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Baby Crying? 20 Strategies for Soothing Your #ColickyBaby

Baby Crying? 20 Strategies for Soothing Your #ColickyBaby

Parenting, mercy, what a challenge! Do you have a newborn baby? Will the baby crying ever stop? If that baby doesn’t stop crying, I don’t know what I’m going to do!!!!

What is colic and what does a colicky baby do? According to the Mayo Clinic, “Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week, for three weeks or longer.” If you don’t get it, please practice some empathy with that new mommy and daddy because this precious newborn is still just as “perfect” as yours.  As one of my favorite people has said, “there are no perfect parents, and you’re not going to be the first.”

The Mayo Clinic tells us that there is no way to soothe your colicky baby. Well, doctors don’t know everything. They still don’t know what causes colic. Perhaps it’s less about soothing your baby and more about making you stronger. Let’s find out!

P.S. Dearest new mommy, according to kidshealth.org, 40% of newborns are colicky babies. So guess what? You’re not alone. All that baby crying will stop. That’s wonderful news!  Reach out to another mommy to talk to about it because odds are she’s managing the stress too. Now, not only are you humble enough to seek comfort, you’re also a leader. You rock!

1. Utilize your options.

Are you a mommy or daddy that reads books on parenting pre-pregnancy? If so, what does it have to say on this issue?  Chances are it is addressed. Good sleepers are not born ready to conform to your schedule. So, you may need to help that beautiful child along. You can follow advice offered in the book, or you can call a friend for advice. If you talk with your mom regularly, she might be a great place to start.

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2. Recognize that this is just a parenting milestone.

Are you a single, working mommy? Oh, my heart aches for you, and at the same time you are just as much the miracle your child is. This crying stuff may be nothing to you, but I suspect it’s driving you crazy even though you’ve already been through a lot. This may be that first parenting milestone that you have to overcome.

3. Walk and rock.

Turn on some music, put your earbuds in, and find some soothing music. Now, pick up those baby blues or caramel browns and slowly walk or rock your baby to sleep.

4. Find some swings or go for a drive.

I always enjoyed swinging as a baby and even still today. It is a resting exercise. Maybe it’s the rhythm to it or maybe it throws your equilibrium off enough to make you sleep? I couldn’t find any research about the why, but it seems to help babies fall asleep. Also, going for a drive with your baby may help. I’ve heard stories from friends that said this was the only way they could get their children to go to sleep early on. So, hopefully a short drive will help you—just be sure to buckle up!

5. Focus on the positive. :)

According to kidshealth.org, “Colicky babies have a healthy sucking reflex and a good appetite and are otherwise healthy and growing well.” Also, “Colicky babies may spit up from time to time just as non-colicky babies do.”  Finally, “colicky babies typically have normal stools (poop). If your baby has diarrhea or blood in the stool, call your doctor.”

6. Use more music therapy.

Sometimes, turning on some music will help your baby sleep. Some children need extra stimulation. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them; remember, you are just trying to get past this parenting milestone.

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7. Consult a professional dietitian or nutritionist.

Mommy, if you’re like me you want to know if there is anything you can do personally to make things easier.  Research shows that diet may play a role in this.  If you breastfeed, consult a dietitian. They know more about nutrition than your doctor.  Tis true!

8. Make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

According to emedicine.medscape, an inexperienced parent may forget to burp your baby enough. It seems simple enough, but with the amount of new crazy going on in your life, perfect peace isn’t going to happen overnight.

9. Check the baby’s hair.

What if something else is wrong? Check to make sure there isn’t hair in your child’s eye or eyes.  It could be your hair or their own.

10. Take a break.

Do you have a friend? Ask them to take babysit for a couple hours. Does grandma or grandpa live nearby?  This is a great chance to patch up that relationship if necessary, and if that’s not necessary, your family will see and be empathetic to what you are going through. They will be supportive.

