Do you have any hands on experience with a colicky baby or grandbaby? I raised three children to adulthood, had several nieces and nephews and 3 grandchildren, but I had no experience with colic. That is until my second grandson was born.
I have always struggled with what “colic” actually is. How does anyone really know what a tiny baby is experiencing? In my mind, they don’t, but it is generally thought that what we refer to as colic is a cramping abdominal pain.
With our grandson it all started at about 3 weeks of age. The poor little guy would cry inconsolably. As difficult as it is for the baby, it’s even more difficult for the parents. It adds a great deal of stress to the home at a time when you are already trying to adjust to this new little bundle of joy you’ve been blessed with, along with the many changes they bring.
And of course, babies with colic are nondiscriminatory, they don’t just reserve their crying for their parents, but they bestow it upon the grandparents, aunts, uncles and everyone else within earshot as well! My son and daughter-in-law were hesitant to leave my grandson because they knew how challenging he could be, but it’s so important that parents get some time away to get recharged.
Through the experience with our grandson we learned some things that you might find helpful in caring for your baby or grandbaby with colic. All babies are different and what works with one might not work with another, but I’ve put together a list of some things you can do to help console babies with colic. Parents of colicky babies should keep their pediatrician informed of the baby’s behavior as well.
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Ways to calm a colicky baby:
- Place your baby prone with his/her tummy over a covered hot water bottle, heated towel or covered heating pad. Be very careful not to get these things too warm for the baby’s delicate skin, just slightly warm will do!
- Some babies don’t like cold sheets! So try warming the baby’s sheet with a hot water bottle or heating pad before lying him or her down on it. Again, don’t over heat it!
- Gently massage your baby’s tummy.
- Carry the baby in what some refer to as the colic carry. It is placing the baby across your arm, with his/her face down and your hand under the abdomen applying gentle pressure.
- Some babies feel insecure when placed in a large crib. Try placing them in a smaller, soft, warm place such as a bassinet, portable crib or cradle. There are many more options available today than when my children were babies. And many of them provide movement as well as making the baby feel snug.
- Carry the baby in a front pack. These have greatly improved through the years also!
- Swaddling your baby snuggly in a soft receiving blanket makes them feel more secure. How to swaddle your baby:
- Fold down the top corner of the receiving blanket.
- Place your baby on the blanket with his/her neck near the fold
- Bring the blanket from the baby’s right side across his/her body and tuck the corner under the baby on the left side.
- Now bring the bottom of the blanket up to the baby’s chest.
- Bring the remaining corner of the blanket across the baby and tuck under his/her right side
- The baby should be snug, but not too tight. Allow room for the baby to move.
- Each baby is different and has different sucking needs as far as the amount of time they require doing so. We’re all familiar with the pacifier. If you haven’t offered it to the baby, give it a try. When the baby is a newborn you may need to rub the pacifier against the roof of the babies mouth to encourage them to suck on it.
- A rhythmic, monotonous noise helps some babies to sleep. It is thought that it simulates the intrauterine mother’s heartbeat or blood flow. There are baby sound machines and lullaby CDs available now that provide sounds such as these, or soothing lullaby’s.
- Movement often helps to settle babies. Moving is natural to many of us as soon as we pick up a baby. I know when I stand and hold a baby I’m always gently swaying side to side or kind of bouncing the baby. Rocking chairs provide movement too and how I love to rock my grandbabies! Some babies love car rides in their car seats, others not so much. Try taking the baby for a walk securely snuggled in his or her stroller.
- Place the baby on his or her tummy across your lap and gently bounce or sway your legs while rubbing or patting the babies back.
- Keep talking to the baby in a soothing voice.
- Use bottles that minimize how much air the baby swallows.
- Feed the baby smaller and more frequent meals, being sure to burp during and after feeding. Baby or grandbaby with colic & you don't know what to do? 14 things to try! #colic #crying… Click To Tweet
There are so many fantastic new things available for babies rather than the old traditional swings that were available to us. Check some of these out at Amazon to get an idea of what’s out there. There are many more to select from as well.
Basically babies cry when they are hungry, need to burp, have a wet diaper, feel cold or hot, tired or bored and sometimes overstimulated. And of course if they are sick or in pain. For our babies with colic, we just know that they cry much more than those without.
As grandparents we also know all too well how each child or baby is different because we have been through this before! It’s a matter of getting to know your own grandchild and his or her needs, likes and dislikes.
And like the rest of life, remember this too shall pass! When our grandson started being able to move about some on his own, the crying stopped and he became a happy, content little baby.
These are probably all things that you were already aware of, but sometimes a refresher is good. After all grandparents, don’t you agree, we have attained so many years worth of knowledge that at times it’s a little difficult to remember it all!
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