Your baby cries to tell you something. This is totally normal and we respond by going through a mental checklist until we soothe the cries…
Hungry? Feed them.
Wet or soiled nappy? Change their nappy.
Tired? Settle to sleep.
Uncomfortable? Change positions, adjust clothing, walk or bounce.
Overstimulated? Shushing and blocking vision (with a close cuddle, darkness etc.)
Needing connection? Skin to skin, feed, cuddle.
Sometimes though, your baby may continue to cry despite your best effort to soothe them! When this continues on and on it is hard physically and emotionally. This type of cry is often referred to as colic or PURPLE crying and at it’s extreme is something that is just to be endured until bub comes out the other side. Before you give up and prepare to endure weeks of an upset baby I urge you to do all you can to seek out the cause. Often some simple changes can make a world of difference!
True colic begins around 3 weeks old and stops around 12 weeks old. Not all excessive newborn crying is colic though. If you’re in the midst of sleepless nights and newborn crying sessions, just know that there are options to explore. Get some help to figure out your next best steps because sleep deprivation is a beast and you shouldn’t expect yourself to figure it out alone while you’re that exhausted and clouded with brain fog. Give yourself some grace.
Last month we popped a question up on our facebook page that read:
Having a crying and unsettled baby is so so hard. What made a difference for you and your baby? Any tips to share to support another mum who is reading this and needing help tonight?
There was a huge number of replies so we have collated them here to make an easy, crowd-sourced resource for families struggling through that newborn period. The following are ideas from other mums
Dairy free diet or hydrolysed formula.
Avoid chocolate, onion, garlic if breastfeeding.
Soy and gluten free diet.
ADJUST FOR COMFORT
Front pack or sling, wear your baby upright.
Skin to skin, stand barefoot on the grass.
Loose clothing for bub, tight waistbands and tags on clothing can be enough to irritate some.
Swiss ball and bouncing while holding bub upright.
Lots of walking and “colic hold”.
Tummy massages, bicycle legs, move pelvis around, burp well.
Burping during and after feeds.
Briefly lay down before picking up to burp/wind.
Change your breastfeeding position to cope with fast letdown. Google colic positions, YouTube Nancy Mohrbacher.
Paced bottlefeeding (to mimic breastfeeding).
SEEK PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
Check for tongue and lip ties.
Call plunketline for reassurance.
Check out local support networks. E.g. Mothercraft, Family centres, feeding support.
ACCEPT HELP FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Get support people to take baby for long walks in the pram.
Ask for help, know you’re not alone.
Take a break.
TRY A PRODUCT
Earplugs (some may laugh at this suggestion, but for those with a noise sensitivity they can make all the difference!)
If you’re ready for affordable ongoing sleep support, check out the Peacey Sleep Club.
Laura Peacey is an infant and child sleep consultant who helps overwhelmed new mamas become confident and unruffled by the ever-changing sleep needs of their baby so they can thrive in their motherhood. With membership, the Peacey Sleep Club, aims to provide the right advice, just when you need it. No commitment, cancel anytime. www.peaceysleep.co.nz/membership