How do you soothe a colicky baby?

My daughter is fostering to adopt a little baby girl. We are all cautiously thrilled to have this baby girl in our family. This process is an emotional roller coaster, but that’s a topic for another day.

Marie is pretty fussy. She spits up a lot and demands to be held. My daughter was the same, so I don’t find this unusual, but it’s been 30 years since I’ve had much to do with infants, so I don’t know how common this really is. If I remember correctly, what solved the problem for me was getting her (my daughter) on some solid foods at about 4 months of age. I’m no expert though, that’s for sure.

So any ideas? I’m gonna go hang out with them today and thought I could offer some advice.

Check the various types of formula; some are especially formulated for sensitive stomachs. My daughter also added small amounts of rice cereal when mixing the formula.

If she “demands” to be held, someone should hold her! You didn’t say how old Marie is, but IMHO infants are not manipulative. The current thinking is to lay babies down on their backs to sleep as it is safer. If you’ve ever had heartburn you will probably have noticed that it is worse if you lie down on your back and better if you are upright or lying on your stomach. Marie probably has less discomfort being held with her stomach against a warm caretaker and her head on their shoulder.

Keeping my baby upright for 30 minutes to an hour after meals seemed to help, as well as ensuring a few good burps. (My little one needs a good ten to fifteen minutes of gentle pats and jiggles to get a good burp.) I’m also confused by the “demands to be held” statement. Holding a baby with a full tummy upright usually calms fussiness, and provides comfort to a wee one in distress, but it isn’t any form of manipulation. She needs comforting when she’s in pain, and to feel warm, safe, and secure. After a burp, a swing, bouncy seat, or safely buckled into her car seat may be the best place for a nap after meals.

Check out “The Happiest Baby On The Block” if we’re talking about a very young infant, four months or less. The 5 S’s should be listed on the internet for free, in fact–there are probably YouTube videos demonstrating the right way to do all of them.

She was born on April 20th. She turns herself to her stomach every night, so I think that’s a big part of the issue. Her Dr. changed her formula, but it doesn’t appear to have helped. Maybe another change is in order. I guess they don’t suggest water for babies either. I didn’t know that.

Poor little thing…this is her 5th home in her short life and she’s been with my daughter the longest.

We do hold her. I am always happy to do that! :slight_smile:

We kept my niece when she was a baby and I was 15 or so. At the time I had no idea that there are some colicky babies who JUST DO NOT STOP CRYING. For months. And then they grow out of it.

Seriously, if you weren’t holding her or she wasn’t in a moving car (and even then at least half the time she’d cry) it was that awful colic scream. There was absolutely nothing to be done about it, either - I know my mom tried a bunch of things that didn’t work, even if they didn’t at home.

I’m not telling you this to freak you out, I’m telling you because this too shall pass, even in a worst case scenario. Kid’s 17 now and you hardly have to pick her up anymore. :slight_smile:

The only thing that made my little boy happy was being held, gently bounced, and walked around the room. Stop one of those, and you risked him getting upset again.

The 5S worked more times than not, as well. I feel for you, months of that can be incredibly stressful.

First of all, congratulations to you and your daughter, and to the little one who is being adopted into your loving family! This warms my heart.

I have a 6 month old who was extremely colicky for the first 11 weeks of his life. He cried non-stop for 6 or 8 hours a day, every day, and there was precious little we could do for him. We read several books, talked to a couple of doctors, and read everything we could find on the web. We also tried hundreds (I’m not kidding) of safe folk remedies and diet changes recommended to us by friends, family, and complete nincompoop strangers who couldn’t help themselves. None of it worked. For a little background, he is/was breast fed, had no physical ailments that the doctor could find, and slept just fine every night. He just couldn’t deal with being “on the outside.”

The things that worked best for our son were loud music (not too loud, of course, just loud enough to make it difficult to hear much else, and any type of music worked), taking him outside, walking him around and bouncing him lightly while doing the “colic hold” and making loud “shhhhh” sounds, and baths. You can find the colic hold by searching the term on Google. Strangely, placing him in a bath consistently and instantly made him a happy baby. He would resume crying the moment he emerged from the water.

If it’s true colic, the problem lies somewhere in the little one’s grey matter, and it’s just a process of trying different things until you find something that soothes her. Whatever you find might only work for a day or two, then you’ll need to figure something else out. It sounds like your little one may have reflux problems, which I personally don’t have any experience with, but I have several friends who had near miraculous results with prescription antacids. I’d definitely look into that, if you haven’t already.

