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Colic:

10 Ways to Help Your Baby

Sleep Through the Night

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………………..2
Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………….3
What Causes Colic?...........................................................4
More Possible Causes for Colic………………………………………………………….5
Bedtime Do’s & Don’ts……………………………………………………………………….12
10 tips for Easier Night Nursing…………………………………………………………18
Bottle Feeding Help…………………………………………………………………………….23
Soothing Baby Accessories………………………………………………………………...24
Gripe Water………………………………………………………………………………………….30
Baby Bootcamp- Parent Survival Tips………………………………………………..38
Family guide to Colic……………………………………………………………………………39
Summary……………………………………………………………………………………………….41
Books & Resources……………………………………………………………………………….44
Online Directory…………………………………………………………………………………..46

INTRODUCTION
Anyone that has had a baby, knows that the worst sound that you can hear is them crying. Although everyone knows that all newborns cry and show some fussiness, it is also clear that when a child who is basically healthy cries for more than 3 hours straight during the process of a day, it is more than likely colic that is causing it.
These days it is estimated that up to 25% of all babies have colic. It usually starts between the 3rd and 6th week after they are born, and goes away on its own by the time the baby is somewhere around 3 months old. If the baby is still crying to the extreme after that time, chances are that some sort of health problem may be the problem instead.
There are quite a few facts about colic that you may not realize. These facts are:


  • Colicky babies generally have a healthy sucking reflex and a really good sense of appetite and are otherwise healthy and growing well. Sick babies may seem to be colicky but they won't eat very well and they won't have the same strong sucking reflex.




  • Colicky babies really enjoy being cuddled and handled. Sick babies are usually uncomfortable when they are handled.



  • Colicky babies may spit up a bit, but if your baby is actually vomiting and/or losing weight something is very wrong and this is not a symptom of colic.




  • Colicky babies usually have normal stools. If your baby is hard to soothe and has diarrhea or if you see blood in the stool, call your doctor.


This all being said, you should have a better idea of trying to decipher if your child actually has colic and not a more serious problem. With this in mind, this book is going to be your comprehensive guide to understanding colic and how you can get your colicky baby to sleep through the night so that you can sleep through the night!

What Causes Colic?
Right this very moment, doctors really aren't sure what causes colic. Back in the day, a people believed that it was a milk allergy that caused colic, but doctors now believe that this is rarely, if ever, the case. The reason is because breastfed babies get colic too, and changes in the mother’s diet may help it.
It is now believed that colic is probably not caused by gas either; which is another failed belief system in dealing with colic. Research now suggests that more often than not, colicky babies get gas because they are swallowing too much air while they are feeding or crying.
Some more recent evidence is beginning to suggest that colic occurs when food moves either too quickly or too slowly through a baby's digestive system. It is also suggested that colic can be the result of the baby's individual temperament; which means that some babies just take a little bit longer to get adjusted to living outside of the womb, or that some babies have undiagnosed gastroesophogal reflux disease. Some parents think it is their own fault. That is simply not the case either.
In my daughter’s case, most of her colic episodes occurred during the late afternoon or at night. Most mothers themselves experience hormonal changes in the evening after giving birth. Prolactin is highest during sleep and during the morning, and cortisone which can affect the mother’s ability to deal with their baby is at its lowest around 6:00 p.m.
In the baby's body there are two important hormones, cortisone and growth hormone, and they are at their highest point in the early morning hours and lowest in the evening hours. In the first few months of a baby's life, these varying hormones are much disorganized.
By the time the baby reaches four to six months of age the pattern becomes more consistent and the colic will disappear. You may wonder if it is the stresses you feel that may be causing the colic in your baby. That is not necessarily true either. My answer to this very question was to take an afternoon nap whenever it was possible to recharge my much needed hormone levels. This can shorten the colic’s duration.

