Colic and Infant Massage
Enough to strike fear into any parent, colic isn’t even a ‘real’ condition – in that it is a term used when a baby is crying for a prolonged period of time for no discernible reason, and usually in the evening. There is a rule of threes – three hours of crying more than three times a week, up to three months of age. Apparently there are new rules – starts within three weeks, for three weeks or more but between you and me I think the last two were just to invent new rules of three.
Also known as infant colic, infantile colic or baby colic, unlike the horse variety, colic isn’t life threatening – only sanity threatening. Dealing with a screaming baby, often in the evening (also known as the witching hours between 5 and 8 – you know, just when your partner gets home and you want to wind down) day in, day out can test the patience of a saint. Suddenly all the smug/lucky/lying mums with their angels settling at 7pm sharp after a Gina Ford-esque style routine and eyes are cast skywards for a ‘why me’ moment.
Fear not! We have tips to help and downloads available. But first I just want to advise you to look after yourselves – get Dad, granny, auntie or whoever to take up the slack – 5 minutes of peace (yes it is OK to walk out the front door and keep on walking for a while when your baby is in safe hands) is worth a great deal when you have been pacing the floor since tea. A massage, a bath, a still-hot cup of tea – all quite rare yet important so make some time for yourself – please? I would imagine that online support groups within the baby websites will also yield a plethora of similarly dishevelled and desperate for tips parents so at least when the only position that helps is bolt upright against your shoulder, you can surf the ‘net with your free hand. Sympathy may be in short supply from your similarly stressed and exhausted partner so feel free to vent to others instead.
One of the greatest benefits of baby massage is the effect on colicky babies, coupled with the enjoyment of parents spending some non-screaming/pacing time with baby. My advice would be two-fold – a full massage routine carried out at a calm time of the day (usually morning, after the feed has gone down fully (maybe one hour) as a regular feature, plus use the emergency tips featured in No Cry Baby to help ease symptoms of the colic itself. Of course your baby won’t be so amenable during a colic episode but I would hope that symptoms would ease over time with the techniques shown in the full massage routine.