As a side note, your daughter will probably be afraid to take the kid in public if it cries a lot and very loudly, since people will give her dirtly looks, assuming she’s ignoring the child’s needs. Please be cognizant of that. People can not and will not accept that a crying baby isn’t physically suffering or extremely tired, and they will judge her and give her (often ignorant) advice. Please reassure her if she gets discouraged that the child is just fine and it will pass. She’ll need to hear that regularly. I wish someone besides our doctor had reassured us; we were just made to feel like horrible parents who didn’t know how to care for our poor, helpless child. It’s a terrible thing when the people you depend on for love and support not only don’t provide it, but essentially tear you down, especially when you’ve never done less than what’s expected of you.

For us, at 11 weeks the crying stopped. Like, one day it just stopped. Now our boy is 6 months old, in the 85 percentile for weight and head circumference, and 98% for length, and he’s just about the happiest boy you’ll ever see :slight_smile:

Good luck and God bless!

My little boy, who turns 2 in 3 days (HOLY CRAP!) had colic when he was wee - cuddling, tummy rubs, and back pats seemed to help a lot. Also, I got a heavy duty swing (this one) and put it on the highest setting, with the loudest, most obnoxious sound setting (seriously - it sounded like a pterodactyl swooping in for attack) and he would pass right out. The soothing music sounds did nothing, but that screaming bird calmed him down completely. Maybe it reminded him of my voice. :smiley:

Put her face-down straight away, then, either with one hand directly on her tummy while you’re putting her down or by putting her down and then turning her over. A tummy sleeper is a tummy sleeper is a tummy sleeper, books and doctors be damned says the tummy sleeper, sister of two tummy sleepers and aunt of one - we’re experts in tummy-sleeping! Also, figure out if there are specific ways she likes and/or hates to be held: my sister in law refused to believe that her daughter needed her arms free (my brother believed it on the first show’n’tell), but then, she also had refused to believe her son needed his legs free… she finally believed it after they tried to put the lass in one of those “ghost blankets” - not only did it hold her arms, but it prevented her from turning face-down! Did you know babies can go nuclear?

You don’t. You just endure.

Yeah, what the fuck do they know.

Yes. And it helps to have a supportive and contributing co-parent or other backup.

This is breathtakingly bad advice which you should ignore completely. x1,000.

I once managed to soothe a colicky baby I was looking after. I put him in his stroller and pushed it back and forth. I hope this was an okay thing to do. I don’t know if it’d work on another baby.

Yes, do not put the baby on the tummy to sleep!

We had some success with “football carry” — place baby stomach-down on your forearm, snug her to your side, and pat. You can also sort of join your arms under the baby, too … easier to demonstrate than to describe.

All this usually must be accompanied by marching around the room. Repeated singing of Somewhere Over the Rainbow optional.

My baby’s doc calls this move “the lion in the tree”. Her colicky days are behind her at 12 weeks, but she still loves this position so long as she doesn’t have a full tummy.

Found a YouTube demo of the football or cat-in-a-tree hold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p3T5xv1snM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Those studies are about big numbers. Both my mother and my sister in law went crazy spending hours turning their small-number, individual babies “right-side-up” - and drove the babies crazy, too. You want a cranky baby, make sure she can’t sleep. In both cases it took the pediatrician saying “for fuck’s sake, so she’s a tummy-sleeper, let her sleep on her tummy!” for the circus to stop.

There is no known cause for SIDS; there are correlations between some factors and it, but a mother and baby out of their gourd with lack of sleep are not a contributing factor to anybody’s health.

I think it’s generally accepted that if a baby can turn himself on his stomach, there is no need to constantly return him to his back.

Your two pieces of advice were to ignore what doctors say, and put the baby to sleep on its stomach as a matter of course. Both are poor advice.

That’s the advice from my maternal health nurse too - once they can turn themselves the SIDS risk is very much lowered, but you wouldn’t put the, to bed face down ever.

I had pretty easy babies, but I had real success with the Happiest Baby’s 5s’s techniques - check YouTube for vids showing people calming kids with the shussing hold etc. Invest in a sling if holding her all the time is too hard - allows the body contact to continue while you can keep cooking, hanging out washing etc. I did really good cooking shows for my little ones at times!

At 4-5 months they go through an awareness change which means they wake ful between sleep cycles, and it’s a good idea to teach her to self settle if possible, but she may need help to do this. Things like a sleep comforter (Cuski is a good one), white noise, sleeping bag etc. I found some good info about possible fussy times in Thr Wonder Weeks.

Of course, this is for a normal baby who’s had continuity of care, I no nothing about a kid who may still be needing reassurance and bonding time. Best of luck!