11. Pray.

I know. I know. Maybe this is your last resort, but whoever you pray to, ask for some grace and mercy and for some love and some hope.  Hold onto grace.

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12. Address your introversion.

There are tons of articles on lifehack.org about how bright introverts are. It’s true—we are. It’s important, however, for us to work our way out of our comfort zone. The same goes for you extroverts. You can help guide us in the right direction. Find a parental support group. They can be found in your community. Call around. There are mommies’ mornings out and other programs that will help you with your mental stability. If you work, that may be your sanctuary.  Don’t feel bad about working; you’re getting the job done. Keep at it!

13. Ask your partner for help.

If you’re raising your child with a partner, kudos. Make sure to ask your partner to step up and help out.

14. Work together.

Parents, it’s time for you two to realize you are a team and that your world has radically changed. Chances are, you’ve already realized that, but maybe this is happening so that you can put that teamwork into action.

15. Remember that this is only temporary.

Babies crying like this will end with patience, but it’s got to be overwhelming when all your emotions are in a state of flux.  You probably just want to walk out the door. That’s not an option in this case. Maybe seeing a counselor makes sense?

16. Try turning out the lights.

Going back to kidshealth.org, “some babies need decreased stimulation. Babies 2 months and younger may do well swaddled in a darkened room.”

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17. Adjust your diet.

You know the cliche “you are what you eat.”  Well, your baby is profoundly affected by what you eat. If you are breastfeeding and if you are using supplements with your baby, you may need to alter the program. Cut out dairy and/or soy.

18. Be patient—it’s probably just a phase.

For some kids, this is simply a phase of growth. It may help to generate more structure in his or her life.

19. Don’t blame yourself or your child.

Don’t forget: it’s not your fault and it’s not your baby’s fault. It just is. You are so loved, and the support you need is out there.

20. Research the issue.

Here’s another great resource: www.parenting.com Also, here’s a great slideshow: www.webmd.com

Whatever you do, take some form of action. Most importantly, however: make sure your mental health is in good condition. If you’re not in good health, how can you expect your baby to be?

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Published on November 20, 2020

13 Practical Pieces of Advice for New Parents

13 Practical Pieces of Advice for New Parents

I have given birth to four babies (in the span of five years, all full term babies too). I have been a foster parent to several babies as well. Our first born only lived 8 weeks. He was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder several weeks after birth. Our second baby was actually a foster baby we had for 15 months. She was placed with us when she was seven weeks old. When she was eight months old, I gave birth to a baby girl. It was like having twins.

    And then we actually had twins. I learned quickly that twins are hard. Really hard. But they are fun too. Our twins are no longer babies. They are six years old. I do remember that first year clearly, even though much of it felt like a sleep deprived hazy existence.

    The first six months with my twins was sheer survival mode. They would both sleep for two hours and then wake for feeding. I would bottle feed them, while pumping milk (they were not good at nursing). After I fed them in the wee morning hours and middle of the night, I then changed them, swaddled both, and placed them in their bassinets close to my bed. Then it would start all over again. They would sleep for two hours and then wake to be fed once again. This routine went on for six months.

    Sleeping in two hour increments is not easy. I learned to go to bed at 8:00 pm, so that the two hour increments would add up to enough sleep to function by 7:00 am when our two year old daughter would wake and be ready to start the day.

    It was not easy to have three little ones at the same time, especially with twins who had reflux and colic to top things off. The non-stop crying every evening for hours is something I don’t wish on any parent. It is possible to survive this, in fact, I have friends who have quadruplets. They survived too.

    Our twin boys as newborns was a completely opposite experience than we had with both our foster daughter and our biological daughter when they were babies. The girls were easy babies. They required no “sleep training”, as both were sleeping through the night by three or four months of age on their own. They were happy, easily contented babies. I could take them to lunch with my girlfriends and they cooed happily and entertained nearby strangers with their smiles and baby talk. When I was caring for both baby girls, it made me wonder why so many mothers complained about lack of sleep, fussy babies, and the hardships involved in caring for a newborn. Having very difficult twin baby boys showed me that not all babies are alike.

