Ask the Expert: How Can I Soothe My Colicky Baby?
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Motion, swaddling, pacifiers, white noise, and different holds can also help reduce crying. Many of my clients have had great success with Harvey Karp’s Cuddle Cure for settling fussy babies—an approach that incorporates all of these basic comforting techniques. Karp believes that re-creating the sensations of the womb by combining “the 5 S’s” (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging/jiggling, and sucking) triggers what he calls a baby’s “calming reflex”. I’ve seen it bring many infants quickly to a state of calm. Parents can read Karp’s book or seek out a Happiest Baby Educator in their area to show them how to do the 5 S’s. Even babies who only have only occasional bouts of unexplained crying can benefit from his technique.
Although it’s incredibly stressful, parents can take some comfort in the fact that colic passes. It’s also very important to stress to them that being unable to sooth their infant is NOT a reflection on their ability to parent. I urge parents of colicky infants to seek support from others that have lived through it, and to know that it’s okay to take a break—having a grandparent, baby sitter, or friend take over occasionally can really make a difference in how they cope during this temporary but trying period.
Alison Bevan, a Fairfield County resident who struggled to get her own child to fall and stay asleep, is a certified Gentle Sleep Coach and Happiest Baby Educator. She currently owns and operates Sleepytime Coach, LLC in Norwalk, CT, and serves as pediatric sleep consultant at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Ridgefield, CT.