Colic is one of the hardest things to deal with, when you have a newborn. Whether you breastfeed or not. The beauty however with a breastfed baby, is that colic can be fixed sometimes a whole lot easier.
I say that because you have very few options when you’re not breastfeeding. There are many avenues you can take with a breastfed baby, to relieve or eliminate colic all together.
How do you distinguish colic from other ailments? Typically, if your baby is screaming for hours at a time, pulls her knees up to her chest, and sometimes can see a blue tinge above the upper lip - it’s colic. Colic is air/ gas trapped in the bowel, the bowel spasms causing pain to the baby.
What can you do to help your baby?
* Check that you don’t have an overactive let down . (http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/fast-letdown/) Your baby’s colic could be the result of too much air being gulped whilst feeding, typical of a baby trying to keep up with a fast flow. Watch and listen to your baby whilst feeding and let down. If you notice baby is gulping down air, try feeding baby in a more upright position (Biological Nurturing: Laid-Back Breastfeeding ). Lie on your back with baby lying on top of you to feed. Or take baby off the breast at the beginning of your let down, catch the spray in a towel or bowl ( to save) then relatch.
* What are you eating? Often what we eat is a cause of colic in infants.All babies are different, so it becomes a process of elimination. Write down everything you eat, and see if your baby is more affected the next day by a particular food.
* Are you taking fenugreek? Fenugreek is a cause of colic in infants, and can be blamed if baby did not suffer before you started taking the supplement. It is known to upset babies tummy.
* Are you eating oats? Oats are another cause, one I personally didn’t know, and ended up with a severe colicky baby for 4- 5 weeks.
* Dairy proteins - If you have tried your elimination diet, next try cutting out all dairy. Remembering it can take up to 3 weeks for dairy proteins to leave your systems.
* Colic drops/ gripe water/Probiotics - Some babies will respond very well to these products, remember to check labels for no added alcohol. If you can find a drop with fennel and ginger in it, those will naturally help to ease tummy pain. Probiotics have been proven in recent studies to be just as effective as gripe water.
Some other things you can try to help alleviate babies symptoms of colic are :- Pumping babies legs as though she’s riding a bicycle.
Massage baby’s belly in a circular clockwise motion with a little coconut or almond oil with 1 drop of lavender oil added.
Warm baths with a few drops of lavender oil in the water, can be a god send for mother and baby alike.
Remember too, to nurse as much as baby wants, being at the breast is often a way that calms you both, and quite often calm baby enough to pass so much gas your eyes start to water!
Wear your baby as much as possible, your movement throughout the day is often a great help to shift baby’s gas.
Lay baby on her tummy on a firm bed or couch, rub, pat, jiggle her butt from side to side.
If none of these suggestions work, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t last forever! Baby will grow out of it. The best advice I can give in that situation is to invite as many close friends and family members as you can, often, to come over to help out. Whether that means comforting the baby, washing the clothes, or cooking dinner. The help will be appreciated, you will need it - so take it!
A baby with colic is heartbreaking, emotionally and physically exhausting. A range of emotions and fears will bombard you. When your baby screams and screams, you feel as though you’re doing something wrong. Or worse - failing your baby. Remember you’re only human. It is normal to feel these things, but you must also remember that it is just one of those things. There is no fault, there is no blame to be laid at anyone's feet. At the end of the day, you do your best for your baby. Keep nursing, keep trying to find that thing or the many things that will help make your baby comfortable. Know that in doing those things, you are doing the best for your baby, and it will pass.