WAH! WAH! WAAAAHHHH!—the most heartbreaking sound to a parent’s ears. What’s really tough is not knowing if baby’s cries are a signal of sickness or colic.
Lucky for you, health coach and parenting expert Sara Snow has all the tips and tricks you need to help little ones when they’re feeling under the weather.
So, what is colic, exactly? It’s a condition in which a baby cries inexplicably for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week. The weird thing is, doctors haven’t been able to nail down what causes it—but they presume that an infant’s personality and immature nervous system are both factors. Colic usually rears its ugly head at about 2 to 3 weeks old, and may last up to four months. If your baby throws fits around the same time every evening, shows other visible signs of pain (e.g. an arched back, tightening in the face), or seems to resist your attempts to console them—it could be colic.
As excruciating as it is to watch, there are a few things you can do to help. First off: hold them tight and hold them often. The more you snuggle a baby early in the day, the less fussy they’ll be later. You can also try to recreate the comfort of the womb with white noise, changing positions frequently when you hold them, or giving them a warm bath.
Aside from colic, a cold or other infection is likely to come up at some point, too. Get prepared with Snow’s top wellness tips to keep you and baby happy and healthy in any situation:
- Use saline drops and a nose aspirator to help clear your child’s nasal passages.
- Turn on a humidifier to add moisture to the air to help loosen baby’s mucus and ease congestion.
- Keep natural remedies for cold relief on hand!
- Try immune system–boosting supplements designed specifically for kids, like echinacea goldenseal, black elderberry syrup, and vitamin D to help baby recover more quickly from an infection—and help ward off sickness in the first place.
- If you do get sick while nursing, don’t worry—you’ll be passing on beneficial antibodies that’ll help baby fight the illness.
Press play to see the rest of Snow’s advice. Whether it’s illness or colic, you’ve got this! Just remember: take care of yourself, too!