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6 Things You Should Never Do To Get A Colicky Baby To Sleep

The thing that hit me hardest as a new parent was the lack of sleep. With my first, there were days when I wondered if I'd ever sleep again. And about the only thing I remember vividly from that hazy newborn period was asking other moms when their babies started sleeping longer at night. Having a colicky little one is exhausting, but there are still things you should never do to get a colicky baby to sleep. Looking back on being a new mom, it would've been nice to know what suggestions I should ignore from the start.

According to Parents, the actual medical definition of colic is unexplained crying for longer than three hours a day and over three days a week. Every baby goes through crying stages and difficulty with sleep, but colic can take it to a new level. Colic signs usually start between 2 and 3 weeks old, escalate at 6 to 8 weeks, and finally fade around 3 to 4 months. However, the American Pregnancy Association reports that some babies may even experience colic until 9 months old. And because the actual cause of colic is rough to pinpoint, it can difficult to know how to soothe a colicky baby.

Sometimes, what's even more difficult, however, is knowing what not to do. Below are a few things you definitely should not do when getting your colicky baby to sleep.

1

Ignore Your Baby

What to Expect notes that it's important to respond to your colicky baby. Some parents want to utilize sleep training once their babies have reached a certain age, but if your little one is colicky, it may actually have the reverse effect. Studies show responding quickly to your baby will reduce crying in the long run.

2

Offer Medicine

Although medication may be necessary if prescribed by your pediatrician or if your baby is sick, it shouldn't be used as a sleeping aid. According to The Baby Sleep Site, pediatricians worry that if babies take medications long-term, they may become dependent on them to fall asleep – psychologically or even physically. Combine the long-term effects with the fact the majority of colicky babies are too young for most medicines, it's a good idea to avoid it.

3

Try Cereal In A Bottle

Regardless of what you may have heard, cereal in your baby's bottle isn't a good solution to get them to sleep. According to healthychildren.org, a baby's digestive system isn't ready to process cereal until around 6 months old. Additionally, giving babies cereal before they're developmentally ready can up the chances of gagging or inhaling it into their lungs.

4

Over Stimulate

Flipping on the TV, turning on lights, or even talking during colicky fits may actually make things worse. According to What to Expect, keeping a peaceful environment, with little distraction, is best to help a colicky baby sleep. This generally means dimming lights, shutting out noise, and staying calm and quiet if possible.

5

Get Worked Up

Constant sleepless nights are sure to affect anyone's mood. Parents notes that you still need to make it a priority to take care of yourself. If you notice you're getting frustrated or feel unusually angry, it's time to walk away for a couple minutes. Never allow yourself to get too agitated; instead, take a breather and go back in or switch off with your partner.

6

Shorten Nap Time

Although it may seem counterintuitive to encourage nap time with a colicky baby who's awake at night, it's actually a good thing, according to Colic Calm. Making sure your baby is getting enough sleep, even during the day, can actually help them sleep better at night.