For educators, colic is a common condition and always an important and timely topic. Let’s discuss the ways you can help your students by including more colic awareness in your childbirth classes.
Ensure parents understand the term
Prospective parents first need to understand exactly what colic is and how to determine whether or not their baby is colicky. Start by explaining the “rule of 3.” A colicky infant cries for more than 3 hours a day at least 3 days a week and these episodes persist for 3 weeks or longer. Then describe the symptoms colicky babies frequently exhibit, such as high-pitched screaming, clenched fists and general restlessness.
Discuss ways parents can calm their colicky baby
While there is no known cure for colic, certain techniques have helped many parents comfort and calm their babies.
- White Noise. The buzzing and humming made by fans, dishwashers, vacuums, and the sounds of running water all simulate the womb environment and can be soothing to many babies.
- Vibrations. Many babies are calmed and may even fall asleep when riding in the car, during a stroller ride or rocking in an infant swing.
- The “Football Hold.” Placing the colicky infant’s belly down over your forearm puts pressure on the baby's abdomen. This gentle pressure can alleviate the symptoms of colic for some infants.
- Less Holding/Carrying. Some studies demonstrate reducing the amount of time you hold or carry a baby can also ease the symptoms of colic.
In addition to these techniques, warm baths, “slow dancing” and stomach massages are all traditional and, in some cases, proven remedies for colic.
Coping with a colicky baby can be very stressful. Reassure your parents and let them know that many other families are coping with the same stress and trying to figure out how best to make their babies less uncomfortable. In fact, approximately one-fifth of all infants exhibit the crying and fussiness symptomatic of colic. Encourage them not to panic or worry if their baby's distress seems to be beyond their ability to relieve. Emphasize to your parents that colic generally resolves on its own, usually by the time the baby is four months old. Finally, remind them that colic has no know long-term medical consequences, and colic will not prevent a baby from developing into a healthy child.
By providing useful medical information and sincere reassurance, you can help your students achieve peace of mind during the most difficult stages of their journey into parenthood.