February 1, 2024

7 Secrets to Calming Your Fussy Newborn

I didn’t want to admit my baby had colic. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me or my baby, so I just tried to ignore it instead of looking for a solution. I wish I’d gone about things differently!

A challenge a lot of parents face with new babies is colicky or fussy babies. If you’ve found yourself at the mercy of relentless cries and seemingly unexplainable discomfort (or you just want to plan ahead, just in case), fear not!

In this blog post, I’m sharing …

  • How to identify if your baby has colic
  • Effective strategies to navigate this trying phase
  • Tips to soothe your baby
  • How to take care of yourself when your baby won’t stop crying. 
OKC Birth Photography | Norman, OK

Is It Colic or Something Else?

You’re not alone in wondering whether your baby’s fussiness is due to colic or something else entirely. 

Colic is typically defined as intense, inconsolable crying in a healthy baby that lasts for at least three hours a day, three days a week, for three weeks or more. 

However, it’s essential to rule out other potential causes of fussiness, such as hunger, discomfort, gas, or illness. 

If you suspect colic, it’s always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician to confirm the diagnosis and ensure there are no underlying issues.

What Causes Colic?

While the exact cause of colic remains a mystery, several factors may contribute to its development. 

These can include gastrointestinal issues, an immature digestive system, sensitivity to stimulation, or even parental stress transferring to the baby. 

It’s important to remember that colic is not caused by something you did or didn’t do as a parent. It’s simply a phase that many babies go through and eventually outgrow.

Source: Mayo Clinic

OKC mother breastfeeding her son.

Riding the Waves of Colic: Tips for Soothing Your Baby

When your baby is experiencing colic, finding effective ways to soothe them can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. 

But there are strategies that may provide some relief. 

Holding and Rocking: Sometimes, simply holding and gently rocking your baby can help soothe them. Babies often find the rhythmic motion comforting, which might help alleviate some of their distress.

Swaddling: Swaddling can provide a sense of security and warmth for your baby, which may help to soothe them.

White Noise: Some babies find white noise, such as the sound of a fan or a white noise machine, soothing. It’s thought that this can replicate the constant noise they were used to in the womb.

Warm Bath: A warm bath can be soothing and may help to relieve some of the discomfort associated with colic.

Gentle Massage: Massaging your baby’s belly in a gentle, clockwise motion might help to relieve some of the tension and discomfort. Always be gentle and watch your baby’s reactions to make sure they’re comfortable.

Bicycle Legs: Gently moving your baby’s legs in a bicycle motion can help to relieve gas, which is often a contributor to colic.

Changing Feeding Positions: Sometimes, adjusting your feeding position can help to minimize the amount of air your baby swallows, which can reduce gas and potentially alleviate some of the symptoms of colic.

BONUS! As I was writing this, I though of three more ideas. 🙂

Feeding and Burping More Frequently: Smaller, more frequent feedings can help prevent your baby’s stomach from getting too full, which can cause discomfort. Burping your baby regularly can also help to relieve any built-up gas.

Using a Pacifier: Sucking on a pacifier can provide a calming effect for many babies.

Using a Baby Carrier or Sling: Some babies find being carried in a sling or baby carrier soothing. The close contact can be comforting, and the movement as you move around may help to calm them.

Consider talking to your doctor about using gas drops too!

Experiment with different soothing techniques to find what works best for your baby’s unique preferences.

Seeking Support: Finding Comfort in Community

Reach out to fellow parents, join online support groups or local parenting communities, and share your experiences. 

Connecting with others who understand firsthand what you’re going through can provide immense comfort and valuable insights!

I can speak volumes about how important it is to connect with others – no matter what you’re dealing with! Friends, family and experts are out there ready to share their experiences and offer help.

Self-Care for Sanity: Taking Care of Yourself

Caring for a colicky baby can be emotionally and physically draining, leaving you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. 

It’s crucial to prioritize self-care during this challenging phase. Take breaks when you can, lean on your support system for help, and don’t forget to prioritize your own well-being. 

Whether it’s a relaxing bath, a walk in nature, or simply enjoying a quiet moment with a cup of tea, finding small pockets of self-care can make a world of difference in your ability to cope.

Hiring a post-partum doula may be helpful as well. Check out my interview with Kate Burns who is a birth and post-partum doula!

Take it from me, the colic stage won’t last forever. I know it can feel like it right now though!

You’re doing an incredible job, and every effort you’re putting in right now is making a difference. Keep trying different soothing techniques, reach out for support when you need it, and don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Soon, this challenging phase will be just a memory.

Want to check out some of my other blog posts on pregnancy and motherhood in OKC?

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