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Thread: Helpful Hints for Colic Babies
10-08-2007, 03:36 PM #1KellyGuest
Helpful Hints for Colic Babies
Reflux and Colic Home Remedies and Treatments
There are many "remedy" products on the market to ease colic and
reflux symptoms, such as gas drops and gripe water. Those can be
beneficial for easing immediate symptoms but we believe in
eliminating the actual cause of the problem. Many things can cause a
baby intestinal discomfort, or trigger fussiness, colic or reflux.
Before introducing a foreign substance into your baby's already
delicate system try these simple lifestyle changes.
Please note this is not medical advice. It is intended for
educational purposes only. Just as every child is different, so is
every treatment. What may help one child may worsen symptoms in
Because colic and fussiness are frequently caused by undiagnosed and
often silent reflux (meaning the baby refluxes but does not spit up),
these home remedies may also be helpful for easing colic and
Breastfeed your baby
Nurse your baby on his left side on an angle of at least 30 degrees
and with a totally straight spine.
Minimize forceful letdowns.
Be sure to finish the first breast before switching sides.
Nurse on one breast for at least 2 hours before switching if your
baby wants to constantly nurse.
Alter your diet for a trial period of several weeks.
Avoid offering your baby formula as a means to end fussy behavior.
If your baby is on a nursing strike or seems to be more uncomfortable
than usual check with your pediatrician to be sure that the
medication dose he is on is still appropriate for his weight.
Give your baby smaller, more frequent feedings that are easier for
him to digest.
Burp your baby thoroughly.
Avoid exposing your baby and yourself to cigarette smoke.
Keep your baby upright for 20-30 minutes after each feeding.
Keep from stimulating your baby for 20-30 minutes after each feeding.
The motion of a swing after feeding may help keep the milk down.
Baby is more likely to reflux when on his back or in a sitting
Elevate the head of the crib and changing station by 30 degrees.
Change your baby's diaper before feeding.
Avoid putting your baby in tight diapers and clothing that put
pressure on his tummy.
Avoid putting your baby in any seat (bouncy or car) that causes him
to slump right after feedings.
Carry or hold your baby often.
Don't neglect yourself.
Is that cute, cuddly new baby driving everyone wild with howls,
screams and shrieks of discomfort? Welcome to the wacky, nerve-
racking presence of a colicky kid. When the pediatrician says a baby
has colic, he's using a term that describes frequent attacks of
abdominal pain that may originate in the infant's intestines.
Though a baby with colic may cry to the point of exhaustion, the pain
may be as upsetting to parents as to the child. The cause of colic is
not definitely known, but sometimes the attacks are associated with
hunger or swallowing air. Occasionally the attacks end when the baby
passes gas or has a bowel movement.
Colic tends to be worst when a child is three weeks to three months
old. It usually ends spontaneously, without any special help from
parents, within five months. But during that time, here are some ways
to encourage a colicky baby to simmer down.
Try a hum drum. Try anything that creates a low-level humming in the
background: Running a vacuum cleaner, a dishwasher or another
appliance can help calm Kid Colic.
Get a fish tank. "Some parents got an aquarium filter and put it in
their baby's room," says pediatrician Ronald G. Barr, M.D., director
of Child Development at Montreal Children's Hospital in Quebec. "The
sound of the bubbles going through the filter helped quiet their
Put baby next to the washer. "For years, parents have been taking
their colicky babies for a drive to soothe them--and it really
works," adds Dr. Barr. But he points out that any movement that's
soothing can help. So here's a variation.
Put your baby in his infant seat, fasten him securely, and place the
seat next to the washing machine or dryer while it's in operation,
suggests Helen Neville, R.N., a pediatric nurse at Kaiser Permanente
Hospital in Oakland, California. For this to work, the seat must be
touching the appliance, so the baby can feel the vibrations.
Is It Colic--Or a Protein Reaction?
