Understanding Colic – Comforting Positions

Colic Comfort - Positions and tips to sooth your baby

One of the most common things I see in my clinic is babies with colic – the inconsolable crying and irritability that baby suffers and frustrates and exhausts parents.

My previous blog, Understanding Colic – A Craniosacral Approach, offered some practical advice and tips on identifying and helping babies with colic. One thing that can sooth and calm is the position a baby is held in. Some of the positions outlined below help baby to relax, calm the nervous system and can help relieve abdominal pain and gas build up. The holds have been shown to have positive results with the babies I treat. You can find these and alternatives on the internet, but I thought that bringing them together in one place would benefit time limited and exhausted parents.

Experiment with the following positions. Take time and try to relax yourself, your baby will feel this.

Remember skin to skin contact is always best (where practical!). Soft noises, relaxing music, and a generally calm and intimate family environment can also help. Think ‘calm environment’, calm you, calm baby’.

Nestle Baby’s head under chin
… whilst rocking. Try talking softly.

Lying Baby on tummy on length of forearm (“The Football Hold”)
… with cheek near elbow or on palm with legs hanging over the arm

Lying baby on tummy on your legs
… as above but on one or two legs either across legs or length ways. Take care not to bounce too fast and to support baby

Dance
Dance gently and rhythmically in all directions (forward, back, up, down etc), whilst singing or to calm low volume music. This echoes our natural nomadic pace and time in the womb. Slings can be of use here, as can the above holds.

Bicycle legs
… with baby on its back move the legs up and down in a bicycle motion whilst making eye contact

Carrying
Movement helps settle baby’s nervous system and also the dramatic shifts and changes that take place during and after birth

Warm bath
… take a warm shallow bath and place baby on their tummy on yours facing you. You may find they crawl up, especially with mum as the natural movement will be towards the breast

Baby massage
… gentle pressure from a warm hand or slow circular massage techniques can help. Seek advice from a baby massage a baby massage practitioner.

The Mirror!
… one suggested technique is to hold baby in front of a mirror with its hand against it … you may be surprised by the silence of intrigue!

Baby cushion
… use a cushion or rolled up towel and place under baby’s tummy with care to turn head to side and watch baby. This technique is also great for relieving wind in adults!

Belly button
… hold a warm hand above the belly button and see what happens. After a few minutes lower it slightly, hold for a minute or so, then lower onto the tummy

The “Colic Curl”
… holding baby with head and back against you and your arms under baby’s bottom and legs, curl the legs upwards, lower, and repeat. You can also baby bicycle in this position

Use a beach ball
… hold baby and sit and bounce lightly and slowly on the ball. Alternatively lie baby tummy down over ball, holding them for safety

Feeding positions
… experiment with more upright positions using pillows or wedges so that baby is on an incline (to encourage gravity in the immature digestive tract). Wind for minimum of 20 minutes in an upright position ensuring the spine is straight and supported and without putting pressure on baby’s tummy.

Note that some babies do actually like to be left alone, so remember to try this option too. Others like repetitive noise, one often mentioned is a vacuum cleaner! You can also experiment with CDs made especially with the purpose of comforting babies.

With colic the first step is to contact your GP to eliminate other reasons for distress and lactose intolerence. I have found that craniosacral therapy helps babies with colic by helping to calm the nervous system and soften and relax the digestive tract. It can also help mums to relax and feel reassured, which in turn helps baby.

For further information or to make an appointment please contact me or call 07886 659976.

The information provided here is complementary to, and not a substitute, for medical advice.

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