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Colic is a condition in infants where the gut goes into a painful spasm, it is even more painful if air gets trapped while the gut is in a spasm. It is characterised by long bouts of crying especially in late afternoon and after feeds.

Being a first time mom can be very stressful especially if your baby suffers from colic. It is the most awful thing in the world watching helplessly as your baby suffers terrible stomach cramps so here are some very handy tips to help you through those difficult times.

The second most important thing to make sure of is not to over-feed your baby because colic is aggravated by an expanding stomach. A colic baby appears to be hungry when going through a cramping episode, this is because they need sucking- comfort. Sucking helps to relax the gut and soothe the baby so try giving your baby a pacifier when he/she is going through a cramping episode.

The first most important thing with a colicky baby when you are breast-feeding is to watch your diet, foods which create a lot of gas should be avoided. Here are a list of foods and substances to avoid: Cocoa (even in small amounts is harmful to a colicky baby), cabbage, large quantities of yeast, caffeine, coffee (even decaffeinated), alcahol and nicotine.

Water is also a very soothing source for babies because it reminds them of the womb. Add a few drops of infantile lavender drops to a warm bath. The combination of warm water and lavender oil will help calm your baby and release cramps, your baby will also sleep much better afterwards.

Massage with lavender oil will help to relax your baby’s muscles which in turn will help relax your baby, allowing you to dislodge air bubbles more easily and causing spasms to release. Here are a few simple massage steps:
Step 1: The paddlewheel. Place your palm under your baby’s chin, with your fingers pointing toward her shoulder. Rub your hand down his chest and down to the pelvis. Your stroke should be smooth and firm. As your hand is around the belly button, place the opposite hand under the chin and stroke downward, so your hands are making circles over your baby, with one hand always stroking. Do this for a few minutes.
Step 2: Your baby should still be on her back. Place your baby’s heels up to her bottom by bending her knees sharply. Move the leg, still sharply bent, until the top of the thigh rests against the tummy. Take your baby’s ankles and gently shake her legs in an up-and-down motion, unbending the knees gradually, until her heels rest on the blanket and her legs are straight. Repeat many times.
Step 3: Using as much of your fingers/palm as possible, circle the belly button in a clockwise motion. This gets any remaining gas moving in the proper direction for your baby to easily pass it.

A baby with colic needs to be swaddled tightly so that they can feel secure. Tight swaddling causes pressure to be applied on the stomach easing some of the discomfort of gut spasms. Here is one method of swddling:
Step 1: Spread out a blanket on a firm surface. Fold one corner of the blanket down. Place your baby in the middle of the fold with his head above the edge. Handy Tip: Recieving blankets are ideal for swaddling because they are thin which makes it easier to tuck the pieces securely.

Step 2: Pull the left side of the blanket snugly across your baby’s chest, making sure his right arm is wrapped close to his body. Then lift your baby’s left arm and tuck the blanket securely under his body. Step 3: Bring the bottom of the blanket up and tuck it into the first swathe. Then pull the last corner of the blanket across your baby’s chest, securing his left arm near his body.

Step 4: Tuck the blanket under your baby’s back as far as it will go. Keep your baby snugly wrapped as you pick him up.

Vibrations also help in soothing and calming a colicky baby. A vibrating chair (which you can purchase from any baby store) works wonders and they normally come with calming melodies, if that doesn’t work a car ride certainly will. The vibrations help to dislodge uncomfortable winds and rock baby to sleep.

If none of these methods help to soothe your little one you may need to look at medications. None alcoholic gripe water is great for breaking air bubbles. Bennetts colic mixture also works wonders for severe cramps, it soothes pain, relaxes baby and contains Belladonna which is an anti-spasmodic. Contact your trusted health care practioner before administering medications.

Remember breast-feeding is best for all babies. I hope these tips will help you to help your baby, allowing you to enjoy your little one.

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