How To Avoid Colic In Newborns

COLIC, a 5 letter word that makes a mother start to shudder...even if you don’t have a baby anymore! If you’re anything like me, you have memories of holding a screaming newborn in your arms trying ANYTHING and everything to stop it. In fact, I have this photo from my oldest daughter’s newborn scream sessions to prove it….

 
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What is Colic? 

According to KidsHealth.Org Colic is:

“Colic is defined as crying for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, for at least 3 weeks.”


While colic doesn’t have a known cause, there are certain ways we can minimize or avoid colic with your newborn. 

Avoid Overtiredness

This was EXACTLY why my husband is pictured with a screaming baby in his arms. I had NO clue that a newborn could only handle 45-60 minutes of awake time. So mama, right now...go ahead and take out your watch or phone stopwatch and start it up! From the moment your baby wakes, start a timer of 45-60 minutes. When the timer goes off, they need to be in the process of falling asleep. I go deeper into Newborn Daytime Routines in my Online Newborn Course that is included within our Little Z’s Sleep Society. 

Avoid Stimulation

Your newborn doesn’t need to be “worn out” physically to fall asleep...they just simply are worn out by BEING AWAKE! This is actually called sleep pressure. We all have a ceratin amount of awake time we can handle before we need to sleep off the pressure built up from the awake period. Dr. William Dement, the founder of the National Sleep Foundation puts it like this:

Think of wearing an invisible backpack. For every hour you are awake during the day, put a brick into the backpack. Eventually that load gets too heavy and needs to be emptied. 

This is sleep pressure! Your newborn just simply needs to be awake for 45-60 minutes and it’s time to unload that sleep pressure! 

With this in mind we need to be aware of not layering on tons of exposure to stimulants during the awake window. If you’re looking to entertain your newborn, choose simple picture books or even black and white contrast photos which often create interest for baby. Avoid screens and choose to sing to your baby or head over to WeeTalker’s course, ‘Talk, Sing & Read to Baby’ to learn simple rhymes for baby! Think simple activities for your newborn, and remember that the pressure to entertain is not there!! The awake window is small and soon it’s time for a nap again!

In The Moment

Of course, there will be many moments where you feel as if baby IS colicy, endless screaming, and you’re left frustrated. In these times, I suggest working through Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s (which I teach in the Newborn Course): 

  • Swaddle

  • Side 

  • Sway

  • Shhhing

  • Sucking (pacifier)

Once we learned the 5 S’s for my daughter, it really did help those moments of screaming. But to be perfectly honest, I could never get her to calm. I was tense, frustrated and wore my stress externally. My husband, Chad, who was more able to be calm in the moment, was often able to get our baby to soothe using the 5 S’s. 

If you’re ever having feelings of frustration that cause you to feel anger towards your baby, put your baby down immediately in their bassinet or crib. Your baby is safe in this position and you need to take a moment to breathe deep, walk away and compose yourself. This is also a moment to phone your partner, neighbor, family member or friend who could come to your aid. It’s always a better idea to lay baby down in a safe place rather than hold them frustrated and angry. Call for help, take a breath. 


Wherever you are in the journey with your newborn, know that you’re not alone. This is indicative of how the rest of their baby-hood will go. When you’re ready to learn more and dig deeper into Newborn Sleep I’d love to invite you to join the Little Z’s Sleep Society where you can begin with the Newborn Sleep Course and continue on every month learning new changes, strategies and techniques to ensure sleep is a thing…for good! BONUS? There’s a community of moms with newborns who value sleep, already talking and sharing their experiences. Join us? >>HERE<<

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