The colicky baby tool kit

You hear so much about the joys about being a new mother that no one really warns you about colic, the inconsolable crying that lasts for many many hours a day. Baby E had colic…in a major way. Pediatricians say most commonly it starts around the second week of life, but for Baby E, colic reared its ugly head in the second DAY of life. Sigh.

While there is no one absolute cure for colic (awesome!), there are ways to keep it maintained (and your sanity in check). My husband and I tried and bought just about everything that was available, so here are some of the best and effective tools that helped Baby E. I write this post in hopes that my experience and recommendations help you and your little one. 

1) Yoga ball. If you have a crying baby stop what you are doing and get a yoga ball! Colic or not, the best way to soothe a crying baby is to bounce. With Baby E’s endless crying fits all that deep bouncing was turning my quads into those of an American Gladiator’s. Not cute.

Thanks American Gladiators for the image!

Thanks American Gladiators for the image!

There’s something about the deep bouncing that’s soothing for the baby – maybe it mimics how it felt like in the womb? For the budget conscious parent who is torn about splurging on a glider, get a yoga ball instead and save yo’ money. I have many friends who get far more mileage out of their $15 yoga ball than any fancy rocking chair. Just sayin’…

2) Gerber Soothe Colic probiotic drops. Like many babies with colic, Baby E also suffered from gas and reflux discomfort. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know all the facts about these “friendly bacteria” gems, but probiotics basically help aid in moving things along in the gastrointestinal system. Since adults use probiotics for the same reasons, I figured I’d give it a shot with Baby E (after I consulted her pediatrician of course). I’ll say with confidence that this was a game changer for Baby E – within a week, I saw a major difference in her level of crying and overall discomfort.

There are several brands of probiotics out there, but you want to make sure that the bacteria is specifically, Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri). Also, as a heads up, the Gerber and the BioGaia brands are the same thing – Gerber bought the BioGaia probiotics.

3) Rock n Play Sleeper. This portable, light weight bassinet puts a sleeping baby at an incline, which is very helpful for babies with gas, reflux or other GI issues. In full disclosure, this thing is a little controversial generating debate as to whether a baby should be sleeping in this for extended periods of time….but, it worked for Baby E. Honestly, when you have a baby with colic, you’ll do anything. Even if it means breaking the rules or doing something that the “perfect mother handbook” tells you not to do. Happy baby = happy mom. End.Of.Story. Oh, btw, there’s a vibrating mode on these bad boys that Baby E loved!

Baby E catching some Zzz's in the Rock n Play

Baby E catching some Zzz’s in the Rock n Play

If you don’t want to clutter your space with yet another baby item, just roll up some towels and place them under the mattress of the crib or bassinet. The incline really helps in alleviating gas and reflux pains.

4) Sound machine. Babies love the sound of vacuum cleaners, static or driving. Weirdos.

I once actually had the mini vac running while she was sleeping. Slept like a baby.

I once actually had the mini vac running while she was sleeping. Slept like a baby.

Similar to the yoga ball/bouncing theory, I think these sounds remind them of when they were nestled up inside mamma’s belly. Come to think of it, maybe colicky babies are just pissed off about having been evicted from the womb, so they are retaliating by crying a lot….I digress

There are tons of white noise machines for babies out there, but why pay money when you can get them for FREE on your iPhone of iPad!? The Sleep Pillow app, available on iTunes, has over 70 different sounds from light to medium rain, mother’s heartbeat, to hair dryer. Crap, it even has one called “beach resort hammock” – and it sounds diviiiiiine.

5) Infant carrier or sling. Baby carriers are clutch for any new parent who wants to be mobile. But, for colicky babies who want to be carried all the time, a carrier is a lifesaver. I don’t care how strong you are, a 7-8 pound baby will get heavy after a while. For Baby E, I think it was the skin-to-skin closeness that set her at ease. Confession: I would often wear her shirtless to “maximize” on the skin-to-skin. You gotta do what you gotta do, amirite!??

We tried out several carriers. We used the Baby Ergo with infant insert when she was first born – it was fine, but I think she was just too small for that carrier. I had heard great things about the K’Tan wrap, so I tried that next. It was a little cumbersome to put on, but once she was in it, she seemed to like it.

Baby E snug as a bug in the K’Tan. God, I look SO tired.

We’re currently using the Baby Bjorn now that she’s bigger, and that seems to work best for both me and Baby E. At the end of the day, any baby carrier that is comfortable for both you and the baby will do just fine.

6) Cranial Sacral Therapy. CST is “a gentle, noninvasive form of bodywork that addresses the bones of the head, spinal column and sacrum.” The thought is that the gentle massage of these areas will help in alleviating the points of stress, pressure and pain that may be leading to the colic/crying. I know what you are thinking: this is crazy; I know. It was so totally out of my comfort zone (it’s very hippy dippy), but it worked for Baby E. I was feeling pretty helpless and the glimmer of a promise that this would help improve things was reason enough for me!

When I went to the specialist in San Francisco, my first reaction was, “dude you are just touching my child’s face and head. I could have done that myself!” But, the reason why people paid him the big bucks was clear…it actually worked! Within just the first visit, I noticed a definite increase in her sleep duration, decrease in spitting up and gas discomfort, and crying. Even my husband who’s usually a totally downer about these types of things was impressed. He was a believer too – hallelujah!

As a heads up, check with your pediatrician to make sure that CST is the right move for your bambino. Also, call your insurance to see if you get partial or full coverage, as it’s not the cheapest service in the world.

Much like what our pediatrician told us, Baby E’s colic lasted for about 12 weeks before it kind of just suddenly turned a corner. Dealing with Baby E’s colic has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do deal with. It’s tough, but it will end. I’ll promise you that.  Hang in there – you are doing amazing!

If you have any additional tips for colic, share them with the rest of us by leaving a comment. Sharing is caring!

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