Parenting a newborn is a difficult experience enough with sleep deprivation, lactation, postpartum physical and emotional changes, and other changes around the home and in your relationships. When a baby suffers from colic it can further flame tempers and drive parents to near insanity.
There are a number of standard techniques that parents should use when a baby is colicky, in consultation with their pediatrician:
- First, make sure the baby isn’t being over-fed. Spit-up that has curdled is a sign that the baby is receiving more milk than he or she can process.
- Second, if mom is breast-feeding, remove common irritants such as spicy food, caffeine, dairy, grains, and nuts. If the child is on formula, consider switching formulas to see if that helps.
- Third, try to calm the child with gentle rocking, light massage, a darkened room, white noise such as a fan, and warmth from a swaddle or a warm bath.
If these approaches aren’t working you can try acupressure to improve digestion and calm your baby’s senses. Acupressure is easy to do — it is using a massage technique on acupressure points that can affect the digestive system and the nervous system.
Press your finger slowly and calmly down the outer edge of your baby’s shin, from the knee down towards the ankle. This should be done on the soft part of the muscle right on the outside of the shin bone. Do this on both legs for 30-60 seconds each. Next, press gently on your child’s tummy about 1-2 finger widths to the side of your baby’s bellybutton, again for about 30-60 seconds on each side. This point improves flow through the digestive system.
To Calm Your Child
Slowly rub your fingers up and down your baby’s mid-back a little below the shoulder blades and between the shoulder blades and the spine. If you find some hard knots in the muscles, apply slow circular pressure to release the knots. You can do this for a few minutes. Then you can lightly press the webbed area between the big toe and the second toe, about 30-60 seconds for each foot.
If these tools are not sufficient, bring your baby in for an acupressure appointment to receive a full-body treatment. I hope you return to a quieter, calmer household soon!