Sometimes a baby who seems to be colicky is actually having an
allergic reaction to protein, says pediatrician Ronald G. Barr, M.D.,
director of Child Development at Montreal Children's Hospital in
Quebec. Protein is contained in formula as well as in breast milk, so
a baby may have a reaction even if he is fed formula. According to
Dr. Barr, only 3 to 5 percent of babies have this allergy, so it's
To find out whether this is the problem, your pediatrician may want
you to switch the baby to a protein-treated formula: The protein
is "broken down" chemically, so allergic babies won't react. If there
is no change in symptoms, you can always go back to regular formula
or return to breast milk (if you've been expressing milk during the
To Feed or Not To Feed?
In the past, some doctors have suggested that babies should not be
fed during a colic attack. But a growing number of doctors believe
that food is the best thing for a colicky baby. "There's a lot of
debate, but I think you should feel free to feed the baby as
frequently as you wish," says pediatrician Ronald G. Barr, M.D.,
director of Child Development at Montreal Children's Hospital in
Quebec. "When a baby is fed, he's not crying because he's eating, and
in cultures where babies are fed three or four times an hour, there
is little colic. So I suggest trying to feed your baby during a colic
Use some pressure tactics. Take a hot water bottle and place it in
the baby's crib. Then put a towel over the bottle and place the baby
so that his head and feet drape over the bottle and his belly is on
For some babies, "the warmth and pressure of the hot water bottle
appear to help a lot," says Birt Harvey, M.D., professor of
pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford,
Schedule baby's playtime. Keeping a log of your child's episodes will
help you recognize the times when baby is more agitated. "You can
schedule specific playtimes to keep the baby happy, so he'll be less
likely to have crying fits," says Becky Luttkus, head instructor at
the National Academy of Nannies of Denver.
"Keeping a calendar can also help you discover a pattern as well as
aid your physician with data he might need," says Dr. Barr.
Give plenty of TLC. Snuggling is good medicine for crying babies,
whether the sobs are caused by colic or something else. "Anything you
can do to keep the baby calm and happy certainly helps," says Dr.
Barr, who has studied the effects of snuggling on crying infants.
One of the best ways to soothe your child is to pick him up, hold him
and cuddle him.
Home Remedy Treatments for Colic
Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true ways of helping to soothe
your baby, even if you can't curb his or her crying completely. These
are included in the home remedies that follow. Another important
component to the well-being of your colicky baby and to you is your
sanity. So some of the tips below are designed to help you cope.
Set the baby in motion. As most parents can attest, mild repetitious
motion, such as that of a moving car or a rocking chair, can calm a
cranky baby, knowledge that is doubly important with a colicky child.
If taking the baby out in the car is too inconvenient, put the child
in a safety seat on top of a running dryer (but never leave the baby
There are also devices on the market that will rock or vibrate the
baby's crib. Some have sound sensors that will start the motion only
when the baby starts crying and will stop after it senses that the
baby has calmed down or gone to sleep. One device even simulates the
motion of a car moving at 55 miles per hour. Some physicians find it
effective, while others feel that it makes little difference.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Colic may result from fatigue, so it's important to let your baby
Let the baby sleep. Many parenting books and pediatricians would have
you believe that you should pick the baby up every time he or she
cries, but keep in mind that infants often cry because they are
tired. In such cases, picking up the child only stimulates him or her
further, which could lead to more tears. Hard as it may be to follow,
the best advice under those circumstances is to leave a crying baby
To assess whether your child is crying because of fatigue, try
everything else first: feeding, burping, changing, cuddling, checking
for signs of illness such as fever. Then, if the baby is still
crying, put him or her down to sleep, and walk away. Often, the child
will settle down within a few minutes.
Stay calm. If your baby's marathon crying drives you to the brink of
insanity, remind yourself that colic is not a serious medical problem
that threatens his or her health. With that knowledge in mind,
understand that this is just a stage in your child's development,
albeit an unpleasant one, that will soon pass.
Take your baby off cow's milk. Some studies have shown an improvement
in colic after dairy products have been removed from the baby's diet.
The culprit seems to be a protein in cow's milk, which is present in
many infant formulas and in the milk of breast-feeding mothers who
eat dairy products. The protein may be responsible for colic in about
5 to 10 percent of babies who suffer from the condition. Changing the
baby's formula (there are many soy-based formulas available) or
staying off dairy products yourself if you are breast-feeding, is
worth a try. If your baby's crying does not seem to improve after two
weeks, you can assume that the milk was not the problem.
