40% of all babies might experience colic or reflux between the age of 3 weeks and 4 months.
Colic is one of the most common issues of a newborn baby. The good thing is your baby is not the only one having such issues.
In most cases, this isn’t something serious and you just need to follow certain preventative measures until your baby outgrows the symptoms.
As a mother of two kids, I had my fair share of the trouble. Loud uncontrollable crying and signs of pain can make any mom worry and grieve.
But as I talked with my pediatrician and started implementing a few techniques, I started to see changes. One thing is sure, your baby’s colic isn’t going to stop altogether until it naturally goes away. You can only soothe her or prevent it.
These 7 Tips Might be Life-Changing for You and They are Totally Safe to Try.
The Connection Between Colic & Infant Reflux
Colic and reflux are connected to each other. It’s important to understand that colic doesn’t cause reflux, but reflux causes colic.
Colic is the state in which your baby cries longer than usual and for prolonged periods. It can happen any time of the day. Commonly colic happens after feeding and that’s because your baby has acid reflux.
Acid reflux happens when food from the stomach goes into the esophagus of a baby and this causes discomfort and that loud crying we call colic.
Tips and Techniques to Deal With Colic and Infant Reflux
1. Keeping Your Baby Upright During and After Feeding is the Key
One thing I knew from the start is you need to keep your baby upright after feeding her. But later, I realized it’s also crucial to maintain an upright posture during feeding.
So, keep your baby at 45 degrees so that his head is upright, the body is at an angle and not completely straight. Use this position for breastfeeding or formula feeding.
After feeding, keep your baby upright for at least 30-40 minutes. This can be a pain at the beginning but you will get used to it. But remember, this is important and you must not ignore it.
2. Changing Positions Prevent Reflux
I wish someone told me this earlier. Not all babies remain calm in the same positions. When I started experimenting with positions, I found my baby’s colic to stop in certain positions. After 10-15 minutes, I had to change it to another. Weird! But that’s a fact.
Hip holding is the most common position for holding your baby. You can also carry him on the shoulder and provide some shakes in between. I have seen parents holding their babies on the belly, so the head rests on the palm and the baby is resting on the tummy. This seems to work too.
3. Avoid Longer Feeds, short and frequent feeds work best
Many parents feed their babies for a longer duration. The idea behind this is to know their baby is going to spit it out later and that over feeding will make sure that some amount of food stays in her stomach. But it’s a completely wrong approach.
The cause of colic or reflux can be attributed to longer feeding. As babies feed more, more air enters and gets trapped inside their stomach. This can ultimately lead to spitting up and colic.
So, do a short 10-12 minutes feeding session and do it frequently.
4. Keep your baby in motion: hands-on and hands-off approach
I don’t know if there are any scientific reasons behind this, but it works every time. Keeping your baby in motion can ease his pain and also stop colic for a certain period of time.
The best way to do it is to get out of the home and walk your baby. You can use a hip or shoulder holding position. But trust me, this worked like magic.
On some days, when I didn’t have the strength to walk, I would tell my husband to drive and we would go on a short trip. This also worked and the baby really enjoyed those rides.
Now, both of these are hands-on approaches. So, you need to do it physically.
There are some swings made for easing reflux and I wish I had bought it earlier. These swings have varieties of motions and also come with a music system. You won’t have to do a single thing other than just turning the swing on.
5. Change Your Diet or Switch the Current Milk Formula
In some cases, your child can have allergies or intolerance to breast milk because of your diet. Just by removing certain elements from your diet, you can see positive results. I would recommend avoiding dairy items or any other items that your baby is allergic to.
Your baby can also react to certain formula brands. So, you need to experiment a bit and see if things change. Try at least two new formula brands to make sure.
6. Try Anti Colic Massage Techniques
When things started getting a bit too much, our pediatrician recommended a few anti colic massage techniques. A few things to consider: don’t massage when your babies are crying and when he has just finished feeding. Wait for 40 minutes after each feeding and then you can massage.
- Around the clock: For this massage, you need to imagine that your baby’s tummy is divided into four sections just like a clock. 12-3, 3-6, 6-8 and 8-12. Use your fingers and gently press each section for 10-15 seconds.
- Bicycle massage: This is the easiest. Just move your baby’s legs just like how we would pedal a bicycle.
- Scooping: This technique worked best for my baby. Use your palm and gently press it against the tummy and bring it down to the belly.
There are other techniques too. Here’s a live demonstration of these techniques:
7. Winding and Rolling
Winding techniques can help to get rid of the gas inside your baby’s stomach. The most common approach is to make the baby sit in your lap in an upright position. Make sure the baby’s chin is resting on the crook of your hands and use your other hand to roll and pat over the back gently. You can do the same with your baby resting on the shoulder.
Colic and reflux will not become a serious issue, if you take it seriously as parents. Being patient and consistent is the key here.
These 7 tips aren’t the only ones you will find. There are more techniques and strategies you will come across. However, these are the ones that matter most and more often than not they work.