Usually colic is short-lasting for just a few months, but nevertheless it is an upsetting time for both you and baby. It is commonly believed that colic in young babies can be a result of digestive or feeding problems, which can be linked to swallowing air when feeding. Air can be ingested by baby when it enters the bottle and mixes with the milk, and also when baby ingests air while feeding from the teat.
Symptoms of colic to look out for
If a baby has an attack of colic, crying generally occurs at the same time every day (usually in the late afternoon or early evening). It seems like your baby is crying for no apparent reason, but they may also pull up their legs, be restless and fidgety, and clench their fists.
What you can do to help alleviate colic
If you are bottle feeding your baby, try a bottle with an anti-colic teat, such as vital baby® NURTURE™ breast like feeding bottle (R206.00 for a 2-pack 240ml bottles at Clicks). Designed to reduce the risk of baby ingesting air during feeding, our BPA-free bottles has:
- been expertly designed to mimic mum’s breast
- an advanced triple anti-colic valve to reduce air intake
- a silicone easy-latch teat which is soft and smooth against baby’s face
- a wide neck making them easy to clean and fill
Lying baby on his/her back in a quiet room or swaddling may also help, as may sucking on a soother or a bath.
Baby massage is a fantastic opportunity for you to not only bond with your baby, but also helps to strengthen the digestive system, so relieving common newborn ailments and discomfort such as wind, constipation and colic.
Justina Perry, pregnancy, new mum and baby wellbeing expert, and founder of MamaBabyBliss in the UK, has put together a short sequence of combined baby massage and baby yoga techniques that can help you settle your baby.
About half an hour before your baby normally has a crying period, begin by lying your baby on a mat. Try to create a soothing, calming, warm environment, with dim lights and as few distractions as possible. Keep any sensory stimulation to a minimum.
Undress your baby, but keep a vest on, as you may also have to pick your baby up and carry him or her around.
Begin with a soothing tummy massage. Make a few gentle circles around the belly button. Keep noise to a minimum, however, it can help to hum a lullaby. This will help keep you and the baby calm. Find a soothing, gentle pace and try to keep your body language and breathing as relaxed as possible.
Next using your handles as paddles, make a gentle flowing movement, gliding down the lower abdomen. Finally, make a gentle peddling movement with your baby’s legs. Repeat this little sequence and the tummy massage a few times during the day, as it will help strengthen the digestive system and so can help prevent the build-up of wind and tension in the baby.
If your baby begins to cry and will not be soothed by the massage, you can try and pick him or her up into our miracle baby yoga hold.
- Kneel with your baby on your lap, facing out.
- Put one arm across the chest, and the other arm through the legs.
- Now bring one knee up, then stand.
- Once you’re standing, gently tilt your baby forward, so her belly and chest are resting across your lower arms. Make sure both her arms are hanging over yours.
- You can gently rub her tummy. Some babies also find it soothing if you can gently rock your baby back and forth. Make sure your arms and shoulders are relaxed and change sides to prevent straining your shoulders.
- Walk around the room. Eventually you should feel the tension leave your baby’s body and he or she will relax in your arms.
Colic is very distressing for a parent. Take deep calming breaths, throughout and keep telling yourself, that this phase will pass and even though it is very distressing to hear your baby cry, there are no lasting repercussions for your baby.