Add fiber to your baby's formula. Some studies have suggested that
colic may improve in certain infants when fiber is added to their
formula. In these studies, researchers added Citrucel, a bulking
agent that draws water into the stool, to the babies' formula.
Anywhere from one-half teaspoon three times a day to one-half
teaspoon six times a day seemed to do the trick. Start by adding
small amounts of fiber to the formula, and build up to higher doses.
Although not the answer for every baby, adding a little fiber is safe
and worth a try.
Take a shower. If your baby's crying has driven you to the point of
near madness, it's time to stop and take a break, since an overly
frustrated parent is no help to anyone. A long, hot shower will relax
your shattered nerves, while the sound of running water can mask the
baby's crying. (Be sure the baby is in a safe place, such as a crib.)
Keep a calendar. A record of your baby's weight and the frequency and
length of crying bouts may be of help in tracking his or her
progress. It can also be a handy record to take to the pediatrician's
office. A useful bonus: While it may seem like your baby cries all
the time, charting will remind you that he or she takes breaks now
Soothe, don't stimulate. Some crying, colicky babies may be overly
stimulated, so try soothing the infant instead of bouncing or rocking
him or her. Some time-honored tools: a hot-water bottle, filled with
warm, not hot, water and placed on a towel on the child's back or
stomach; a pacifier; or repetitious sounds, such as the noise of a
fan or humidifier.
Be realistic. You know those happy, smiling babies that you see in
magazines and books? Count your blessings if your baby manages to
resemble one of those glowing cherubs for a few minutes each day and
try not to be discouraged or concerned the rest of the time: Your
baby is not abnormal just because he or she cries a lot.
Maintain as much direct contact as possible. Pediatricians often
recommend carrying and cuddling a colicky baby as much as possible.
However, studies have failed to show that carrying actually causes a
reduction in crying. On the other hand, carrying the baby frequently
before colic ever sets in may prevent the condition from developing
in the first place. In one study, caretakers of 99 normal infants
increased their carrying of the infants by the age of three weeks.
The result? The babies cried 43 percent less than other babies of the
same age. The crying peak never seemed to occur in the infants who
were carried. Furthermore, studies of a tribe of hunter-gatherers in
Botswana, the !Kung San, found that their infants cry as often as
North American babies, but only for about half as long. That may be
because mothers in the tribe spend significantly more time with their
babies held close to their bodies than North American mothers do.
Feed more often. One reason that the !Kung San spend so much time
holding their babies is that they feed them almost continuously,
approximately four times per hour, four minutes per feeding.
Researchers speculate that this approach to feeding may be partly
responsible for the reduced crying of the !Kung San infants. Even if
continuous feeding does not fit into your schedule, adding a few
extra sessions per day may still help. And don't worry that you're
feeding the baby too often. Doctors say a normal schedule can include
Put your baby on a schedule. Some children cry excessively because
they simply don't know how to calm themselves down enough to go to
sleep. Since babies under 12 weeks old often fall asleep while being
fed, it is sometimes difficult for them to fall asleep when they
aren't feeding. Start your little one on a regular schedule of
sleeping and waking, and try to get him or her to fall asleep without
your assistance. Establishing a simple bedtime (or naptime) routine
or ritual may serve as a cue and help your baby transition from
wakefulness to sleep without a crying fit in between. For example,
each night, you might first change the baby's diaper, then sing a
lullaby or two while you cuddle together in the rocking chair, and
finally set the baby in the crib just before he or she drifts off to
sleep. The baby may fuss a bit at first but will eventually get the
hang of falling asleep in the crib rather than while feeding or being
Touch base with your pediatrician. Having a colicky child can be
discouraging, so take advantage of all support systems available to
you. Your pediatrician can be an invaluable source of ideas,
experience, and reassurance.
Wait it out. Until someone comes up with a cure for colic, the best
advice is simply to hang in there. Take solace in the fact that colic
generally stops by three months of age. The longest you'll have to
wait is until the baby reaches six months, although colic rarely
lasts even this long.
Kelly in IL