baby pass gas. Helen B., whose daughter had colic, recommended one popular technique: “I would place a small cushion from the couch on my lap and then lay her tummy-down across it with her knees hanging off the side of my leg. Then I would rub her back quickly in a circular motion.” Other successful strategies involve moving her baby’s legs: “Laying her on her back and grasping her feet with one hand, I would raise her feet up and towards her face. This would cause her knees to bend in towards her tummy. I would do this as well as gently rock her from side to side, using her feet kind of like a steering wheel.”
- Motion and VibrationCars, strollers, swings, vibrating chairs...all kinds of motion may help soothe a colicky baby. Nancy C. shared: “My daughter was colicky until she was 6 months old... she cried non-stop all day and night. We finally ended up putting her in a swing and the motion helped calm her down.” And as Chrystal C. notes, walking can soothe both baby and parent: “Likely the movement of the stroller will lull the crying baby…Walking is great for your endorphins as well, and can relieve some of that stress.”
- Burping CompletelyVery thorough burping may calm colicky babies. Della M., whose second child had colic, suggests: “Try taking longer—sometimes much longer—to get all the air out. Hold him upright against you and rub and pat his back. Sometimes he will let loose with such a burp it is shocking. Burp halfway through the feeding and again right after.”
- Gripe WaterCountless moms swear by gripe water as a colic cure. Cassidy H. recalls: “When my daughter was colicky, we tried gripe water. It worked miracles! We just put it in her bottles…you can get it at Walgreens or probably any other pharmacy.”
- 5. Repetitious SoundsHair dryers, clothes dryers, white noise machines, fans, running water… all kinds of repetitious sounds may be the magic solution for a colicky baby. Additional ideas from Krista S. include “saying ‘shhhhh’ lightly in her ear, humming as you hold her next to you…laying her over your heart so she can hear your heartbeat, or even a stuffed animal that plays ‘sounds from the womb.’” Meanwhile Kathy G., a mother of five, is one of several moms who swear by another household appliance: “The thing that finally helped me with my colicky daughter was the vacuum cleaner. I would leave it plugged in, and when she started to cry I would turn it on and she would stop like a miracle!"
- SwaddlingSwaddling a colicky baby can provide comfort by making her feel warm and secure. Karla D., a mother of two children, advises: “Try taking a blanket and putting it in the dryer for a few minutes to warm it up and wrap him in it.”
- Body ContactSeveral moms advised that close, continued body contact helped soothe their colicky babies. As Monique M. recalled: “Holding him close and tight while walking around with him helped to release gas.” If you have more than one child or need to get things done around the house, a hands-free wrap, sling, or baby carrier will enable you to attend to everything at once.
- ProbioticsRecent studies have found evidence that probiotics may soothe a colicky baby. Mandie S. concurs: “My pediatrician suggested a probiotic...it's called BioGaia! It's a miracle worker. My baby had colic really, really, really bad and after two days of giving her five drops in a little bit of formula or breastmilk...she was sleeping through the night and a happy baby.”
- Medication“I tried the Mylicon drops," shared Kisha D. "Worked like a charm." Many Circle of Moms members successfully soothed colicky babies with medications ranging from Mylicon and Infancol to stronger drugs prescribed by their pediatricians.
- Change Your DietSeveral breastfeeding Circle of Moms members found that eliminating commonly irritating foods from their diet (such as milk, citrus, caffeine and chocolate) improved their colicky babies' conditions. Mother of two Jen. L shared: “I found that I needed to keep a food diary to figure out what upset my baby.”
To rule out a dairy allergy, Joleen C. recommends: “If you are breastfeeding, stop eating milk products and drinking milk. If you are using a formula, try a soy-based one instead. This made all the difference in the world for me.”
- Switch Formulas or BottlesSeveral moms, including Denise C., found that switching to a senstive formula like Nutramigen was succesful: “Within 24 hours it made a big difference. She's been on it for three weeks now and her crying episodes have decreased in frequency and duration.”
Meanwhile Alisa N. found switching bottles helped soothe her colicky son: “Dr. Brown's bottles are the best thing you can find. It was wonderful. His gas drops were only needed at night and then he actually slept almost through the night and he used them until he was off the bottle. They have different sizes and nipples.”
- Relax“The best thing you can do for your baby is to keep calm,” shared Sivuyisiwe V. “It’s painful and frustrating to see her in pain, but she can sense your frustration and she cries more not only from the pain but you’re your emotional state.”
Babies can sense your tension, so it's important to escape once in a while, whether that means going outside for a few minutes of fresh air or calling in a family member so you can take a breather. And of course, as Missy W. advises: “Remember that colic isn't something that lasts forever. It DOES run it's course and IT WILL end."
Looking for more advice on colic or other infant conditions?
Whether you're looking for information on cradle cap, eczema, GERD, or diaper rash, Circle of Moms has countless conversations on all kinds of baby conditions and illnesses. While you should always consult your pediatrician when your baby is ill, connecting with other moms who have gone through similiar experiences can be a great comfort too!
Babies are constantly in motion for the nine months before they enter the world, so it's no wonder that they crave movement once they're out of mommy's tummy. Rocking in a nice comfy glider is lovely, but it doesn't always do the trick. Get up and soothe your newborn with these eleven movements that are a sure way to calm a crying child — proving once again that parenting is not for the weak.
All babies cry, but parents who have a colicky baby, defined as a child between three weeks and three months old that cries for three hours a day at least three days a week, may have a hard time coping. According to a new study released in the July issue of Pediatrics, dads-to-be who are depressed throughout their partner's pregnancy may be responsible for the crying babes. It said:
Paternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy might be a risk factor for excessive infant crying. This finding could be related to genetic transmission, interaction of a father with lasting depressive symptoms with the infant, or related indirectly through contextual stressors such as marital, familial, or economic distress.
The study followed 7,600 babies and their parents, screening the couples halfway through their pregnancies and two months after the births. In cases where the expectant father was found to be depressed, there was a 1.29 percent higher risk of the baby exhibiting excessive crying. Though the researcher has said that the study is not definitive, the results are interesting.
Too many parents are familiar with the wretched screams a child makes when diagnosed with colic. For ages, children have been labeled colicky when no other term would fit a fussy baby. Melinda Beck from the Wall Street Journal presents another option that distraught parents may want to note.
For infants who spit up constantly, stop gaining weight, vomit blood or refuse to feed at all, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may be a diagnosis. Instead of, or sometimes in addition to, treating a babe for colic, many doctors are prescribing acid–reducing drugs to tots suffering from GERD. Not surprisingly, there are some who believe doctors are throwing the term GERD around too loosely.
To see what one pediatric gastroenterologist's point of view is on it, read more