Comforting Measures

There are plenty of things you can do to soothe your baby. While it may not be possible to prevent crying completely, the measures described in the following sections usually decrease the frequency as well as the duration of crying for your colicky baby.

A Bundle of Joy

Most babies prefer to be swaddled tightly when they're sleeping. This snug environment simulates the condition they became accustomed to inside the womb, so they feel secure and comforted when they are wrapped up in a tight bundle. But not all babies love swaddling. If your baby gets upset every time she's bundled up tightly, listen to her.

Some babies prefer to sleep in an infant car seat, the kind that unsnaps from its base and can be carried into the house by a handle. For them, it is the most comfortable place in the world. There is nothing wrong with having your baby strapped into the car seat while taking a nap. Just make sure that the car seat is placed on a sturdy surface and cannot fall.

Loud White Noise

Another way to comfort a colicky baby is to use a loud white noise. A constant machine-like noise is best for this purpose. Many parents find out about this trick serendipitously when they are using the hair dryer or vacuuming the house. They notice that their colicky baby stops crying instantly when the motor starts running. Once the vacuum cleaner turns off, the crying resumes. It's almost as if there is an on-off switch for the baby's crying.

Essential

It's hard to say exactly why colicky babies enjoy loud noises, but one theory is that the loud constant noise simulates the sound inside the womb. The constant sound of the mother's heartbeat, breathing, and blood rushing around in the body must be quite loud for the unborn child.

This white-noise trick usually works quite well, but you simply can't vacuum nonstop. Instead, there are commercial audio CDs that generate white noise for these babies. If you want, you can even record your own white noise album by taping the sound of vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers.

Good Vibration

A gentle vibration or motion can often comfort a colicky infant; perhaps the movement resembles the motion experienced inside the womb as the mother walked around. Parents can achieve this motion either with a bouncy chair that vibrates or a mechanical swing. Holding and rocking the baby may be even more effective, but you can't do that all day and all night.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Most colicky babies stop their crying spells by the time they are around four months of age. This can vary somewhat, depending on the baby. It is very unusual for colic to last past six months of age. Even for the unfortunate parents who have to tolerate excessive crying for more than six months, there is always an end to the crying. Keep this fact in mind when you're dealing with a colicky infant. It may just be the saving grace that pulls you through the toughest days.

Alert!

No matter how frustrated you feel, never shake your baby. A baby's brain is extremely delicate. Violent shaking can permanently damage the brain, causing irreversible neurological deficit or even death. Before you become too frustrated, step away from the baby and take a break from it all.

Don't forget that your pediatrician is always available for counseling. You may frequently feel that you are at your wit's end when dealing with a colicky infant, and your doctor is a wonderful resource to alleviate your fears and frustration. If your baby has been crying for more than three hours, feel free to contact your pediatrician for advice.

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