Babies are gassy mainly because of any air that goes inside their stomach while crying or feeding. On the other hand, babies are colicky mainly when they are going through a growth spurt or mental leap. A mental leap occurs when your infant learns something new and he is perceiving the world in a new way. Eg. At 4-5 weeks, all of his senses are more sensitive to everything that is happening around him. This bewilders him and he doesn’t know why this is happening. This world is already new to him and now this big change makes him fussy, which is when he turns to you, the only person he can trust.
To know more about these growth spurts/mental leaps download the Wonder Weeks app or their book. Here is their site. The Wonder Weeks.
There is no way to get past either colic or digestive problems, so it’s better that we know how to deal with them even before the toothless arrives.
- Lie your baby on their back and open or remove the nappy so you have access to the lowest part of the abdomen. Rest your hand gently on the abdomen to give the baby a moment to get used to your touch. Then with hands facing horizontally (fingers pointing out to left and right sides), begin to rub down from the stomach to the base of the abdomen, one hand after the other.
- In a clockwise direction, begin to rub all around the abdomen in one big circle, from just under the ribcage, out to the side of the abdomen, to the base, and again back up towards the ribcage. It’s very important to ensure you are stroking in a clockwise circular direction as otherwise, you will work against the natural movements of the bowel.
- Finally, Do the “I Love U” stroke: Trace the letter I down your baby’s left side. Then trace an inverted L, stroking across the belly along the base of her ribs from her right side to her left and down. Trace an inverted U, stroking from low on the baby’s right side, up and around the navel, and down the left side.
- Bicycle kicks: Pull baby’s legs and then circle them around 10 times. If the baby is himself pulling his legs up to his stomach, it’s a surefire sign that he has gas.
- Extending their legs: Extend the baby’s legs so that they are straight and then release. Repeat this for 10 times too.
- Pull up the baby’s legs to the stomach: Stretch your baby’s legs and then bend the knees so that they touch the stomach. Do this slowly for around 10-15 times.
Image credits: Sophia – Spiritual Midwife and Author, based in England
Now, what you need to do is massage the lower half part of your baby’s legs. Press different points with your thumbs and rotate your thumb at that particular point.
Burping the baby
There are three ways in which you can do this:
Method A: Sit the baby on the lap. Lean him slightly forward. Put your hand underneath his chin and burp him with the other hand.
Method B: Lay the baby upside down on your lap. Pat his back with one hand and press another one against his hips.
Method C: Baby’s head is resting on your shoulder. Hold him with one hand and pat with another.
Now, parents are generally confused over how many times should they burp the baby. You need to do it every time for around 5-10 minutes. If the baby doesn’t burp this time then it’s okay, you can do it again after the next feeding.
Babies love to swaddle especially during the first 6 months. This gives them the same feeling as they got in their mother’s belly: safe and protected from this outside world. This might calm them when they feel vulnerable due to their growth spurt.
White Noise / Baby Shusher / Baby Sleep Apps
There are many apps available which produce noises that not only soothes the baby but can also lull them to sleep. Like Baby Sleep Instant which uses monotonous frequency sounds which are highly effective for infants. Some of these sounds like heartbeats, in utero sound etc., imitates what the baby used to listen while in the mother’s womb, these sounds can instantly pacify him.
Kangaroo Style Hold
Kangaroo Care or Skin to Skin care is very effective and is also recommended by various OB/GYN especially if the baby is a preemie. This is basically cuddling with your baby or holding them close to your heart. Research has also shown that babies, when held close to their mother’s heart, calms down sooner because they are able to hear her heartbeats, again something which they heard while in the womb. Kangaroo Style has various other benefits other than calming a colic baby which are an increase in breast milk production, better sleep and more weight gain.
You can also carry them in a baby wrap which is comfortable for both you and the baby.
Position your baby so that his stomach rests on your forearm and his head is supported in the palm of your hand or the crook of your arm.
Take the baby on a car drive. Babies basically have this same kind of movement while in the womb and you used to move around all day. This motion calms them and rocks them to sleep. Make sure that there is not much traffic so that he can enjoy himself (and you can have a moment of silence too!).
Rock and Roll
Move the baby around and swing him back to forth. You can also try to use various swings like the Fisher Price one or the 4 Moms Mamaroo to calm them. You will have to try various swings/cradles to finally arrive at something which works for your baby. It’s very difficult to determine what the baby wants.
Watch what you Eat
What you eat goes into the breastmilk and changes its properties. Some foods like cabbage, broccoli, citrus fruits, dairy can sometimes cause troubles in your toothless’ stomach. So just try to eliminate them one by one and see if it makes a difference.
There are many OTC medications for colic and digestive problems like probiotic drops or anti gas drops but it’s best that you consult your paediatrician before using any. If you have any other tricks which have worked perfectly with your toothless, do share it in the Comments Section below.