Hormonal Disturbances That Affect Colic

Progesterone just happens to be one of the hormones that can have calming and sleep-inducing effects. A baby receives progesterone from the placenta at birth but the soothing effect from it generally wears off in about a week or two and it is also suggested that colic occurs if the infant does not produce enough progesterone on his own. In general, the studies surrounding this are mixed at best but they do indicate colic occurs less in breastfed infants because breastfed babies receive higher levels of progesterone.
Prostaglandin; which is a hormone that causes strong contractions of the intestinal muscle, has also been thought of as a culprit in colic. One study even showed the infants develop colicky symptoms when they were given prostaglandin therapeutically to treat their heart disease.
Colic occurs at an age and stage of an infant's life when he can do nothing at all to ensure his own comfort and amusement. It is the time when they are almost totally dependent on their caregivers for any type of stimulation at all. Is it possible colic begins to subside at around three months of age because that is when babies can finally see clearly and can begin doing things on their own that they may find soothing, such as finger sucking, eye contact, and waving their arms and legs around, which I think is so that the baby can release stress? At around three months of age most babies also develop a higher central nervous system maturity.

More Possible Causes of Colic
There are a great deal of studies performed today that suggest that there is any real evidence that in colic incidence between breastfed and formula fed babies, however breastfeeding mothers often seem to exhibit better abilities to deal with their colicky baby.
Because studies think that cow’s milk may be causing colic, your doctor may choose to substitute a soy formula for regular baby formulas, but I should tell you that even soy based formula can cause colic. Approximately 35% of infants who are allergic to cow's milk-based formulas will also be allergic to soy milk-based formulas.
The reason for this is because a more recent discovery is that cow's milk allergens may enter the milk of a breastfeeding mother and irritate the baby's intestines, which result in colic. In this case trying out a dairy-free diet all together may be the best thing to do.

Ear Infections

Ear infections can also trigger colic in some babies. Some of the signs that your baby may have an ear infection are: baby seems to be in pain when they are lying down, but not while they are sitting up; he has cold symptoms such as a runny nose, draining eyes, and small fever; and he is not sleeping well. A thorough examination of your baby's ears should be part of a colic checkup.

Pediatric Regurgitation Syndrome

This condition is also called gastrointestinal reflux or in more severe cases Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD). PRS is actually a recent discovery as a medical cause of colic. Normally when food goes down your baby's throat and into his stomach, what happens is that the stomach will contract and push whatever is already in there down into the intestines.
In some babies this does not work properly, so when the stomach contract, some of the food is actually pushed back up into the esophagus and in some cases even out of the mouth. Along with the food that comes up irritating stomach acids, which may irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Signs that reflux may be contributing to colic are: spitting up after eating frequently; colicky episodes that occur shortly after eating; often waking up at night as if in severe pain; and colic that is just not going away. The proper diagnosis of reflux is generally expensive, and often requires x-rays and the insertion of a tube down the baby's esophagus to measure his stomach acids.

Urinary Tract Infections

One of the most serious and most hidden causes of colic is a urinary tract infection. These infections are very subtle in babies; they do not begin as quickly and severely as ear infections do and in fact, they can last for quite a few weeks before they are even detected. Urinary tract infections can cause kidney damage if they are left untreated. For this reason I would suggest that fussy, colicky babies have at least three urinalyses just to be safe.

Skin Rashes

Skin rashes may also be a cause of colic. Eczema, rashes caused by allergies, and diaper rashes may be the reason why the baby is colicky. When there are sudden outbursts of screaming it is reasonable to think that it may be caused by a sore bottom. The type of diaper rash that is particularly hard on baby is the raw rash that looks almost like a skin burn is caused by acid stools during diarrhea. You can bathe your baby in baking soda (one tablespoon in a couple of inches of water in baby's bathtub) to help soothe it.

Constipation

This is another possible reason for the colic that is rarely looked at. In the early months of baby’s life their stools; especially those of a breastfed infant, should be loose, soft and very often in occurrence which is about two to three times a day. Once the baby reaches three or four months some babies will normally have only one bowel movement a day. If your baby strains or turns red a lot when they have a bowel movement, and if the stool seems hard, or if it is accompanied by a few drops of blood droplets or if they have a tense, gas-filled (hard) tummy, your baby may be constipated. A visit to your doctor will tell you what to do about it.

Treating Colic
There actually isn’t any one single treatment has proven itself to be absolute in curing colic. However there are ways to make life easier for both you and your colicky baby.
First of all, you should check to see if your baby is hungry. With young babies, you simply place your finger under his chin and if he tries to suck or move toward it, then he is hungry. However, if your baby is not hungry, don't try to continue the feeding as it is a waste of time. Instead, try to console your little one in some of the ways listed below. Contrary to what people say, this is not spoiling the child. Some of the things that you can do to console baby are as follows:


  • Walk with your baby or sit in a rocking chair. The continuing movement is always soothing to a baby. Just be sure to place his head near your chest so that he can hear your heartbeat.




