When I first found out I was pregnant with my son, I prayed that he would be healthy, that my labor would be quick and easy, and that he wouldn’t be a “screaming kind of a baby”. Two out of three was not such a bad result I guess.
While I can not guarantee that you will have a quick and easy labor, or that your child will be healthy, I can share with you some of the things I have learned over the years to help you console your infant when he cries.
It is a fact: babies, just like adults, have their own personalities. Some are more laid back and calm. Other babies are high strung and get stressed out easily. Some babies just cry, and spend a lot of time crying. People tend to say that such children have “colic”.
If you are the parent of such a child, you know how frustrating it can be. It is difficult to see your child crying and to know that there is little that you can do to calm or console them. I so understand! My first two children had colic and their early months were incredibly stressful. While I would not want for anyone to experience such a thing, I did learn a few things during that time. Those experiences helped me later on in life and I hope that they may help you if you are dealing with a similar circumstances.
The Truth About Swaddling
Swaddling is an old concept and is mentioned in the Bible. Nurses still swaddle infants when they are in the hospital nurseries because it really does work to help comfort and console them. The thing is that swaddling is actually very difficult to do properly. I struggled to correctly swaddle my children and then I discovered that there actually are pouches that you can buy! Basically, you slide your child into the pouch and there are sides sewn on the pouch which you can wrap around your baby. The sides are then fastened with Velcro.
I can’t say enough about this wonderful product! I found my swaddle cloths at Babies R Us. They are available in different fabric colors and styles. They have fleece cloths for winter and cotton cloths for summer.
The truth is that swaddling works! I would encourage you to buy some swaddle cloths or practice swaddling using receiving blankets and a doll until you can perfect the technique.
Baby Slings Work Too
I bought a baby sling on an online auction site and I am so glad that I did! Baby slings are common in different parts of the world, but they are still rare here in the United States. Indeed, when I went out with my son in a sling, it was common to have people crowd around me to ask questions and to find out exactly what I was doing!
You can find slings in most stores in the baby aisle. A sling goes around your shoulder and is worn in front of your body. Slings have a pouch for you to carry your baby. Many slings also have slits in the back of them so you can discreetly nurse your child.
Not only did the sling help to console my child, it also helped me because I had both of my hands free to do housework or tend to the other children in the house. Many times, my son would fall asleep in the sling and we’d carefully take him out in order to put him in his crib for a nap.
When I went shopping, I simply put my son in the sling and I didn’t have to worry about hauling a heavy infant carrier inside the story or spend time trying to get the carrier on and off the shopping cart!
Food Is A Factor
Most nursing mothers are aware that their diet can affect their baby. It is true! I began to notice that my son was often fussy after I ate products with tomatoes. I cut out the tomato sauce and I found a big improvement in his happiness! Some other foods that can affect your milk are onions, broccoli, and even milk products. If you notice that your baby has such a reaction to a certain food group, you can talk it over with his pediatrician and/or a lactation consultant.
Certain foods are ok to cut out of your diet-for example, I do not think that my cutting tomatoes out of my diet until my son was weaned did either of us great harm. However, if your child is fussy after you drink milk products, you definitely need to get some professional advice. Both you and your baby need the calcium and other nutrients that are contained in these foods.
If your child is formula fed, check with her pediatrician about changing formulas. Recently, formulas have been developed for infants with digestion problems and could very well be the answer to your problems! It is best to check with a professional before changing your baby’s formula though.
Also think about the type of bottle you are using. There are now bottle systems designed especially for reducing colic! I found that my son particularly like Avent bottles but my sister used Dr. Brown bottles with similar success.
Take A Look At Your Lifestyle and Prioritize
I have found that having a routine and keeping that routine really helps to cut down on infant crying episodes. I also found that I had to limit my errands and work around my baby. Gone were the days where I could just spend all Saturday driving to different stores and shopping for hours. I found that when I spread my “to do” list out across the week instead of doing a marathon event on one day, my son’s mood dramatically improved.
In our “modern” society, being busy is seen as a good thing. However, it is possible to over schedule our lives and then wonder why we are so tired and stressed all of time. When parenting a young infant, it is important to really take a look at your schedule and evaluate your priorities. Are there activities and events in your life that you can put on hold for a few months? Can you do some of your shopping online to reduce the amount of activity and stress in your infant’s life? These are different factors to consider and evaluate.
If you are a parent of an infant with colic, my heart goes out to you. I hope that the above article will give you some ideas that will enable you to console your child and reduce the frequency and length of his crying spells!