Moms offer their colic-relieving hacks

Does your baby suffer from colic? While there are no proven treatments for colic, these tips and techniques from other moms might help you soothe your colicky baby.

Nobody knows what causes colic, but when your baby is in excruciating discomfort for hours on end, you’ll do anything to help them. These mothers discovered some answers to beating colic blues in surprising places.

The extractor fan cure

“At 4 weeks old, Mia cried hysterically from 8 pm till 1 am. I tried feeding, cuddling, and rocking her. Eventually, she’d fall asleep lying on me or Dan, my partner, but as soon as we put her in her cot, she’d start crying again. Then Dan read that loud, continuous sound is calming because it’s similar to womb noise. We searched around and chanced on the kitchen extractor fan. Willing to give anything a try, I rocked Mia while standing close to it. Miraculously, she stopped crying and went to sleep in minutes. On the worst night ever, Mia cried until 3.30 am and so, in desperation, we put her in her Moses basket on the kitchen floor with the fan turned on, while we slept on the sofa bed in the lounge. We were so relieved that it worked and, even in our exhausted state, we could still see the funny side of such a random thing doing the trick!” – Paula Spence  from Johannesburg, mom to Mia

Walk and talk 

“Seif’s colic started when he was 4 weeks old. The ‘walking and talking’ solution came from my husband, Ahmed. One night he picked Seif up and held him so that Seif’s back was against Ahmed’s chest. Then Ahmed walked Seif around the house, going into each room and naming everything. He’d say, ‘Now we’re entering the blue room; it’s blue because of the blue curtains, and look, Seif! What’s on the wall? It’s a painting. Where did this painting come from? Mommy and Daddy bought it in Bali on their honeymoon.’ Then he’d go into the kitchen and see what was cooking. I’d join them on the tour, so it would be like a family outing. Seif loved it and it seemed to distract him from the pain.” – Samiha Fares  from KwaZulu-Natal, mom to Seif

Warm water 

“Bongile was 6 weeks old when the colic started, and she would cry continuously all evening. I found it tough seeing my baby in this state and got really upset and worried. My stress levels shot through the roof. I knew it was colic, as at the time, I was a senior nursery nurse. I tried giving Bongile infant colic medicine, but it didn’t work. However, I did find that giving her a bath soothed her. The warmth of the water seemed to calm her down every time. It was such a relief that something helped to ease the pain. When her colic was really bad, we would give Bongile five baths, followed by a massage every day. It was such a help.” – Thumi Shabalala from Johannesburg, mom to Bongile

The homeopathy route

“George was 2 weeks old when his colic started. I’d bath him at 7.30 pm and he’d wake two hours later crying, grimacing, and with a hard tummy. John, my partner, or I had to sleep upright with George in our arms – you could see he was desperate for sleep, but as soon as we laid him flat he’d start crying again. I’d heard about cranial osteopathy as a solution for colic and was considering it, when I met Jo, a homeopath, who advised combining the cranial osteopathy with homeopathy. After taking an in-depth history, Jo gave George two tablets that dissolved under his tongue. After the first day, he was like a different baby. The tummy ache had gone and we could lay him down flat to sleep. It was fantastic to see him settled and I’ll definitely try it again if I have another baby with colic. I’d never have gone that route if I hadn’t been desperate, but it really did work.” – Jodie Batchelor, from Port Elizabeth, mom to Lily and George

The Bob Marley cure

“Jules started getting colic at three weeks old. She’d be happy all day and feed well but come 6 pm she’d start getting upset, and all she wanted to do was suck and feed. Within 30 minutes she’d be wailing, and this would go on every night until about 9 pm. It was stressful and my husband would put on music to calm us down. One evening, he put on some Bob Marley and started gently dancing around the room, cuddling Jules. She stopped crying and her body seemed to relax. When the song finished, she tensed up and started crying until the next song came on. We did the same thing the next night and once again, she stopped crying. But we found it had to be reggae music – nothing else worked! We think it was the slow, heavy, rhythmic bass that she found soothing – perhaps it sounded a bit like my heartbeat when she was in the womb. Whatever it was, it worked for us.” – Michaela Wright from Grahamstown, mom to Jules  

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