  • Try burping your baby more often during feedings.




  • Place your baby across your lap while he lies on his belly and rub your baby's back. This will help get air out of his tummy and prevent gas. If he burps; even better.




  • Put your baby in a swing as this swaying motion may have a soothing effect.




  • Put your baby in a car seat and go for a ride. The vibration and movement of the car are often calming. You can also place him on a washing machine or running dryer. The movements and the sounds are very soothing.




  • Play music like classical or slow music as some babies respond to sound as well as movement.



Caring for a colicky baby can be extremely frustrating for both the baby and the parent, so be sure to take care of you, too. You can’t be soothing to the baby if you are riled up you will not be able to soothe the baby. For mothers this can be even harder to deal with.
Mothers need to try to relax, and remember that your baby will eventually outgrow this phase. You should remember that, if you need a break from your baby's crying, take one. There is nothing wrong with this. Friends and relatives are often happy to watch your baby when you need some time to yourself, even if he is crying. If no one is available, it's OK to put the baby down in the crib, let him cry and take a break before making another attempt.
You can always use a walkman to blot out the cries so that you are not tempted to listen to it. You should never overwhelm yourself. If your baby takes a nap, you should do the same. Believe me, you will need it. There is more that you can do to help your baby, and they are listed below.

Know that it’s coming and be prepared
When it comes to dealing with a colicky baby it is best to plan ahead for late afternoon/evening colic by doing most of your household chores early in the morning. Make sure that if your baby has been awake most of the morning that he gets a nap in the afternoon and take one with him. A nap can really lower the frequency of the colic attacks and how long they last.
If you want to help him get a good night’s sleep you can try massaging him or swaddling him beforehand. You can also hold the baby firmly against your my chest or stomach and talk in a soothing voice for about 45 minutes or an hour. Basically just do it for as long as you have to. You should note that you should make sure that he has a clean diaper on before beginning the evening calming sessions.
In talking to your baby, you can read a long storybook or novel aloud. You can read anything that you want as the baby won’t know the difference anyway.


Stop the Crying

It makes sense to address the crying as quickly as possible. To do this I often picked up my daughter and immediately started the cuddling and walking effort. Sometimes gently, but firmly it helps to squeeze the baby’s upper arm or lower leg in a slow pulsing manner. This calmed my daughter down and sent her off to sleep without picking her up from where she was.
You can also try to walk outside with the baby where the sounds of birds and the breeze in the trees or nature in general can calm him. You can use the pacifier as well to stop the crying, but if it doesn’t work, a small bottle of sugar water helps calm the baby to relax.
Every now and then a quick ride in the car helps the baby to fall asleep. Then of course there is dancing with the baby. My daughter loved it when I would pick her up and dance to the song from Free Willy. The dance and slowly moving from side to side and up and down is oddly helpful.
You can also try to distract the baby. You can use almost anything like an unusual sound from a squeaky toy or rattle; to even the sounds of running water in the sink. All these things tend to have a temporary effect of interrupting the colic outburst long enough to calm the baby down before it gets too bad. Stopping the baby’s crying spells as quickly and calmly as possible can drastically shorten the episodes of colic.

Give Your Baby a Routine

This part sounds easy, but when you have a new baby, and perhaps a few other children, it can be very difficult, however there are certain routines that can easily be set up and followed. You can start by referring the plan ahead part mentioned above.
This is in knowing that the colicky episodes are coming up and being ready for it. Your baby will generally follow a specific time schedule for these episodes. For example, he may be more colicky in the morning or afternoon. If you know it’s coming be ready with some soothing techniques mentioned above. You should also be prepared for the in between moments when he hasn’t had an episode yet. Try having your child nap at the same time every day. In doing this, you will be able to set it up so that your child will become sleepy at this time automatically and expect to sleep. It will certainly make it easier for you.
Following this, give feedings and baths etc. at the same times as well. The routine of it will help your baby to better adapt to his day, which may cause the colicky episodes to be farther apart.
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