Colic and chocolate - top tips for new parents.

As a mum of seven I am often asked for tips, the best of my wisdom learned after 20 plus years of being a mother, kernels of knowledge which could make a new parent's life easier. Um, yes. OK. The biggest thing I learned- children are all different so each new baby makes me a new mum again.

However I have obviously picked up some practical tips and so thought it might be useful to share.

One of the things I have been asked about many times is how to cope with colic.

"Colic is a medical term for excessive and frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed.  It usually begins within the first few weeks of life, but often stops by the time the baby is four months old and by six months at the latest. In most cases the intense crying occurs in the late afternoon and the baby may clench their fists and draw their knees up to their tummy or arch their back."

Firstly, don't suffer the misery of colic alone - ask experts like your GP, pharmacist and heath visitor for help and expert advice. Grandma, the neighbour and the mad cat lady on the bus will all have an opinion on how they or their mother fixed it.  Largely you can ignore their advice!

When my first son developed a terrible case of colic I was at my wits end as evening after evening was lost to a red-faced screecher who screamed and screamed with his little knees drawn up to his painful tummy.

I was given some frankly dodgy recommendations from well-meaning friends and family which included administering alcohol nightly to my 8 week old baby. I ignored that gem!

Baby #7 aged 4 days - just normal crying not colic.
So I spoke to my health visitor and she advised we massage his back. I spent hours every night with him lying him facedown across my knees rubbing his back. It helped  and at least it made me sit and rest in the evenings I suppose but at the time I would have given anything to just have cuddled him the right way up!

My next tip is one for those who use a bottle to feed, formula or expressed milk.  I  changed to a different design bottle - some advertise themselves as being better for colicky babies. I'm not sure it really helped but it made me feel I was at least trying!

A recent study from Nelsons who make Nelson's Colica Colic Granules revealed that 49% of parents think that colic is the most distressing ailment their baby suffered with. I can see why - before I had DS#1 I just thought it was one of those terms parents bandy about to scare you like "sleepless nights" and "zero libido" but when we were hit with a colicky baby we realised colic is not just a word-it's like one of those dreadful Japanese endurance competitions.

I honestly thought we would never have another pleasant evening again - 6pm almost on the dot it would start, until about midnight. My top tip here if you even suspect colic would be speak as soon as possible to your GP, midwife, or health visitor who will know the latest tricks and maybe pop in and see your pharmacist and ask what products they might recommend.

Nelson's have come up with some very sensible suggestions which I thought might prove useful to anyone experiencing colic:

  • Try soothing baby with a gentle rocking by walking round the house while holding them. You could also try taking them out for a ride in the car as the vibration, noise, movement and change of scenery can be soothing.
  • Give your little one a gentle massage on their stomach.
  • Try giving your baby a colic remedy like Nelsons Colica Colic Granules, a homeopathic medicinal product used within the homeopathic tradition for the symptomatic relief of colic.
  • Hold your baby close so that they can  hear your heartbeat to help calm them.
  • Your baby spent months bathed in a warm amniotic fluid so try a warm, peaceful bath. 

 They all sound worth a go - I remember my husband taking our son for a drive down the nearby bypass and back - a round trip of about 40 minutes - to give me a break. I remember once falling asleep and realising he'd been gone for two hours. The car motion had sent baby to sleep so he'd pulled into a lay-by and had a nap himself!

Definitely don't be afraid to try remedies from the chemist. The latest (natural) weapon available against colic is Nelsons Colica Colic Granules, a homeopathic remedy which contains a unique formulation of a 30c potency of natural Citrullus colocynthis and Dioscorea villas. I used Nelsons teething granules with my children and they were amazing!

Priced at just £5.80 from Amazon, Boots and Morrisons these new Colica granules are in the same sort of format - pre-dosed you empty a sachet into baby's mouth as required, as often as every two hours up to six doses in 24 hours.

How handy to be able to carry round light-weight sachets of pre-measured doses of the granules which are suitable for most babies over 1 month old (check with your Dr before using if your baby is lactose intolerant).

DS#1 after end of colic stage
You can learn more about Nelson's Colica Granules on their Facebook page which has lots of FAQs and advice for coping with colic, teething and coughs and colds.

So. You may have noticed in the title of this post I mentioned top tips on colic and chocolate. I've certainly given you a fair few tips about coping with colic but where does the chocolate come into it?

Ah well that's for you. You can have a couple of squares of chocolate, administered whenever necessary, up to your own set limit  every day. Don't like chocolate?

 You can substitute a book, some trashy TV, biscuits or grapes- whatever feels like a treat. If you are a parent coping with a colicky baby, you deserve it. Take time to look after yourself and don't get too down about it all - this horrid stage will pass!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.