A crying baby is common. In fact, it’s part of a baby’s normal development. However, if they cry at lot, it’s called colic. Specifically, if they cry and fuss a lot, or the spells last for a long time. This can start happening either when you baby is a few days old, or a few weeks old.
A classic symptom of colic, is when a baby is fussy and unsettled about feeding. So, a baby might feed hungrily only to be seem to be hungry again soon after. The opposite can also happen when your baby might not feed well because they’re fussing.
If you’re not sure how to help your colicky baby, here are some strategies that experts say can help soothe your baby.
Using the “Five S” strategy
The “Five S” strategy is said to mimic life inside the womb: which is why it’s so often recommended for babies with colic. Because by resembling their fetal experience, the strategy creates a sort of off switch for crying.
The “Five S” strategy is a simple series of ways to help stop your colicky baby from crying and fussing:
Swaddling is a great way to make your baby feel safe and secure. Wrap your baby’s arms snugly against their sides, making sure their legs are flexed and loose so their hips have room to move about.
According to doctors, by mimicking womb-like sounds you can make a baby sleep longer. Because, apparently, inside the uterus, the noises are louder than a vacuum cleaner. So, by using white noise or radio static you can actually help soothe your baby.
Another option is a recording of rain, of the sound of a hair dryer. For adults these noises may seem loud and not at all conducive to sleep, however babies often find them a comfort as the sound is roughly the same that they heard in utero.
A study in the journey Pediatrics found that babies who are held by their parents for roughly 16.5 hours per day cried half as much as babies who were only help for roughly 8 hours a day. By slowly and smoothly swinging your baby you can help to keep them calm.
During their first few months, babies have a strong sucking urge. By quickly satisfying that urge, a fretful infant can be calmed down. A pacifier can help soothe a colicky baby. Although it’s important to keep in mind that some breastfed babies may reject it, while others will latch on to the pacifier and find almost instant relief.
5. Side/stomach lying
The easiest position to have your baby in when they’re crying is lying on their side or stomach. To do this you’ll want to lie your baby across your forearm or lap with her head resting in your hand. Just keep in mind this is not an ideal position for them to sleep in.
Using the “Five S” strategy
As every baby is different, not all will respond the same way. Some babies may only need a pacifier to calm down, others may need a combination of swinging, swaddling and shushing. The extent of the fussiness will typically dictate how many of these strategies you’ll need to combine to help soothe a colicky baby.
When soothing your baby make sure you try each strategy for five minutes to get the most benefit our it. If, after five minutes, your baby is still crying, don’t worry, simple move on to the next strategy. Keeping doing this until you a find a strategy or combination of strategies that helps soothe your baby.
Other ways to soothe a colicky baby
Other options for soothing a colicky baby, range from:
- asking your doctor about probiotics
- experimenting with diet
- regular burping’s
- pacing back and forth with your baby in a carrier.
- Massaging your baby
It is important, when considering probiotics or changes in diet to consult with a doctor to ensure the change in diet on the addition of probiotics to a baby’s diet will help treat their colic. Since the exact cause is unknown, it’s best to let a doctor assess your baby and make a decision that way.
Soothing the baby: soothing yourself
Colic can be normal part of a baby’s development. It’s no one’s fault. During this trying time, it’s important to acknowledge your own feelings about your baby’s constant crying and realize that the feelings of frustration and resentment about the crying are normal—as long as you don’t act upon them.
Your baby will eventually grow out of this phase, and before you know it, they will be smiling and happy again. But in the meantime, employ the “Five S” strategy to help soothe your colicky baby and help them—and yourself—have a relaxing day.