Don’t let this adorable little smile fool you. At first glance, my 19-month-old daughter, Harper, looks and acts like the sweetest little thing. Seriously, people comment on how great a baby we have all the time. She happily hangs out while I grocery shop, sits through about 2 1/2 hours of church each week, and hardly makes a peep or fusses in public. One person even asked me “Does that baby ever cry?” I laughed it off, but inside I was rolling my eyes and wanted to scream “If only you knew!” See, for the first few months of my sweet little Harper’s life, she was a screamer. She’d cry, holler, and wail for hours during the day and night, and even as a three-time mom, I was at a loss of what to do. I mean, sure, my other babies cried, but there was always something I could do to console them in the end. With Harper, I felt like no matter what I did she still screamed just as loud and persistent- as if she had all this pent up screaming that she just had to get out and couldn’t stop. It was awful for everyone.
I began to think something was seriously wrong with Harper. She’d scream at the same time every day for seemingly no reason. What was with the excessive crying? Why wasn’t she happy? It was really taking a toll on my nerves and patience, and I felt so bad for her being so upset. I began to think something was seriously wrong with Harper. Her pediatrician thought she might have a touch of colic- meaning more than 3 hours of crying, for more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 weeks a month. Colic usually makes an appearance at 6 weeks of age and lasts for 3-4 months, or longer for some.
Thankfully, after a few weeks of persistent crying, I started to see a pattern and I found a few things that worked to help shorten the length of crying time. Here’s a few things that helped for us:
Get a routine. This one is huge, because if you know when to expect the crying, at least you can prepare yourself (and everyone else) for it. I knew Harper did most of her crying in the evening, around dinnertime. When the big kids got home from school in the afternoon, I’d rush to help them with their homework, get them snacks, and figure out our dinner plan early. Then I’d make sure I had eaten, put my hair up, threw on some fresh, cozy clothes, take a few minutes to compose myself, and I’d prepare for Harper to get her cry on.
Wear your baby. I didn’t discover this trick until my third baby, and I so wish I had sooner. Babywearing is a great way to calm an upset baby by keeping them close and secure to mama (or dad). For little babies, something like a wrap is great, while for bigger babies, I’d suggest a carrier-style. The wraps seem a little intimidating at first, but once your figure out a good position for you and baby you’ll be a pro in no time. Harper was instantly calmed when I’d wear her- something about the tightness of the fabric around her and being so close to me helped make her feel more secure and would soothe her.
Burp, burp, and burp some more. and burp some more. I’m not sure why, but colicky babies seem to be gassier too, so extra burping is a must! As much as Harper hated it, I’d have to interrupt her eating to burp her very frequently. There was always a little burp that would come out! Sometimes she’d be crying and crying and I’d put her up on my shoulder and start patting her…even after 10 minutes or so a little burp would come out! So burp your colicky baby a lot.
Talk to your pediatrician. Trust me, the last thing I wanted to do was call Harper’s doctor and say “Hi, she just won’t stop crying. What should I do?” I mean, this was my 3rd baby- I should know what to do, right? Wrong. Every baby is different, and there’s no shame in asking questions. Even veteran moms need some extra support! I was so happy when I finally called the doctor because she suggested GERBER® Soothe probiotic Colic Drops. These drops contain L. reuteri, which is a probiotic that is safe for infants and is naturally found in breastmilk. Research indicates that the type of bacteria in an infant’s intestine may determine whether a child is colicky, and probiotics can support a balance of good bacteria in their digestive tract. While it’s not intended to cure or treat any disease, it has been clinically shown to reduce crying time in colicky breastfed infants! I received a free sample of GERBER® Soothe probiotic Colic Drops from Gerber. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you’re a formula feeding parent, Gerber also offers their GERBER® Good Start® Soothe Infant Formula, which also contains L. reuteri, and is specially designed to ease excessive crying and colic.