Being a first-time parent can often be stressful and overwhelming, and even more so if you’re caring for a colicky baby. My first-born daughter, Kayleigh, had colic and it was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. I was a new Mom. I had just recently left my Paralegal job of 10 years to stay home with my baby. I was adjusting to all of these different things happening in my life, a new body, and on top of it all, I had to learn how to cope with my daughter’s colic.
How can you tell if your baby has colic? Well, it is normal for all babies to cry, but a baby with colic will usually cry for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, and for more than 3 weeks a month. Excessive crying usually happens around evening and night time. Colic will usually present in the first 6 weeks of life and may continue for up to 4 months – and possibly even longer in some cases.
While Kayleigh was a perfect angel during the day, at night was a completely different story. The screaming would always start at 7:00pm on the dot and it would last for several hours. I learned to expect it every single night, and it would bring a feeling of dread over me as the day progressed. I found myself stress eating at dinner time, because I knew what was coming next.
The stress ate away at me every day. I felt like a failure as a parent. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to make my daughter happy. I didn’t understand why she was crying so much every night, why I couldn’t help her. I was exhausted, and I felt so alone in those late night hours, as I waited for her to finally fall asleep. I was moody and touched out, and it really drove a wedge between my husband and me.
Having a colicky baby really takes a toll on the whole family. Did you know that 3 out of 10 babies will have colic at some point? Prior to going through this experience myself, I didn’t know anything at all about colic, but as the weeks passed, I actually figured out a few things that worked to soothe my colicky daughter.
TIPS FOR SOOTHING A COLICKY BABY
- Rocking. I learned that colicky babies like motion. I noticed that Kayleigh was most content when she was moving. She hated laying down, and she hated it when I would just hold her in my arms without moving. I spent many nights just rocking her back and forth in our rocking chair, and I found it to be quite helpful.
- Babywearing. Kayleigh always wanted to be held close to me during her colicky nights, and wearing her in a wrap or carrier helped to give my back a rest for a while, and also allowed me to keep my arms free to get other stuff done around the house. It truly was a lifesaver!
- Soft, upbeat music. To save my sanity during one of Kayleigh’s late night crying sessions, I put on one of my favorite Bob Marley albums, and I was quite surprised to see that it actually helped to soothe Kayleigh as well. I started singing “Three Little Birds” to her as a lullaby while I rocked her, and to this day it is still one of her favorite songs. Music can really bring a calming effect to a stressful situation.
Another thing that can be helpful in soothing colicky babies, is to try switching formulas. Research shows that the type of bacteria in an infant’s intestine may determine whether they are colicky. This suggests that probiotics can help to support a balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract of colicky infants. The probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri has been clinically shown in multiple studies to successfully reduce crying time in colicky infants.
Gerber® Good Start® Soothe infant formula is specially designed to ease excessive crying, colic, fussiness and gas while providing complete nutrition, and it is the only formula to contain L. reuteri.
If your colicky baby is breastfed, Gerber® has a product for you, too. Their Soothe probiotic Colic Drops with L. reuteri are ideal for breastfed babies.
If you are currently caring for a colicky baby, please know that this phase doesn’t last forever. It will end, and you and your baby will both be happy again. In the meantime, try using the tips and tools above to bring some relief to both of you.
Have you gone through a period of caring for a colicky baby? How did you get through it? Share your #FormulaforHappiness in the comments below!