Helpful Hints for Colic Babies

Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List Helpful Hints for Colic Babies

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      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.

      Thickened feedings.

      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

      colicky baby.”

      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

      relatively rare.

      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

      formula trial).

      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

      and then.

      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

      frequent feedings.

      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

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Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List Helpful Hints for Colic Babies