Today Anabela is three months and 13 days. Although I had a really quick delivery first two months were quite hard for all three of us, as we were trying to figure each other out and see how to help Anabela get eat, sleep and poop well. :)
Anabela was breastfed with addition of formula milk for first two months and now she is fully formula fed (she takes Almiron Advance Digest) which probably increased the likelihood of cramps and colic which she had. Our pediatrician and our duola helped us tremendously with various methods, organic medication and treatments to sooth colic and help Anabela feel calmer and sleep better. In this post I am sharing all we learned.
Swaddling imitates baby's position in the womb thus it calms baby down. Wrap keeps arms straight to the side (usually a baby wakes up when her hands move) but lets the hips to be loose. Make sure you use a large square blanket, but don’t overheat, don't cover your baby’s head or allow loose blankets which can end up in baby's mouth.
2. SLEEPING ON A SIDE OR ON STOMACH.
Sleeping on the back is the only safe position for sleeping for a baby but it’s the worst position for calming fussiness. Instead of having your baby sleep on it's back try putting your baby on her side, on her stomach or over your shoulder until it falls asleep.
In the womb the sound of the blood flow is a shush louder than a vacuum cleaner. The best way to imitate these magic sounds is with a white noise CD (because it's portable so you can use it in your car or on the round while traveling).
We are using Fisher Price cod mobile with 3 different melodies and white noise, it also contains night light which projects stars to the ceiling. To calm baby's crying play the white noise as loud as your baby cries. To help baby fall a sleep -play it as loud as a shower.
When she is really upset I walk around carrying Anabela and I gently press her head sideways on my chest, I give her soothing pacifier and make shushing sound with my mouth while walking through the apartment with dim lights and I gently cradle her.
We choose a music to teach her when it's time to go to sleep. So each night we play this same music at the same time as we change her to pajamas and feed her last time before going to sleep.
4. SWINGING THE BABY.
Usually slow rocking is ok to keep baby calm, but to soothe crying baby your motion needs to be fast and tiny, kind of jiggly. Always support the head of the baby and keep your motions small but never, never, never shake your baby in anger or frustration. This is why it's important you have a helping hand during first 3 months of your baby's life.
It's easy to get frustrated when sleep deprived for days and when the baby is attached to you 24/7. Whenever you feel tired, helpless, sleepy hand the baby to your partner or whoever is helping you and take time alone to calm down. Baby can definitely feel your frustration and this will not help to calm it and make it fall asleep.
Many fussy babies relax into a deep tranquility when they suck. If you are breastfeeding you can try to offer baby your breast when fussy or a pacifier. For Anabela Avent soothing silicon pacifiers do the trick, my friend with a baby three months older then Anabela also recommends Mam pacifiers.
Shop products recommended in this post:
When feeding your baby make sure baby's head is in higher position then it's stomach. We also used Dr.Brown bottles which reduce colics. If you see your baby is struggling with gas and cramps (bringing her knees towards her stomach, stomach is hard and/or baby has issues pooping, clenching her fists etc.) make sure you burp her/him during feeding and after feeding. Either way, you should always burp your baby to prevent reflux, digestion problems and stomach pains.
If your baby is gassy, try to hold him/her as a football (american football) by placing baby's stomach on your forearm and baby's head in the palm of your hand sideways or in your elbow (depending what feels more comfortable for you and your baby).
Across the Lap Hold
If this doesn't work try to place the baby across your lap belly down. This position is also good to help baby burp.
'I Love You' Belly Massage
Belly massage has proved really good for us with Anabela. Our duola (post birth support) taught Ante and I how to massage Anabela's belly to help her poop and get the air our of her bowls, thus soften her stomach and reduce cramping. I will do the video on this topic soon but it;s super simple. We did this massage twice a day after changing the baby right there on changing table. Try to do it when your baby is relaxed and fed.
Your baby should poop once or ideally twice a day. If your baby has issues with bowl movement and constipation you can also try rectal glycerin inserts in the morning and evening after feeding to stimulate and help your baby poop.
Gripe Water / Colimil Drops
One of the things which worked best for colics (the same day we used it) was Gripe Water which we ordered from Amazon, we use 5ml 5-6x per day, we just add it to the milk bottle.
If you are breastfeeding you can use a syringe you get with the drops and give your baby drop her drop on the side from the inner side of the cheak and then just offer a pacifier right after so she swallows it and continue until your baby takes recommended dose.
It's a herbal remedy for colics many doctor's recommend usually used in UK. If you don't shop online, you can try Colimil drops which you can find in most European pharmacies. They are also herbal.
Since she was born Anabela is very observant, she keeps looking around with her big eyes and she catches each stimuli from the environment and reacts to it: light, sounds and scents. This makes it hard for her to fall a sleep during the day. We also noticed that she gets irritated very quickly and starts crying if we don't figure out right away what she wants (food, change her diaper, needs to fart etc.).
Our pediatrician recommended a very successful osteopath, even though I was skeptical and scared she would crack her back or something, I was pleasantly surprised. We went to two treatments where she just gently touches and presses certain spots on Anabela's back, neck, stomach and hips with her fingers and holds.
Few days after each treatment we noticed Anabela managed to sleep longer periods during the day and she sleeps all through night and only wakes up once for feeding and falls right back to sleep.
I hope this post helps at least one baby and one new mum sleep better! :)
Do let me know if you have any more useful tips on this topic bellow in comment!