    What I learned from all these babies I have cared for is that each baby is different. There is no one set formula that works for all babies. Each situation is unique, because every baby is unique. You can have an easy-going baby and it may make you think that all babies are that easy. They are not.

    If you are like most of us who have been blessed to become parents, you will experience ups and downs on a daily basis when you bring a newborn into your home. It will not be sheer bliss to have a baby. They are a great deal of work and take tremendous energy out of moms and dads. However, they can provide you with an overflowing heart filled with love and joy you didn’t know was possible.

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    Even though not all babies are alike, I can provide some tips to help you navigate the world of parenthood. Below are 13 practical tips I have for all new parents.

    1. Recognize That the First Year Is Usually Challenging

    I have heard people say that when they have kids it won’t change their life. They will simply take the baby along with them wherever they go. It’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t work out that way in reality.

    If you want to attend a concert, a newborn baby will likely not be able to be brought along. They will cry and interrupt others at the concert. Babies can’t go everywhere we go and do everything we are doing. They cry a great deal during that first year. They also require feeding every few hours. It puts a crimp in any lifestyle.

    The first year is challenging because having a baby will turn anyone’s world upside down. If you are the primary caregiver for a newborn, your life and schedule are no longer your own. You have a tiny human counting on you for feedings, changings, comforting, holding, rocking, swinging, being sung to, and whatever else it is that your baby will need from you.

    We like to think that our own baby will be an easy baby, especially if that is our own personality. The reality is that most babies are high maintenance. They require round the clock care and that it itself makes that first year challenging.

    2. Sleep When Baby Sleeps

    Because babies are so much work while they are awake, take the opportunity to sleep when they sleep. You can’t take a nap while they are awake. Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to catch up on sleep while they are sleeping.

    It can be tempting to stay up late to binge watch your favorite show. However, the reality of struggling to care for a baby during the day when you are sleep deprived because you stayed up late and then they woke you up four times in six hours will make your day quite miserable. Avoid the misery and try to get enough sleep.

    Often, the only way this is feasible is to sleep when your baby is sleeping. It is exactly why I started going to bed at 8pm when my twins would go to bed. I knew that I would be woken up every two to three hours, so going to bed early was the only way I was able to get enough hours of sleep.

    3. Allow for Normal Household Noise

    My brother and his wife came to visit us a few years ago. Actually it was a 10-day extended stay because they had a hurricane in their area. They had a newborn baby who was two months old. I also had three small kids who were very loud and energetic all day long. We tried to keep the kids quiet so the baby could nap. Like most babies, their son was napping once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

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    At first their son would wake up with every tiny noise we made in the home. There was only so much that I could do. I wasn’t go to vacate our house for the majority of the day, just so their newborn could sleep. I knew one thing about babies that my brother and sister-in-law hadn’t learned yet. They learned this after a few days in our noisy home. I told them that if they didn’t rush to get him every time he wakes because of a small noise he will learn to sleep through the noise. By the end of the week, he was napping just fine through our chaos filled noisy household activities.

    I have done the same with my own children. We allow for normal household noise, including talking, cooking, and everyday activities to commence. The baby is often asleep in a nearby bedroom, but they certainly aren’t cut off from the noise.

    When you whisper while baby sleeps and insist on silence in your home for your sleeping baby, then your baby becomes a sleeper who is easily woken by any sound. If you condition your baby to sleep through normal household noises they will learn to be good sleepers in spite of the noise.

    4. Don’t Get Hung Up on Advice From Others

    New parents get a lot of unsolicited advice, especially from family and friends. Keep in mind that they are giving advice because they love you and they are trying to help. However, you don’t have to follow the advice of others just because they offer it. You do what is best for your own baby.

    Just because your sister tells you that you must use organic cloth diapers because it worked well for her children doesn’t mean that you have to take the advice. You can say “thank you” and then do whatever is best for your own family.

