Colic can be extremely unnerving for a new mother or caregiver. Many parents of babies with colic are frazzled and exhausted, and are desperate for help.
Colic is defined more by the symptoms that your baby is experiencing, rather than the cause. The reason for this is that there can be different reasons for colic with the end result of your baby crying inconsolably for over 3 hours a day. Twenty-five percent of babies born today exhibit some period of colicky behavior. Is your child one of them?
Most babies start exhibiting signs of colic at about 3 weeks of age, peaking in intensity at 6 weeks and usually ending by the time your baby is 3 or 4 months old. (Yes, there is an end to it!)
Since there is no basic cause for colic, unfortunately that means there is no basic cure either. Doctors seem to think that two factors cause colic: an immature nervous system and various medical problems.
Immature Nervous System
Over 90% of babies fall into this category. Babies are simply overstimulated by the amount of activity going on outside of the womb. Harvey Karp, M.D. has studied colic for quite some time now. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs to help parents cope with colic. In his book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, he suggests that to soothe your baby, you can follow the 5 S’s
- Swaddling – tight swaddling reminds the baby of being safe and secure in the womb.
- Side/Stomach position while holding her – place the baby on her left side or stomach while holding her. This aids in digestion and helps any tummy problems. When she falls asleep, you can put her on her back safely in her crib.
- Shushing sounds – This can be from you or from any white noise such as a vacuum, hair dryer, or fan. This imitates the continuous noise of the blood flow and amniotic fluid in the womb.
- Swinging – Many moms will tell you that a baby swing was their smartest purchase for baby gear. Babies are used to being swung all day in your womb as you walked about. Swinging your baby in a swing or your arms, or riding your baby in a car simulates that motion and calms baby.
- Sucking – Give your baby a bottle, breast, or pacifier to suck on. This releases natural chemicals in the brain that calm baby.
Learn more about soothing colic with Dr. Karp’s methods by clicking on The Happiest Baby on the Block
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