The words every mum of a tiny baby dreads – Colic!!! This blog is designed to help understand what colic is, or could be. We will talk about how to decipher whether your baby is suffering with it, or whether they are just displaying normal newborn behavior, and how you can help with both.
Symptoms of colic:
LOTS of crying, classic colic time is evenings although it can happen at any time, and into the night. Babies seem to bring their legs into their tummy, and/or arch their back, as though they are struggling with wind.
What is it?
No one truly knows, but there are two main schools of thought. The first is, it is an immature gut, and the inability to deal and process food on the outside world and/or indigestion. Babies gut is changing and maturing and this takes time, so they find it hard to bring up wind and/or digest their milk.
Babies world in the womb is totally stimulation free, they have LOTS of noise (as noisy as a hoover, hence hoovers calm them on the outside world). They are held very contained, they have very little space to move around, and they are moved around by mums daily activities, when mum stops at night to rest/sleep they start wriggling!
So, when they are born, they are put into this hugely stimulating world, lights, colours, textures, strange noises, and this is just the world, add into this the lovely stimulating play mats, rattles, mobiles etc that we add to their cots and car seats!
We can all get a bit paranoid about noise around our baby, so we think we should be quiet. We also know we need to lay our babies on their backs (back to sleep campaign protecting against SIDS). Babies have NO limb control until they are 3/4m, when they lay on their backs, their arms/legs are free to flail, when they cry, they flail more, this upsets them more, they flail more, the cycle goes on! When you pick them up, they stop! Why? Because you hold them tight, so they can’t flail, they can feel and smell the warmth of you, and most of the time when you pick up a baby you move (you know what happens when you try and sit down with a non-sleeping baby)! So when they are picked up, they have all those womb boxes ticked!
Add white noise/ssshing/hoovers and possibly sucking into this mix – HAPPY BABY
How can we help?
If we believe it is a tummy/gut/wind issue, we can use massage. There are specific colic massage routines you can find, or you can simply massage your babies tummy clockwise (the natural flow of the gut – peristalsis, moves clockwise so you are simply aiding that process).You can then add in some gentle movements, gently tuck both babies knees into their tummy and/or cycle their legs. When babies try to poo/release wind, the colon contracts as does the back passage, so they fight against each other. By gently rubbing the tummy clockwise, and pushing knees into the tummy, you are aiding the flow of the colon, and opening the back passage. This works brilliantly with constipation also. You need to wait 25mins after breastfeeding and 45mins after formula feeding BEFORE you massage their tummy however.
If we think our baby is getting over stimulated (this can be particularly apparent if the colic episodes occur in the evenings after busy days), we can use some calming techniques.
We basically want to recreate the womb, so we need to:
Contain – Swaddle, hold or use a good sling to be hands free (not a Baby Bjorn type structured carrier, but a stretchy wrap or sling, Caboo/close parent is a good starting point)
Move – Rock your baby
Make noise – download a white noise app (I personally never found the prince lion heart or Ewan the sheep loud enough), it needs to be hoover loud!
If you have an overtired/stimulated baby, the above WILL switch them off, it may need to be done for a good 15/20mins to calm baby (TIME IT!).
Lastly, be assured it WILL pass, babies usually grow out of colic by 3-4m. Don’t worry about creating bad habits with your tiny baby. Do what you need to do get through it, get support from family, go easy on yourself, and trust and believe that it will pass. You will look back in a year or so at your chunky, chubby baby, and wish they were a squishy tiny newborn that would curl up on you of an evening!!
Check out Nickys Colic Massage vid on Youtube...https://www.youtube.com/watch?edit=vd&v=b8afplH9JAE
For more information on Nicky & Mummas and Beans Baby Classes www.mummasandbeans.co.uk