    5. Accept Help When Offered

    Babies and small children are a lot of work. I hope that if you can learn anything from me it is that no baby is really “easy”. They all require lots of time, energy, effort, and love.

    When you have trusted people in your life offer to help, then accept their help. My mother-in-law flew in to help us after the twins were born. She was going to stay a week. She offered to stay longer and ended up extending her stay twice, for a total of three weeks.

    If she would have offered to stay longer, I would have accepted the help. It was a blessing to have her there to help us, as we were in survival mode those first few months.

    6. Breastfeed or Formula: Do What Works Best for Your Situation

    The benefits of breastmilk have been proven by science to be better than formula. However, how much better? And at what cost? There are too many women who beat themselves up emotionally because they are unable to breastfeed for one reason or another.

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    If your baby is being fed, you are doing a good job. Our foster daughter only had formula as an infant. Many children only have formula because it is the only option available. Our foster daughter is now a healthy and smart girl. Formula did not negatively affect her development. What was most important was that she was fed. This is true of all babies.

    So do what is best for your own situation. If you end up giving your baby formula, remind yourself that millions, if not billions, of babies have grown up on formula and end up being healthy, intelligent, well adjusted people.

    7. Don’t Compare Your Baby to Other Babies

    All babies are different. It is not good or bad. Some babies have colic. It doesn’t mean that they will have issues later. My twins both had reflux and colic and they are healthy and happy six year old’s now.

    Babies all develop at different rates. You can have one baby who walks at nine months and another that doesn’t until 14 months and they are both healthy and happy.

    Don’t compare your baby to other babies. The range of “normal” for development is quite wide. If you legitimately have a concern about their development then ask your pediatrician.

    8. Take a Shower, It Will Make You Feel Better

    We often don’t take care of ourselves as new moms or dads. Many parents spend their life caring for their children to the extent that their own self care goes by the wayside.

    As a new parent, one way to care for yourself is by showering daily. It will help you feel refreshed. Even if it is a five minute quick shower it will help you feel better.

    9. Get Out of the House and Meet Fellow Moms/Dads

    Don’t think you have to parent alone! There are so many parent groups to join. As a new mom, I joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and developed some wonderful mom friendships that have lasted for years.

    Look for local mom groups in your particular area. Connection is something that is helpful to all of us; especially connections with others who are going through the same phase of life and have similar experiences.

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    10. Get Outside and Walk

    If you are the one who gave birth, then getting up and becoming active can be hard at first. Birth is really hard on our bodies. A simple way to get active that will help with your mood as well is to get outside and go on walks.

    Put the baby in the stroller and get yourself walking outside, even if it is just around the block to get started. You will find that the fresh air and blood pumping through your body will help brighten your mood and spirit.

    11. Find the Humor in Your New Life

    Don’t take your life too seriously. Be willing to laugh at the humorous things when they happen. For example, the blow out diaper that happens immediately after you have bathed and dressed your baby. Your little one is happily cooing and smiling at you when it happens, while you are literally covered in….poop.

    These things are bound to happen. Be willing to laugh and find the humor in life.

    12. Take Photos Because Time Flies

    The days may seem long but the years are short. Time goes by quicker than you will realize.

    Take photos and videos, even when nothing special is happening, because they grow up fast. You will blink and they are no longer babies, blink again and they are no longer toddlers.

    Capture life as it is happening, because tomorrow they are another day older and you can’t get that day back.

    13. Bond with Your Baby and Enjoy the Present

    Enjoy life with your baby and cherish the small moments as they happen. Take the time to breathe in the baby smell that comes from the top of their head, gaze at them as they sleep peacefully in your arms, and soak up the baby giggles. These are the precious moments and memories that will keep you fueled through the many days and nights that will be a struggle.

    They are only babies once, so be sure to take mental snapshots of those precious moments that you want to capture for a lifetime.

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    Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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