Every parent has wondered this as their new baby starts crying. "Is this colic?" "How much crying is normal?" "What can I do?" We've all been there, at the zero hour and have been rocking, shushing and soothing our sweet little one for longer than we can imagine.
So what is a girl to do when she sees her friend with this struggle? Here are a few tips on how to help a mom with a colicky baby.
1. Offer to hold her baby. We aren't meant to do this parenting thing alone and accepting help from a friend or family member can be life changing. Give her some time to collect herself, rest for her arms and heart. My friend Kristy said "someone held my colicky baby for an hour during Bible Study and I was so grateful, I cried." Offer to take the baby on a walk in the stroller, or any of these other colic tips.
2. Make a judgement call if you think that she needs a shoulder to cry on, someone to just listen, if she would be open to gentle and unjudgemental advice or a sympathetic experience. Remember, she's most likely running on fumes of minimal amounts of sleep, so tread carefully! Did you know that research suggests that gut health may be linked to colic and that probiotics may help? Chiropractic care has also done wonders for moms in my local facebook support groups!
3. Find out what kind of snack, food or drinks provide comfort to her. Jamie, mom of two, suggested "just sending a hand written note saying something like "I've heard you guys have been having some challenges with the new baby, please know I'm thinking about you and praying for you regularly. " Just knowing you are being acknowledged and having done one validate the struggle us huge, and a hand written note means even more than just a fast message online (though that is appreciated too). "
4. Help her out with some light cleaning or other chores that have fallen behind on.
5. Take her older kids out to play. A colicky baby is tough on everyone in the family; mom and dad may be feeling guilty that the bigs are having to be constantly shushed when the baby is finally asleep, and the bigs need freedom to be themselves.
6. Share snarky facebook memes with her! She may just need a laugh in the middle of the night.
7. Bring over a "do not knock" sign. They are very easy to DIY through Pinterest or buy on Etsy. I disconnected our doorbell shortly after having our first baby because we have over protective dogs, but it's nice to have a sign out for the mail man to know to leave packages etc.
8. Think about helping beyond the first month of baby's life. Colic sometimes starts later in infancy, long after friends and families help the parents with the newborn boost of support. Jamie remembers from when her second child was born, "there is a lot of help when the newborn arrives, but after a month or so, that ends, just as the colic kicks up. The months of colic (or for us, allergy reactions) were especially hard because everyone seemed to think "oh, they don't have a newborn anymore, they should be in a good routine by now), when in reality, we were needing the help more than ever because of the many months of sleep deprivation and screaming and having no idea when it would end or how to help it."
A little about this month's sponsor, Gerber® Soothe:
All babies cry. It's a fact of life and it's how they communicate. A crying baby isn't necessarily a colicky baby or an unhappy one. It's one of the ways they tell us how they feel and that they need something else. A baby crosses over into colic territory when they fit the "Colic Rule of 3," which is 3 hours of crying per day, 3 days a week for 3 weeks.
When assessing your baby for the reasons why they may be crying there are a lot of great colic tips on how to help them such as feeding, rocking, shushing, swings, white noise, swaddling and comforting probiotics such as Gerber® Soothe which has different products for babies that are breastfed versus formula fed.
Gerber® Soothe probiotic drops (for breastfed) and formula provide the comforting probiotic called L. reuteri, which has been shown to reduce crying time for colicky babies when used for a week. Colic may mean an unbalanced gut and providing a balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract can provide digestive comfort and help with a fussy baby.
Got pictures of your smiley baby? Post it on instagram and use #formulaforhappiness!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Gerber® Soothe, which believes in less crying for baby means more smiling for all. I received a free sample of Gerber® Soothe products from Gerber®.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.