I don't know about you, but the sound of a crying baby is like nails on a chalkboard to me. This is unfortunate because I'm a soon-to-be mom of four and both of my girls were screamers when they were infants. They legitimately screamed for hours on end and it kind of made me want to rip my hair out. I eventually took them to their doctor to find out what in the world was going on with all of the crying, and that's when I learned about colic, which is when a healthy baby excessively cries for more than 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week, for over 3 weeks. Yep- that definitely sounded like my girls!
Thankfully, after a few weeks of persistent crying, I started to see a pattern and I found a few things that worked to help shorten the length of crying time. Here's a few things that helped for us find our formula for happiness:
Establish a routine. As tough as it is in those early days, try to get a routine going as soon as you can. Babies love routine, and if you know when to expect the crying fits (ours was always in the evening) you can better prepare your baby and yourself for it.
Swaddle your baby. My last baby loved to be swaddled and it helped soothe her to sleep!
Wear your baby. Using a wrap or carrier to wear your baby is a great way to help them feel secure and keep them close to you.
Burp, burp, and burp some more. I'm not sure why, but colicky babies seem to be gassier too, so extra burping is a must! As much as Harper hated it, I'd have to interrupt her eating to burp her very frequently. There was always a little burp that would come out! Sometimes she'd be crying and crying and I'd put her up on my shoulder and start patting her...even after 10 minutes or so a little burp would come out! So burp your colicky baby a lot.
Try a change of scenery. If possible, get out of the house and try a change of scenery if your baby just won't calm down. Sometimes a walk around the block in the stroller or a carrier helps, or go for a ride in the car (and maybe swing through a drive thru and grab yourself a coffee or something).
Offer a pacifier. All of my kids loved their binkies! I don't care what anyone says- pacifiers are a great way to help them soothe.
Swing. Colicky babies love movement, so a nice swing is a great investment. Our favorite one offered front to back and side to side motion, which Harper loved. She took a lot of naps in her swing in the early days! Sometimes we'd even double up and swaddle her in her swing.
Try a probiotic. GERBER® Soothe Probiotic Colic Drops contain L. reuteri, which is a probiotic that is safe for infants and is naturally found in breast milk. Research indicates that the type of bacteria in an infant's intestine may determine whether a child is colicky, and probiotics can support a balance of good bacteria in their digestive tract. While it's not intended to cure or treat any disease, it has been clinically shown to reduce crying time in colicky breastfed infants! I received a free sample of GERBER® Soothe probiotic Colic Drops from Gerber. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
Switch formulas. If you're a formula feeding parent, Gerber also offers their GERBER® Good Start® Soothe Infant Formula, which also contains L. reuteri, and is specially designed to ease excessive crying, colic, and fussiness while providing complete nutrition.
Have you had a colicky baby before? What's your formula for happiness? Just know that you are not alone, and that there is hope out there! Try some of these methods and see if they help, and consider a probiotic like GERBER® Soothe Probiotic Colic Drops or GERBER® Good Start® Soothe Infant Formula. Gerber also has some great experts available (registered dietitians, certified lactation consultants, and certified baby sleep consultants) to answer any of your questions! You can find out more about excessive crying, colic, and fussiness here.