Infant colic affects 3 out of 4 babies during the first 4 months of life. It takes the form of stomach ache that can be identified through baby’s behaviour: they cry, writhe and twist and fold their legs up towards their stomach. Don’t panic, it is simply reasonably common bloating that is perfectly harmless if dealt with swiftly! There are several methods for dealing with it:
To prevent colic:
- After each meal ensure that baby burps by patting them gently on the back to prevent bloating
- Invest in an anti-colic silicone nipple which has been designed specifically to prevent baby from swallowing air during breastfeeding
To relieve colic:
- Using two fingers gently massage baby’s stomach in a clockwise direction
- Try placing a warm hot water bottle (check the temperature carefully!) on baby’s stomach
- Lie baby on their stomach along the length of one of your forearms in such a way that their head is in your hand and their arms and legs are hanging in the air
Baby is coughing, has a runny nose, a slight temperature… Maybe they have a cold! If baby is less than 3 months old, consult a doctor. If they are older, you can treat the cold yourself at home with a few techniques.
To prevent colds
- Keep the temperature in baby’s bedroom at around 19 – 20°C
- Air their bedroom for 1 hour a day to renew the air
- Wash your hands before touching baby
- Do not sneeze when you are close to baby
- Avoid contact with people who may be infected
To treat colds:
- A baby nose cleaner is not routinely recommended. Instead use physiological serum or appropriate seawater cleansing solutions. Lie baby on their back, with their head to one side and inject small doses of the product into their upper nostril.
- Massage their thorax with essential oil that is suitable for use on babies (never before 3 months, always diluted, ask your pharmacist for advice).
Toothache and teething pains
Baby is between 4 and 7 months and has red cheeks, isn’t sleeping much and is dribbling a lot…their milk teeth have started to arrive! An inescapable period during which baby will be grizzly. But you can soothe them with these tips:
To relieve toothache and teething pains:
- Massage their gums with a gum balm 2 or 3 times a day
- Buy a teething ring for them to chew on: this can be stored in the fridge and its cool temperature relieves baby’s pain
- Give baby a rubber toy on which they can cut their first teeth
- If the pain persists, use paracetamol suppositories
From time to time baby becomes inconsolable without any apparent reason… They may quite simply be bored or stressed. A remedy against these fits: the Dr Hamilton technique. Cross baby’s arms over their torso and hold them firmly in place. With your free hand, take hold of their bottom and bend it slightly forwards (45° angle). Gently shake their bottom from left to right or from top to bottom: a miracle has occurred! Baby has calmed down!
Baby has always been so calm, but they suddenly start crying every evening at approximately the same time! Paediatricians refer to evening distress, which can occur for two reasons: baby evacuating the emotions of the day (too much noise, too many visitors…) or fear of separation and the fear of not being reunited with you on waking up.
They may seem inconsolable but there are several ways of calming them.
- Massage baby in a well-heated room
- Cradle them gently against you
- Establish a bedtime routine with, for example, a bath, a lullaby and a kiss for their soft toys
- Talk to them about seeing each other again when they wake up