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Prof Nicholson's tips for coping with colic

Find a routine (however imperfect) for handling colic bouts and stick to it.

It will help to relax you and the baby. If the colic strikes at roughly the same time every day, try to free yourself to handle it. No matter what it takes, you must get breaks every day while this lasts.

Stick to the recommended feeding routines. If your baby has colic, don't be tempted to feed her as soon as she cries. Some babies can be persuaded, between feeds, to suck on a dummy for comfort and others may accept small sips of boiled and cooled water from a bottle (some parents put sugar in the water but this is not good for small babies). Try feeding your child upright and burp regularly. If you are breastfeeding, try emptying each breast completely before changing sides. Try also to get an afternoon rest – your baby may cry every evening because your milk is low – and give a full evening feed (have express milk on standby just in case). Stop eating spicy foods, caffeine and allergy-causing foods such as nuts, eggs and seafood in case they're affecting her.

Every baby is different and some of these may ease things:

Herbal teas ( especially a mix of chamomÕe, fennel and lemon balm) and fennel seed oil have some calming effects. But make sure you don't reduce your baby's milk

Avoid fruit juices containing sorbitol

Probiotics seem to help some babies

Use an anti-colic bottle and teat

Swaddle your baby in a light blanket and hold her close

Soothe her with a baby massage or bath

Take her for an evening walk

Trying anything that makes ' white noise' like a hairdryer or a heartbeat tape

Let her suck on a dummy. If nothing else, it can distract her

Use the traditional ' colic carry'. Lie her, face down, over your lap on your forearm to increase pressure on her stomach.

Don't expect a miracle cure but find your own routine and a lot of patience. It will get better.

Taken from When Your ChilÕd is Sick – What you can do to help by Professor Alf Nicholson and Grainne O'Malley. Published by Gilll & Macmillan

Mother & Babies