Before kids, sleeping for 8 hours a night was pretty much guaranteed if that was your choice. After having kids, your sleep pattern is certainly deprived from day one. The nightly feeds, the burping and settling all takes time, but it’s all part of the role of being a mother and you accept it willingly. Having three girls 2 years apart really kept me on my toes, and I found that each of their sleeping patterns in the early years were completely different. The eldest didn’t like sleeping at all & my husband and I were constantly up throughout the night walking the boards, rocking her gently which would eventually settle her to sleep, but as soon we laid her back down into the horizontal position, she would wake and start crying again. We eventually worked out that she sometimes suffered from colic. I am sure there are many women out there dealing with this right now with their baby and will appreciate reading some tips below to help with dealing with it.
Coping with colic: 10 tips
Crying and fussing is a normal part of development for most babies. It will pass in time. But here are some ideas that might help cut down on how often, how long and how hard your baby cries and fusses:
- Check whether your baby is comfortable. See whether his nappy needs changing, or whether he’s too hot or cold.
- Offer a feed if you think your baby might be hungry, or if the last feed was more than two hours ago.
- Offer a dummy or the breast. Sometimes your baby isn’t hungry but wants or needs to suck. You could also encourage her to soothe herself by helping her find her own fingers or thumb to suck.
- Speak softly to your baby, sing to him or play soft music. He might just want to know you’re nearby, or your voice might soothe him.
- Gently rock or carry your baby in a baby carrier or sling – sometimes movement and closeness to a parent can soothe babies. Some babies quieten down when you take them for a walk in the pram. But it’s not recommended to leave your baby sleeping in a pram unsupervised.
- Try to work out what your baby needs when she cries and is hard to comfort. Some babies are bored and need the stimulation of being held, rocked or spoken to. But others seem to be easily overstimulated and need peace and quiet. You could try turning down the lights and trying to calm things down, or you could try some low-level background noise, such as a fan.
- Try baby massage. This will often calm your baby and help you relax too. It can also strengthen the bond between you and your baby. Your child and family health nurse can teach you how to do baby massage.
- A warm bath might settle your baby and promote sleep.
- Try to establish a pattern to feeding & settling, so your baby knows what to expect and can develop some ways of self-regulating.
- Ask your child and family health nurse for advice. The nurse will be able to reassure you about your baby’s health, as well as checking your feeding techniques and providing valuable tips and advice on managing your particular situation. Your child and family health nurse might also be able to advise you about settling programs and early parenting centres.
These approaches won’t magically stop your baby crying, but they might make things easier and more bearable until your baby gets older and can tell you what he needs.
Further helpful information about colic can be found at the: www.raisingchildren.net.au
I hope this information will be helpful for some Mothers and earn them a much needed reprieve from a distressing time with their baby.
“Motherhood is taking a break from sleep for 18 years”.