Sleep deprivation is something most parents have to endure with a new baby. Babies generally cry quite a lot. And that probably came as no surprise to you when you welcomed your new little person into the world. However, when you have a colicky baby, sleep can seem like a very distant memory.
It doesn’t help that no one really knows what causes colic, which makes soothing your baby at bedtime all the more difficult. When your baby is crying, your natural instinct is to do everything you possibly can to help them, so having a baby with colic can be a very tough and a frustrating journey.
Whenever you feed your baby, make sure you burp them. Colicky babies, in particular, can benefit from being burped in an upright position, and you can help release wind by gently rubbing their back and belly.
Sometimes frequently picking up and putting down your baby can make the crying worse. Comforting them in a quiet place with low lighting can be beneficial.
Walking or driving
Anything that keeps your baby in motion can help to settle them when they have colic. The motion of taking them for a walk in their pram or a drive in the car can help to soothe them – even though this might be the last thing you feel like doing after a long day!
Any form of noise can help settle babies. Background noise like a washing machine or vacuum cleaner may work, as may a ‘white noise’ app on your phone. The added bonus here is you can get some housework done at the same time!
A warm bath or a nice gentle message could also help to soothe your colicky baby ready for bedtime. There are lots of massage techniques to try – from gently stroking their belly and back to slowly bringing their knees up to their tummy and back down. Our resident midwife, Lara Basini, demonstrates a handful of anti-colic massage techniques here
An overtired baby is far less likely to settle at bedtime. Day time napping is very important for helping to improve sleep at night. Consider trying any of these night-time tips during the day; encouraging them to settle down regularly for naps.
In the late afternoon decrease stimulation to allow your baby to start to wind down for the night – dim bright lights and try and avoid too many visitors at this time of day.
Whichever tip works best for you to settle your baby with colic – do it! Anything that helps you both get some sleep isn’t a bad thing and this temporary help isn’t going to create long-term bad habits.