Before having their baby, most parents spend 9 months dreaming of what it will be like to hold their sweet angel, cuddle them in their arms and peacefully rock them to sleep. They imagine all the smiles and coos they will receive, the fun they will have showing them off, and look forward to making sweet memories with their babe. What they don’t imagine, usually, is having to deal with an all too common issue: colic.
Call it what you will. Colic. Fussiness. Gas. Whatever seems to be the most accurate to your experience, a baby crying all the time is stressful. And exhausting. Luckily, it does not last forever. Infants DO grow older and turn into children who do NOT cry all the time.
But in the meantime, how is a tired parent supposed to cope?!
Well, I asked some of my friends to share their favorite methods for surviving their fussy baby, and here is what they said worked for them! (Disclaimer: I am not promoting one technique over another, nor have I tried them all. Instead, I am sharing with you the feedback I have received. Please do your research before trying anything.)
1. Dr. Harvey Karp’s Book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”
If you have not heard of this method, it is by far my favorite thing for any new parent to know for soothing babies as a mom of three. In this method, Dr. Harvey Karp teaches parents how to use the Five S’s (swaddle, shush, side/stomach position, swing, and sucking) to initiate the calming reflex. I have both his book and his video and love them!
2. Changing the Food the Baby Receives
The food an infant eats is probably the most significant thing that can affect their mood and crying. If a baby seems fussy after meals, it is a great idea to try and alter their diet. For breastfeeding moms, try to eliminate foods that could irritate to baby. For formula-fed babies, many parents recommended Nutramigen Formula.
3. Gas Drops
Ahh, gas drops. Many parents credit them as the most important thing to keep in the diaper bag next to milk! Some of the brands recommended by my friends were Colic Calm Drops and Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water.
4. Reflux Meds
Many parents who have had a colicky baby feel their baby had bad reflux that went undiagnosed. Several parents who started reflux meds think these made the greatest difference in their child’s temperament. Of course, these must be prescribed by your pediatrician, but it might be worth calling your doctor if you feel this could be the problem.
5. White Noise/Apps on Your Phone
Babies love white noise. Strangely, they seem to like it louder than we might think because they are used to being near a beating heart. Whether using an actual hairdryer, buying a white noise CD, using a white noise machine, or just getting an app on your phone, noise can be your friend in soothing a fussy baby.
Many parents open to natural medicine state chiropractors have completely stopped their child’s all-day severe colicky crying. Some chiropractors specialize in working with infants and feel they can cure colic.
7. Infant Probiotic Drops
You need to check with your pediatrician to see if they approve of them, but many parents believe probiotic drops are effective for helping soothe a baby’s tummy and fussiness. I loved Gerber’s Comforting Drops for my third son and felt that his tummy troubles disappeared after using them.
8. Changing Baby’s Position
Not every baby likes the same position. Some like to have their legs moved like a bicycle, others like to be held high over their parent’s shoulders, and some want to lie alone. Experiment with different ways your baby might be more comfortable. What works for one baby may differ from what works for the next.
9. Using the Right Baby Gear
For many babies, laying them down tends to aggravate their bellies. Therefore a swing can serve as a lifesaver due to the way the baby is held or cradled. I also loved wearing my babies in a MOBY wrap or Boba carrier!
10. Providing Warmth to Baby’s Tummy
Several parents have shared that applying warmth to their baby’s belly seemed to help alleviate gas pains. One product that was a favorite is the Happi Tummi Waist Band.
11. Exercise Ball
For the baby who loves movement and bouncing, this is one of the best ways to keep them moving but spare your legs. Get a large, oversized exercise ball and sit on the ball to bounce the baby instead of using your energy. It is easy and effective!
Many parents believe warm baths are a great way to soothe a fussy baby. Of course, some hate the bath too. But you will never know until you try!
Your baby has heard your voice the whole time in the womb, so it only makes sense they enjoy hearing it now that they are out in the world. Try singing them a lullaby or nursery rhyme. There is a reason lullabies and nursery rhymes were invented. Some babies love them!
14. Change Environments
Sometimes a change of temperature or light can help a baby stop crying. Try stepping outside when you have been holding a crying infant inside and feel you are at your wit’s end. Many times the change of scenery or temperature can help distract them from their crying.
15. Car Rides
Car rides may be your saving grace when you have tried everything else and nothing is working. I have found that driving on a highway is more effective than being on side streets. And sometimes, to stop the crying, you can roll down the window nearest the baby about an inch. The loud sound kind of stuns them and can serve as a sound machine to get them to stop crying.
16. EVERYTHING AND NOTHING
And for some fussy babies, there is no magic cure for colic. It just takes trying everything together with nothing working that well. And while it may make you feel alone, you are not. It is just a phase, and it will get better! But until it does, reach out to other parents who have gone through the same thing. You will feel better knowing you are not alone. Because you are not, I promise!